Navigating the school business world can be quite overwhelming and will leave most people scratching their heads. It has become ever more critical for school district officials to train not only the school employees, but also parents and patrons. Tahlequah Public Schools has adopted as a part of its annual requirements, financial training for all those who handle money within the District. TPS has utilized a Financial Procedures Manual for the past seven years. Each year the manual is approved by the Board of Education which includes improvements and updates.
A prerequisite to understanding all financial procedures is segregation of duties. The work of any person handling money should be subject to appropriate checks and balances. During the 2017-18 school year, more than $1,320,000.00 was receipted through the Activity Fund. The volume of activity fund transactions is substantial. Because of this, segregation of duties demands that more than one person be involved in satisfying accounting procedures. As a rule, once this concept is understood the training may commence.
The basic training offered to all attendees covers a variety of topics. One of the most basic procedures covered is “How do I make a purchase?”. There are several steps required before anyone can make a purchase or order an item to be shipped. The process begins with a requisition, or in other words a request to spend money. This request is then submitted to the proper authorities for signature and approval. For the more tenured buyer, there is additional information that is shared on an as need basis or for specialty orders. Documentation is vital to this process and it is important to note that TPS has gone “green.” All requisitions are now submitted electronically which not only helps save paper, but also streamlines the process. After the purchase is completed, it is important to note that all invoices, receipts, and packing slips should be submitted to the site/department office managers to make payments and to complete the paperwork audit trail.
Another necessary topic is fundraising and the process of collecting money from the general public. It is essential that employees, parents and patrons understand the rules for handling cash and/or checks. We provide detailed information, receipt books and a number of other forms to assist with accountability for the individuals who collect on a regular basis or even those one-timers.
For many, the basic premise of school fundraising is that you just do it and get it done. It isn’t quite that simple. The Board of Education has the legal responsibility to: approve all school activity fund subaccounts; to approve all subaccount fundraising activities; and approve all purposes for which the monies collected in the subaccounts can be expended. The Board must take action annually or as needed throughout the year. 70 O.S. § 5-129 Once the approval is in place, the fundraising can begin. For TPS, fundraisers are a part of our daily routine and continue year-round. Tahlequah schools and departments held over 350 fundraisers during the 2017-18 school year. As school district operating budgets decline, even more resources are sought through fundraising and donations in order to continue serving students.
Other training topics covered include supplemental service contracts, general responsibilities of elected officers and club sponsors, inventory, credit card check-out, leave requests, and much more. If you or someone you know would like to be included in one of the upcoming Financial Procedures Training dates, please call (918) 458-4100 and ask for the Accounting department. Tahlequah Public Schools will continue to do our best in supporting students by Removing Obstacles and Achieving Results.