Fiscal Management

Policies

FISCAL MANAGEMENT GOALS

The quantity and quality of learning programs are directly dependent on the effective, efficient management of allocated funds.  It follows that achievement of the school system's purposes can best be achieved through excellent fiscal management.

As trustee of local, state, and federal funds allocated for use in public education, the Committee will fulfill its responsibility to see that these funds are used wisely for achievement of the purposes to which they are allocated.

Because of resource limitations, there is sometimes a temptation to operate so that fiscal concerns overshadow the educational program.  Recognizing this, it is essential that the school system take specific action to make sure education remains central and that fiscal matters are ancillary and contribute to the educational program.  This concept will be incorporated into Committee operations and into all aspects of school system management and operation.

In the school system's fiscal management, it is the Committee’s intent:

1. To engage in thorough advance planning, with staff and community involvement, in order to develop budgets and to guide expenditures so as to achieve the greatest educational returns and the greatest contributions to the educational program in relation to dollars expended.

2. To establish levels of funding that will provide high quality education for the students.

3. To use the best available techniques for budget development and management.

4. To provide timely and appropriate information to all staff with fiscal management responsibilities.

5. To establish maximum efficiency procedures for accounting, reporting, business, purchasing and delivery, payroll, payment of vendors and contractors, and all other areas of fiscal management.

The Committee encourages employees to abide by the following guideline: in every case the means of cost which is least expensive to the community and/or which ensures that you contract only with responsible vendors who have the integrity, capability and reliability to deliver the goods and/or services, should be used.

SOURCE: MASC
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

ANNUAL BUDGET

The annual budget is the financial expression of the educational program of the school department, and it mirrors the problems and difficulties that confront the school system.

The budget then is more than just a financial instrument and requires on the part of the Committee, the staff, and the community orderly and cooperative effort to ensure sound fiscal practices for achieving the educational goals and objectives of the school system. Public school budgeting is regulated and controlled by state and federal legislation, state and federal regulations, Burlington bylaws, Burlington School Committee policies and Superintendent’s directives.  The operating budget for the school system will be prepared and presented in line with state policy and will be developed and refined in accordance with these same requirements.

The Superintendent will serve as budget officer but he/she may delegate portions of this responsibility to members of his/her staff, as he/she deems appropriate.  The three general areas of responsibility for the Superintendent as budget officer will be budget preparation, budget presentation, and budget administration.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.:  M.G.L. 70:1-15, 71:34, 71:37 71:34; 71:37 and 71:38N
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

BUDGET DEADLINES AND SCHEDULES

Preparation of the annual budget will be scheduled in stages throughout the school year with attention to certain deadlines established by law and charter.

The Superintendent presents next fiscal year’s budget to the School Committee according to the approved budget calendar.

The calendar year for budget preparation will be determined by calculating backwards from the final adoption date:  the annual town meeting, held in May.

Whatever dates are assigned to comply with the above, the final date for the submission of the budget to the Selectmen will be arranged cooperatively with the School Committee and Ways & Means committee.

In reaching its decision on the budget amount that it will submit to the Selectmen, the School Committee will also observe the statutory requirement of holding a public hearing on the proposed budget not less than seven days after the notice for this hearing has been published in a local newspaper.

Established by law and charter.
SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 30A:18-25, 940 CMR 29.00
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

BUDGET PLANNING

The major portion of income for the operation of the public schools is derived from local property taxes, and the School Committee will attempt to protect the valid interest of the taxpayers.  However, the first priority in the development of an annual budget will be the educational welfare of the children in our schools.

Budget decisions reflect the values and philosophy of those charged with the responsibility for educational decision-making.  Therefore, a sound budget development process must be established to ensure that the annual operating budget accurately reflects this school system's goals and objectives.

In the budget planning process for the school system, the School Committee will strive to provide for the educational needs of Burlington students. The Superintendent will develop a fiscal budget that will:

Ensure all legal mandates will be met. Include sufficient operating and capital funds to be responsive to projected enrollment growth and corresponding staffing and facility needs.

Continue to identify and plan alternatives that will provide services in more cost-effective ways.

Identify ways to reduce costs, if there are not sufficient monies available to fund a level service budget.

The Superintendent will have overall responsibility for budget preparation, including the construction of, and adherence to, a budget calendar.

The annual budget guidelines are identified collaboratively through meetings between the School Committee, designated district personnel, Board of Selectman, Town Administrator, with input from Ways and Means.

In an annual collaborative planning process between the School Committee and the Superintendent, the School Committee will identify annual budget priorities that the Superintendent will include when crafting a recommended budget.

When resources permit, the School Committee will strive for continuous improvement and the Superintendent’s proposed budget will include sufficient operating and capital funds to:

Continue the current level of services.
Move the district forward in meeting the increasing demands for technology and other needs for the future in our different education settings.
Ensure professional staffing guidelines will be met.
Maintain capital assets in order to support the instructional program, protect the physical assets of the Town of Burlington, and ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

SOURCE: MASC
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

BUDGET ADOPTION PROCEDURES

Authority for adoption of the final school budget lies with the citizens who comprise, and who are entitled to vote at, the town meeting.  The school budget is presented as part of the total town budget for action at the annual town meeting.

Established by law and charter

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 71:34

              Town Charter, (See local reference)

First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

BUDGET TRANSFER AUTHORITY

In keeping with the need for periodic reconciliation of the school department's budget, the School Committee will consider requests for transfers of funds as they are recommended by the Superintendent.

Whenever, in the best interest of the school system, it is necessary to transfer funds from salary to non-salary and from non-salary to salary in excess of $25,000 the Superintendent of Schools shall seek approval from the School Committee and indicate the reasons why such transfer is required.

The School Committee will act on the request at its next scheduled meeting.  If a delay in responding to the request will have a significant negative impact on the system, or cause noncompliance with other financials rules and regulations, the Chair of the School Committee can tentatively approve such transfers at the request of the Superintendent, subject to the confirmation by the School Committee at its next scheduled meeting.

The Committee wishes to be kept abreast of the need for these adjustments so that it may act promptly and expedite financial record keeping for the school system.  The Superintendent or designee may request the School Committee to approve reallocation of budget line items throughout the fiscal year.  The School Committee authorizes budget managers to transfer among operating budget line items assigned to each budget manager as needed, within program appropriation.  All special revenue program fund transfers must follow respective awarding authorities’ requirements.

All funds in the general account not expended by the close of the fiscal year will be returned to the town.

SOURCE: MASC
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

FUNDING PROPOSALS AND APPLICATIONS

The School Committee will encourage the administration to seek and secure all possible sources of state, federal, and other special funds that will enhance the educational opportunities for the children in our schools.

The Superintendent will keep informed of all possible funds available to the school system under the various state and federal programs, and in what manner these funds can best be used in the school system.

The Superintendent or designee will be responsible for seeking out and coordinating the development of proposals for all specially funded projects and for submitting the proposals to the Committee for approval.

The Superintendent is authorized to sign all reports for these projects and will be responsible for the proper expenditure of funds received for such projects.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 44:53A

              P.L. 874 Impact Aid

Board of Education 603 CMR 32:00; 34:00
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

BONDED EMPLOYEES AND OFFICERS

Each employee of the school system who is assigned the responsibility of receiving and dispensing school funds will be bonded individually or covered by a blanket bond.  The town or the school department will pay the cost of the bond.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 40:5
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

FISCAL ACCOUNTING AND REPORTING

The Superintendent will be ultimately responsible for receiving and properly accounting for all funds of the school system.

The accounting system used will conform with state requirements and to good accounting practices, providing for the appropriate separation of accounts, funds, and special monies.

From September through June, the School Committee will receive monthly financial statements from the Superintendent or designee showing the financial condition of the school department.  Financial statements shall, at a minimum, include actual amounts expensed vs. budget for both the month and year-to-date along with a forecast of expected spending for the remainder of the year. Such other financial statements as may be determined necessary by either the Committee or the administration will be presented as found desirable.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REF.: Board of Education 603 CMR 10:00
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

AUDITS

The accounts of the Burlington Public Schools will undergo annual audit, to be conducted consistent with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Department of Revenue (DOR) requirements by the firm selected for general auditing of the accounts of the Town of Burlington.  In addition, the School Committee may request an independent audit of the school system’s accounts at its discretion.

The Committee will consider recommendations made by the auditor for maintaining an efficient system for recording and safeguarding the school department's assets.

An independent review of the accounting procedures of the Burlington Public Schools will be conducted following the termination of service, resignation, or retirement of the school business administrator.

An independent audit of the Student Activity Accounts shall be conducted for Burlington High School and Marshall Simonds middle school every three years.  All schools shall have internal audits annually.

The School Committee will receive copies of all audit reports issued by audit firms engaged by the School Department.

SOURCE: MASC
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

BIDDING REQUIREMENTS

All purchases of materials and equipment and all contracts for construction or maintenance in amounts exceeding $25,000 will be based upon competitive bidding.

An effort will be made to procure multiple bids for all purchases in excess of $25,000.  When recommending acceptance of a bid, the Superintendent will inform the School Committee, whenever possible, of the competitive price of a reasonable substitute for the item specified.

When bidding procedures are used, bids will be advertised appropriately.  Suppliers will be invited to have their names placed on mailing lists to receive invitations to bid.  When specifications are prepared, they will be mailed to all merchants and firms who have indicated an interest in bidding.

All bids will be submitted in sealed envelopes, addressed to the Superintendent and plainly marked with the name of the bid and the time of the bid opening.  Bids will be opened in public at the time specified, and all bidders will be invited to be present.

The Committee reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to accept the bid that appears to be in the best interest of the school system.  The Committee reserves the right to waive any informality in, or reject, any or all bids or any part of any bid.  Any bid maybe withdrawn prior to the scheduled time for the opening of the bids.  Any bid received after the time and date specified will not be considered.  All bids will remain firm for a period of 30 days after opening.

The bidder to whom an award is made may be required to enter into a written contract with the school system.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 7:22A; 7:22B; 30B
CROSS REF.:  DJA, Purchasing Authority
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

VENDOR RELATIONS

Representatives of firms doing or hoping to do business with the school system will be acknowledged and interviews granted or not, depending on the circumstances.  Personnel charged with the purchasing function will not be required to put their time at the indiscriminate use of sales personnel, who will limit their visits to staff members designated by school officials.

SOURCE: MASC
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

PAYMENT PROCEDURES

All claims for payment from school department funds will be processed in accordance with regulations developed by the Superintendent.  Payment will be authorized against invoices properly supported by approved purchase orders, with properly submitted vouchers, or in accordance with salaries and salary schedules approved by the School Committee.

As an operating procedure, the Committee will receive monthly lists of bills for payment from school department funds.  The lists will be certified as correct and approved for payment by the School Committee and then forwarded to the town accountant for processing and subsequent payment by the town treasurer.  Actual invoices, statements, and vouchers will be available for inspection by the School Committee.

The Superintendent shall determine employees’ placement within approved salary ranges or on approved salary schedules.

The Superintendent will be responsible for assuring that budget allocations are observed and that total expenditures do not exceed the amount allocated in the budget for all items.

The School Principal and/or Budget Manager will be responsible for observing budget allocations in their respective schools.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 41:41; 41:52 41:56
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18

EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENTS

Personnel and school department officials who incur expenses in carrying out their authorized duties will be reimbursed by the school department upon submission of a properly completed and approved voucher and any supporting receipts required by the Superintendent.

When official travel by a personally owned vehicle is authorized, mileage payment will be made at the rate currently set by the Town.

To the extent budgeted for such purposes in the school budget, approval of travel requests will be as follows:

1.    Travel by School Committee members must have prior approval of the School Committee.

2.    Staff member travel requires approval by their school principal or designated supervisor; a leave slip is then submitted to the Superintendent for review/approval.

3.    Each individual request will be judged on the basis of its benefit to the school system.

4. Reimbursement requests for transportation/travel costs shall reflect those least expensive to the community and in the interest of economy, with proper consideration to the circumstances.

5. Any out-of-state travel requires prior School Committee approval.  If circumstances prevent prior approval by the School Committee, the Superintendent or responsible Budget Manager may seek approval from the School Committee Chair to be followed up with the School Committee at its next meeting.

SOURCE: MASC
LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 40:5; 44:58
First Reading: 9/11/18
Adopted Burlington School Committee: 9/25/18