2009 Candidate for Director
Terrie S. Simmons, RSBA
Assistant Superintendent Business & Finance
Sunset Ridge School District 29
Question and Answer Forum
The Educational component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has four basic guiding principles. One of them is to ensure transparency and accountability in spending of the dollars. As school business officials move forward to implement ARRA, what would be some key elements to consider to ensure transparency and accountability within school districts?
Terrie Simmons Answer 1:
Key elements to consider include approval, accurate tracking and recording of expenditures, proper reporting, and timely communication of use of these funds. Determine what approved expense in accordance with the ARRA guidelines is best for your district. Follow bidding requirements if applicable. Set up specific line items and record expenditures in segregated ARRA accounts to ensure that these outlays of funds are easily identified within the general ledger. Make note of the ARRA expenditures in internal financial reports and in the notes to the financial statements within the annual fiscal year audit. Announce the receipt of ARRA funds and mention these expenditures in communications within your district to your staff and governing board and to your community at-large in newsletters and on your website as soon as the funds are received and then publicize when and how they are used.
Knowing that ARRA funding is a one time investment, how best could school business officials maximize short term investments for lasting results while minimizing unsustainable ongoing commitments?
Terrie Simmons Answer 2:
Consider investing in professional development for your staff and educational materials for the classrooms. For example, a school business management degree or certification for your business administrator will benefit the district and all students you serve for decades to come. Additional training in RTI or social emotional learning for all staff will benefit students directly for lasting results. Enhanced staff training when adopting a new math or reading program will maximize results of the students for many years. Do not overlook the fact that ARRA funding could be used to help purchase the textbooks or other educational materials for the math or reading program as well. Higher education institutions could use the ARRA funds to set up certification programs for teachers or administrators. Once the programs are started, tuition paying students would sustain them in the future.
Another use of this short-term investment might be equipment that would last many years such as smart boards for classrooms. Purchase and install the equipment and train the teachers to get the full benefit of these powerful tools. Installation of wireless technology or other upgrades of technological infrastructure within your schools will bring benefits that last for years. If your school is due for security upgrades, use the ARRA funds to purchase and install cameras or other security equipment that will protect students and staff for several years.
Sustainability of our facilities should be on the minds of all business administrators. Consider investing the ARRA funds in your next facility upgrade. Replacing old HVAC equipment, windows or even flooring with new energy efficient models or green products will bring benefits for decades. If you have an approved facility construction project, use the ARRA funds toward the principal payments.
How best can ASBO International position itself to be the leader in school business management?
Terrie Simmons Answer 3:
ASBO’s Executive Director and staff are investing valuable time and energy in working with the U.S. Department of Education to provide expert advice on school business management issues. This is demonstration that ASBO is recognized as the ultimate resource on school business matters in this nation. We need to encourage all ASBO members and affiliates to step forward to assist their governments like-wise and ASBO must be there to offer support to cultivate these relationships.
ASBO members must be willing to acknowledge that they also are experts in their field and can offer experience and advice to their local and state governments whether it is in creating new legislation or analyzing and improving existing regulations to best implement our programs or staff relations issues. Offer your help and the resources ASBO makes available. Your membership is a powerful tool in creating and nourishing these interactions.
ASBO provides the highest quality professional development opportunities at the Annual Conference and all year long via webinars. The web forums, comprehensive tools and resource center, and publications are available 24/7 via the ASBO website. ASBO members should demand that this organization consistently upgrade the content of ASBO’s resources and the vehicles for offering information and training in what works best in school business management.
We must continue to focus on the high ethical standards by which all
school business managers should operate. Emphasizing these
standards within our schools in everyday situations and demonstrating
ethical behavior in all settings also helps position ASBO and its
members as the best leaders in school business administration.
The success of the new ASBO certification program will also contribute to positioning ASBO as the leader in school business management. We must recruit candidates to participate in this program and highlight their achievements directly related to earning this certification. This program in conjunction with other leadership training opportunities ASBO offers will grow tomorrow’s leaders of the organization and secure ASBO’s recognition as the premier resource for school business matters.