Thursday, May 19, 2016

Department of Revenue update at MASBO

Department of Local Services serves all cities and towns, all regional school districts, charter schools, utility districts, and development agencies
they are the ones who deal with local aid

$42M in change in FY17 in House WM is municipal aid
$95M in change in FY17 in House WM is Chapter 70
"if you're wondering why municipal government don't like schools, there's your answer"
spring collections are down; freeze on spending currently at state level
municipal modernization: eliminating or updating obsolete laws (?): more updates coming (this was something from Governor Baker)

reference table for school revolving funds will be updated and will be easier to find

603 CMR 41.06 E&D funds: regional school districts: forms and schedules for reviewing and certifying the balance in the fund: due October 31 and it isn't coming in on time
if it's in excess of five percent of proposed budget, the regional school committee shall use the amount in excess of five percent for the proposed budget
if E&D isn't certified by June 30, the district can't use it as a funding source in the next fiscal year

for municipal districts, if your net school spending isn't 95% of your prior year, DOR is notified by DESE to take back Ch.70 aid
I'm just going to add here that this is usually threated but rarely goes through to having the money withheld

state house note program (for regional schools, cities, towns, counties): low cost alternative for the issuance of debt; notes are certified by the Director of Accounts
for regional school districts, in FY15, processed 56 notes
31 regional school districts served: shortest note was 72 days; longest 10 years
length of it falls under MGL

per MGL Ch71, section 16A and 603 CMR 10.10: independent audit of the financial records must be done within nine months of the close of the fiscal year and must be received by school committee in public session
audits must be submitted to DESE and DLS

concerns coming from DOR DLS...
authority of Ch 71 falls to DESE not DOR (so when they tell you to call the other one, it isn't that they're passing the buck. Sometimes they really don't have the authority)
segregation of duties within the district (have more than one set of eyes on the checkbook)
structural deficits need to be addressed; carrying them over time is worrisome
regional school district budgets not adopted by member towns: what do to?
administration not being familiar (in a regional school district) with regional school laws and regulations
turnover in financial staff
limited cross training in financial office

Gateway modernization: looking to improve quality and usefulness
redesigned several forms; better clarity
will have a workshop for MASBO regional school districts in the fall on E&D submissions

Local official directory: keep it updated so the state has the correct person to contact

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