School Management Services will provide a customized business management and support services solution to meet the needs of your District. Services can be provided on a long-term or short-term basis and can be provided as a supplementary service to existing District resources. Services can also be provided on an A La Carte or 1-time basis for example: prepare state aids or taxes receivable for your audit; provide an internal benefits or MARSS audit, preparation of bank reconciliations, etc.
- UFARS Compliance
- General Ledger Account Reconciliation
- Special Education (State & Federal)
- Special Ed - Tuition Billing Rate Development
- Federal & Local Grants
- EDRS Reporting
- Bank Statement Reconciliation
UFARS Compliance – It is imperative that consistent and accurate coding of district revenue and expenditures occurs in order to facilitate comparability of financial results from year to year and more importantly to accurately develop budgets. In addition, accurate coding of expenditures allows for maximization of revenues, such as Special Ed State and Federal revenues as well as grants and title program revenues.
General Ledger Reconciliation – Timely reconciliation of general ledger items such as cash, deferred revenue, accounts payable, etc. are critical to accurate financial reporting. It is this area that is often responsible for misrepresenting revenues and expenditures and delaying the annual audit.
Special Education Reporting – SMS will work closely with the Director of Special Ed to ensure staffing is appropriately designated as State or Federal and that all appropriate Special Ed costs are coded as such to maximize available revenues. SMS will also assist the Director of Special Ed to ensure the district is meeting maintenance of effort requirements to ensure no federal funds are lost.
Federal & Local Grants – Accurate and timely reporting of federal and grant expenditures is important in securing all available revenues. In addition to ensuring revenues aren’t lost, it is also critical to comply with periodic reporting requirements to receive funds available in a more timely fashion, which has a positive impact on cash flow and can translate into increased interest earnings.
- Process Accounts Payable
- Prepare Annual Form 1099's
- UFARS Compliance
- Purchase Orders
- Statement Reconciliation
- Consolidated Benefit Billing
- Planning & Coordination
- Property Taxes
- State Aids
- Federal Grants
- Reconcile Trial Balance
- Prepare Supporting Schedules
Audit Schedules – SMS will prepare the annual audit schedules required by auditors. Such schedules include: property taxes, state aids, federal grants, budget reconciliation, general ledger account reconciliation, etc. Accurate completion of these schedules by SMS will translate into an efficient audit and savings in audit fees for the district.
Auditor Experience – SMS has worked with several of the leading auditors of Minnesota school districts and is expert in what constitutes high quality auditor services. SMS will ensure the district is receiving high quality auditing services.
Board and Planning Services
- 5-Year Plan
- Budget Cycle (Adopted--Revised--Final)
- Levy Certification
- Truth-in-Taxation Hearing
- Finance Committee Representation
- Benefit Plan Information
Budget Cycle – SMS will prepare a district budget and communicate it to the board according to the following timeline:
- Adopted Budget - May or June
- Revised Budget - November or December
- Final Budget - February or March
Levy Certification – SMS will communicate all factors influencing the proposed maximum levy and provide them with options for adjustment to align with the long-range financial plan of the District.
Committee Representation – SMS will attend committee meetings as the Board and Management determines appropriate.
Benefit Plan Information – SMS, working with management, will assist in preparing communications to the Board regarding the results of the benefit plans, benefit plans strategies and year-to-date results. Renewal previewing will help keep the Board up to date on how the health insurance plan is matching up to the budgeted allowance for benefits, enabling proactive planning activities.
Cash Flow Management
- Cash Flow Projections
- Cash Flow Planning
- Investment Recommendations
- Schedule of Cash & Investments
- Pledged Collateral Compliance
- Treasurer's Report
- Aid/Tax Anticipation Borrowing
Schedule of Investments – SMS will provide the School Board with a schedule of investments periodically, according to the desires of the Board. The schedule of investments will include type of investment, principal amount invested, term of investment, rate of return, and anticipated interest earnings.
Treasurer’s Report – SMS will provide the School Board with a monthly Treasurer’s report which will serve as a summary of cash transactions for reporting period. The Treasurer’s report will also serve as a reconciliation of cash between the bank and general ledger.
Aid/Tax Anticipation - Depending upon the current financial state of the district, the district may have a need to borrow funds in order to ensure adequate resources are available to meet current obligations. Due to the State of Minnesota’s practice of holding back approximately 20% of a school districts current year revenue’s, a district may need to borrow, even in financially healthy times. SMS will assist in determining the amount of borrowing needed and properly invest funds prior to use in order to minimize the cost of borrowing.
Pledged Collateral Compliance – It is necessary to have securities pledged equal to 110% of the cash exceeding $100,000 on deposit at a local banking institution. SMS will ensure the District is in compliance with this Statute.
- Form 470
- Form 471
- Form 472 (Bear Form)
- Form 486
- 3-Year Technology Plan - Assistance
- 5-Year Financial Planning Model
- Revenue Projections
- Budget Development
- Enrollment Projections
- Staff Planning
- Bond/Operating Referendum Planning
- Structural Balance
- Negotiations Costing
Budget Development – SMS provides the Board with a budget cycle that will consist of budget adoption (May/June), Revisions (Nov/Dec) and a Final revision (Feb/Mar). Negotiations Support and Costing – Salaries and benefits account for approximately 75% of the districts General Fund budget. A first step to creating boundaries for negotiations relates back to the creation of a realistic long-range plan. SMS will bring expertise, knowledge and third party examples of what is being done to control districts salary and benefit costs (see 3-D Benefits™).
Bond/Operating Referendum Planning – Due to the inadequate levels of funding and frequent changes in building space needs, it is important to have the ability to adequately plan for the utilization of these funding and financing tools. SMS is well versed in the tools available to fund projects and the planning and communications that are necessary to successfully achieve community support in passing referendums.
Payroll & Accounts Payable:
- Test Randomly Selected Transactions for Policy & Prescribed Procedural Compliance.
- Levy Planning
- Levy Certification
- Board Communication
- Truth-in-Taxation Hearing
Levy Certification – SMS will perform all the necessary tasks and meet all deadlines in preparing the annual levy certification for the District. This includes communicating preliminary levy amounts to the school board ahead of the official Truth-in-Taxation hearing and final Board approval of the certified levy.
Board Communication – SMS will communicate the maximum levy amount and options for adjusting the levy to facilitate the long-range levy plan.
Truth-in-Taxation Hearing – SMS will prepare a presentation regarding the preparation of the annual levy, legislative impacts, and other factors impacting the proposed levy and communicate them to the board and public via the annual Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
- Process Payroll.
- Payment of Federal & State Income Tax Withholdings.
- Tax Return Preparation & Filing – Quarterly Federal 941, State Tax, Unemployment Tax.
- Year-End W2 Preparation & Filing.
- Assist with management of Flexible Benefits 125 Plan as needed.
- Reconciliation of Employee benefits and Payroll withholdings.
- Ensure proper UFARS coding of Staff to line-up with State & Federal Grants and Restricted Revenues.
EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
Allegations of employee misconduct need to be investigated thoroughly to assure the district meets its liability requirements, guarantees data practices compliance, and assures safety in the workplace. Consideration is given to employees with continuing contract rights, collective bargaining requirements, and veteran’s preference standards. Disciplinary measures need to be consistent and have a reasonable chance of changing the misconduct.
- Disciplinary Actions
Providing a written directive, a written reprimand, performance improvement plan, or written notice of suspension is used to document an employer’s response to misconduct. Letters need to be specific, with adequate detail for future reference.
- Pay Equity/Comparable Worth Process
Districts must comply with the Local Governmental Pay Equity Act in order to eliminate any genderbased wage discrimination in public employment. Positions must be evaluated every four years, with a report submitted to MN Department of Education.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING
- Supervisor Training In addition to instructional leadership skills, administrators need to develop knowledge, skills and abilities in supervision of staff. Training may include: disciplinary process, conducting investigations, new employee orientation, veteran’s preference, health &safety,absenteeism, and workers compensation. Hiring practices, including background checks, nepotism, discrimination, veteran’s preference are areas of emphasis for all supervisory personnel.
- Board Training Boards of Education often receive training on the negotiations process: developing proposals, public employee rights under PELRA, costing considerations, mandatory subjects of negotiations, union vs. nonunion rights; terms & conditions of employment
- Job Descriptions
School Districts use a standardized system for establishing job descriptions for all positions within a district. Descriptions should include: essential duties and responsibilities, work requirements and characteristics, physical requirements, and hazardous working conditions.
- New Employee Orientation
Districts need an established process for the orientation of new staff. A flow chart of the actions involved acquainting new staff with expectations and practices is helpful in avoiding future liability.
- Benefits Documentation
Open enrollment forms for health, life, LTD, dental insurance are required within specific timelines, and within eligibility standards. Parttime and seasonal employees must have adequate documentation to comply with the eligibility requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
- FMLA Documentation
School districts must maintain careful records of employee absences for FMLA eligibility. Criteria for absences, calculation of days, and coordination with MN Parental Leave Act require careful structures of documentation.
- COBRA Documentation
As an extension of insurance enrollment, a process for continuation of benefits must include written notification within specific timelines.
- Teacher Negotiations
Teacher negotiations are completed within the legal parameters of Public Employee Labor Relations Act (PELRA). Interest based bargaining, traditional bargaining, or blended approaches may be utilized to bring a collective bargaining agreement to completion. Contract analysis, input gathering, and development of district proposals is critical to the success of the negotiations process.
- Other Union Negotiations
Employee groups may also be represented by Education Minnesota, AFSCME, AFLCIO, SEIU, or other labor unions. Employee groups typically have a field representative present to assist with the negotiations process, and districts often choose to have outside representation as well.
- Group Negotiations
School districts often employ groups of employees with similar responsibilities that are not organized into a collective bargaining agreement, nor members of a union. Districts may choose to work individually with these employees to develop terms & conditions of employment, or may craft a group agreement which is submitted to the School Board.