Schools can rely on DMS to provide comprehensive business management and support services using an innovative, flexible model. Schools should have the support, control, and information they need to make informed decisions about how best to manage their finances. DMS has defined the key management, technical, and planning services they should undertake.
- A Compliance Review of UFARS
- Reconciliation of General Ledger Accounts
- Special Education (State & Federal)
- Special Education - Development of tuition billing rates
- Grants from the federal and local governments
- EDRS Reporting
- The bank statement reconciliation
A Compliance Review of UFARS: In order to facilitate comparison of financial results from year to year and to accurately develop budgets, it is crucial that all district revenue and expenditures are coded consistently and accurately. Accurate coding of expenditures helps to maximize revenues, including federal and state Special Education revenues, grants, and title program revenue.
Reconciliation of General Ledger Accounts : Accurate financial reporting requires timely reconciliation of general ledger items like cash, deferred revenue, accounts payable, etc. It is here that revenue and expenditure information is often misrepresented and the annual audit is delayed.
Special Education Reporting: DMS will work with the Director of Special Ed to ensure staffing is appropriately categorized as State or Federal and that all Special Ed costs are coded appropriately to maximize available revenue. In addition, DMS will also assist the Director of Special Education in meeting maintenance of effort requirements to ensure that no federal funds are lost.
Federal & Local Grants: In order to secure all available revenues, it is vital to report federal and grant expenditures accurately and promptly. Apart from ensuring revenue is not lost, it is also important to make sure you meet periodic reporting requirements so that funds are received in a timely manner, leading to positive impacts on cash flow and higher interest earnings.
- Managing Accounts Payable
- Prepare Form 1099’s annually
- A Compliance Review of UFARS
- Purchase Orders
- Reconciliation of Statements
- A consolidated benefit billing system
- Organizing & Coordinating
- Taxes on property
- State Aids
- Federal Grants
- Reconcile Trial Balance
- Plan and prepare the supporting schedules
Audit Schedules:DMS prepares 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 DMS will translate into an efficient audit and savings in audit fees for the district.
Auditor Experience: DMS has worked with several of the top auditors of Minnesota school districts and is specialized in high quality audit services. DMS will ensure high-quality audit services are provided to the district.
Board and Planning Services
- 5-Year Plan
- Budget Cycle (Adopted--Revised--Final)
- Certification by Levy
- Hearing on Truth in Taxation
- Representation on the Finance Committee
- Information about the benefit plan
Budget Cycle: The following timeline will guide DMS in preparing the district budget:
- Budget approved in May or June
- Budget revisions in November or December
- The final budget will be announced in February or March
Levy Certification: In order to achieve adjustment with the District's long-range financial plan, DMS will communicate all factors affecting the proposed maximum levy and offer options for adjustment.
Committee Representation: Committee meetings will be attended by DMS as deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors and Management.
Benefit Plan Information: DMS will assist management in preparing communications to the Board regarding the results of the benefit plans, benefit plan strategies, and year-to-date results. An annual health insurance preview will allow the Board to keep track of how the plan compares with the budgeted allowance for benefits, allowing proactive planning.
Cash Flow Management
- Projections of Cash Flow
- Planning Your Cash Flow
- Recommendations For Investment
- Cash And Investment Schedule
- Compliance With Pledged Collateral
- Report of The Treasurer’s
- Borrowing For aid/tax Anticipation
Schedule of Investments: DMS will provide the School Board with periodic reports regarding investments, based on the Board's preferences. In addition to the type of investment, the principal amount, the term of the investment, and the rate of return, we will also include expectations for interest earnings.
Report of The Treasurer’s DMS will provide the School Board with a monthly Treasurer's report that summarizes cash transactions for the reporting period. Additionally, the Treasurer's report will serve as a reconciliation between the bank and general ledger.
Borrowing For aid/tax Anticipation: As a result of the current financial state of the district, it may be necessary for it to borrow funds to have adequate resources to meet its current obligations. Even in financially healthy times, schools may need to borrow money due to the state's practice of holding back about 20% of a district's current year revenue. DMS assists in determining the amount of borrowing needed and invests funds properly before they are used to minimize the cost of borrowing.
Pledged Collateral Compliance: Security must be pledged equal to 110% of the cash exceeding $100,000 on deposit at a local bank. DMS will ensure the District complies with this Statute.
- Form 470
- Form 471
- Form 472 (Bear Form)
- Form 486
- 3-Year Technology Plan - Assistance
- Model for 5-Year Financial Planning
- Projections of Revenue
- Planning and Development of Budgets
- Projections of enrollment
- Staff Planning
- Planning for the Bond/Operating Referendum
- Structural Balance
- Negotiations Costs
Planning and Development of Budgets: The DMS Board follows a schedule, which includes a budget adoption (May/June), a revisions cycle (Nov/Dec), and a final revision cycle (Feb/Mar). Support for negotiations and costing - Salaries and benefits occupy about 75% of the district's general fund budget. The first step toward creating boundaries for negotiations is to create a realistic long-term plan. DMS can provide expertise, third-party examples and expertise on how districts are controlling their costs for salaries and benefits (see 3-D BenefitsTM).
Bond/Operating Referendum Planning: The lack of funding and the tendency to change building space requirements mean that utilizing these funding and financing tools properly is extremely important. DMS has experience using the tools available to fund projects as well as the planning and communications necessary to achieve community support when passing referendums.
Payroll & Accounts Payable:
- Randomly select transactions for policy and procedure compliance testing.
- Levy Planning
- Levy Certification
- Communication With The Board
- Hearing on Truth in Taxation
Levy Certification: DMS will complete all the necessary tasks and meet all the deadlines for preparing the district's annual levy certification. As a part of this process, preliminary levy amounts are communicated to the school board before the Truth-in-Taxation meeting and before the final approval of the certified levy by the Board.
Communication With The Board: DMS will communicate the maximum levy amount and options for adjusting it to fit the long-range levy plan.
Hearing on Truth in Taxation DMS will present a report regarding the preparation of the annual levy, legislative impacts, and other factors impacting the proposed levy to the board and the public during the annual Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
- Payroll processing.
- Payment of Federal & State Income Tax Withholdings.
- Preparation & Filing of quarterly federal 941 tax returns, state tax returns, and unemployment tax returns.
- Preparation and filing of W2s at year-end.
- Manage the Flexible Benefits 125 Plan as needed.
- Employee benefits and payroll withholdings reconciled.
- To ensure proper UFARS coding of Staff to align with State and Federal Grants and Restricted Revenues.
EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
Allegations of employee misconduct must be thoroughly investigated so that the district meets its liability requirements, ensures data privacy compliance, and ensures employee safety. Employees with continuing contract rights, collective bargaining requirements, and veteran preferences are given consideration. To change misconduct, disciplinarians need to impose consistent measures.
- Disciplinary Actions
An employer's response to misconduct can be documented by a written directive, a written reprimand, a performance improvement plan, or a written suspension. For future reference, letters should be specific and detailed.
- Pay Equity/Comparable Worth Process
In order to eliminate gender-based wage discrimination in public employment, districts must comply with the Local Governmental Pay Equity Act. An evaluation of each position must be completed every four years, with a report submitted to the MN Department of Education.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING
- Supervisor Training As well as instructional leadership skills, administrators should develop knowledge, skills, and abilities in supervision of staff. Among those training sessions might be: disciplinary procedures, conducting investigations, new employee orientations, veteran's preference, health and safety, and absenteeism. All supervisors should pay attention to hiring practices, including background checks, nepotism, discrimination, and veteran preference.
- Board Training In addition to receiving training on the negotiation process, boards of education are often instructed on how to develop proposals, public employee rights under PELRA, cost-saving considerations, mandatory subjects of negotiations, union versus non-union rights, and terms & conditions.
- Job Descriptions
A standardized system is used by school districts to establish job descriptions for all positions in the district. Descriptions should include: the job description, the duties and responsibilities, the physical requirements, and the hazards of the job.
- New Employee Orientation
An orientation process for new employees needs to be established in the districts. It is helpful to make a flow chart of the steps involved in acquainting new staff with expectations and practices so that future liability is avoided.
- Benefits Documentation
Open enrollment forms for health, life, LTD, and dental insurance are required in specific timeframes and according to specific eligibility requirements. Part-time and seasonal employees must provide adequate documentation in order to meet the Affordable Care Act's eligibility requirements.
- FMLA Documentation
FMLA eligibility is determined by accurate records of absences kept by school districts. There is a need for careful referencing of documentation when defining absence criteria, computing days, and coordinating with the MN Parental Leave Act.
- COBRA Documentation
The continuation of benefits is part of the insurance enrollment process and should include written notification within specific timeframes.
- Teacher Negotiations
The Teacher Labor Relations Act (PELRA) dictates legal parameters for negotiations between teachers and school administrators. You can negotiate a collective bargaining agreement using interest-based approaches, traditional bargaining, or a blended approach. A successful negotiation process depends on contract analysis, input gathering, and the development of district proposals.
- Other Union Negotiations
AFSCME, AFLCIO, SEIU, Education Minnesota or other labor unions may also represent employee groups. To assist in the negotiating process, employee groups typically have a field representative present, while districts often have outside representation as well.
- Group Negotiations
In schools, there might be groups of employees who perform similar tasks, but they don't form unions nor are organized into collective bargaining agreements. The districts may assemble a group agreement that the School Board must approve, or they may develop individual agreements with the employees.