REGION 10 EDUCATION SERVICE CENTER
COMPONENTS AND COMPETENCIES
SCHOOL BUSINESS AND SUPPORT SERVICES
The Region 10 Education Service Center in Richardson, Texas, under a project contract to the Texas Education Agency, has developed the following “Components and Competencies for School Business and Support Services.” The purpose of the project was to identify the “best practices” that result in an increased level of proficiency in the business and support areas of outstanding school districts. The project is also viewed as a basis for further projects that will allow individuals to perform self-evaluations of their skills and determine improvement strategies for competencies that may be deficient in the business office arena.
The following process was utilized for developing the “Component and Competencies for School Business and Support Services.” A thorough review of the literature was conducted in November and December 1998, which revealed a list of 28 skill areas and 264 competency statements commonly in use throughout the United States. An Advisory Committee, consisting of 18 prominent educators in Texas (including representatives from TASBO, TASA, TASB, TEA, ESCs, and large and small school districts), reviewed this list for its relevancy to Texas public schools. The Committee reduced this list to 12 components with 105 competencies.
Practitioners throughout Texas provided input on this revised list via three methods. First, the Components and Competencies, along with telephone numbers, email, and mail addresses of contacts, were posted on the Internet for comments. Next, focus group meetings were conducted at the 1999 TASBO Annual Convention and at ten education service centers during which both oral and written input was received. Lastly, a survey was conducted using a stratified, random sampling of public and charter schools in Texas. The survey was statistically analyzed for reliability and validity of the components and competencies. The Advisory Committee met again in May 1999 to review all of the input and to make final adjustments to the list. The final list contains 12 components and 120 competencies.
It should be noted that although some components and competencies may not apply to any single district’s business office at any given time, all of the components and competencies apply to most districts. Because of the operational complexities of Texas school districts, various people within the district perform many of the functions at any given time. Therefore, the list is not meant to be a sample job description or a performance evaluation instrument for any particular position in a district. It is, however, a listing of jobs and skill areas that could be performed by superintendents, other central office administrators, business office personnel, and/or personnel from other departments, depending on the direction of the local district. Instances were found, for example, where all the components and competencies were assigned to the business operations areas in some districts.
It should be noted that all local, state and federal rules, laws and regulations are to be adhered to whether there is or is not specific reference to them in each component and competency statement.
- Develop and implement an appropriate plan of operations for the school business program.
- Formulate an organizational structure for the management of the school business program, where applicable and if required.
- Communicate effectively.
- Exhibit an understanding of the mission and goals of the school district.
- Establish and implement a system of management based on principles of team building and collaboration.
- Follow all local policies as well as state and federal laws and regulations in the operation of the school business program.
- Acquire the skills necessary to negotiate contracts and conflicts.
- Develop and maintain business procedure manuals for all school business program departments.
- Use technology tools effectively.
- Exhibit ethical behavior in all actions.
- Administer school elections as required by state law.
ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL REPORTING
- Utilize the Financial Accountability System Resource Guide as the financial accounting system for the school district.
- Require that the accounting system complies with the requirements of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
- Utilize an encumbrance system of accounting.
- Maintain a system of checks and balances (i.e., internal controls).
- Recognize revenue and expenditures in the appropriate accounting period.
- Utilize modified and full accrual accounting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for classifying fund and receipt accounts.
- Reconcile bank statements on a monthly basis.
- Ensure that a sequential system for check numbers is maintained.
- Establish and maintain a fixed asset accounting system.
- Prepare accurate periodic financial reports for all stakeholders.
- Submit accurate financial reports to Texas Education Agency (TEA) through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS).
- Keep the superintendent and board of trustees informed of the financial condition of the school district.
- Maintain a chart of accounts in accordance with district needs.
- Continuously monitor the accounting system and make adjustments as necessary.
- Process financial transactions on a timely basis.
- Plan for the acceptance of special revenue funds and assure that expenditures are accounted for properly.
- Establish proper procedures for the acceptance of donations and gifts and assure that expenditures are made in accordance with the purposes and requests of the donor, when appropriate and legal.
- Develop, implement, and continuously monitor a district wide plan to ensure a system of checks and balances for the accounting and auditing of student activity funds.
- Adhere to the standards for financial accounting and reporting for shared services arrangements, when applicable.
- Identify and implement appropriate instruments for both short-term and long-term capital financing, including lease/purchase of real property.
- Adhere to all legal requirements for issuing and servicing long-term general obligation bonds.
- Assist with district participation in the bond rating process.
- Provide information to the community relating to bond issues.
- Assist in the process of securing financial professionals for capital improvement financing projects.
AUDITING AND REPORTING
- Identify potential problem areas and develop an internal audit program, if applicable.
- Assist in the process of securing an external auditor.
- Facilitate the external audit process.
- Adhere to all legal and contractual requirements regarding submission of the audit to the superintendent, school board, public, Texas Education Agency (TEA), and appropriate federal agencies.
- Review and respond to the audit findings and management letter.
BUDGET AND FINANCIAL PLANNING
- Utilize the Financial Accountability System Resource Guide as the basis for the budget process.
- Direct and/or assist school district personnel in the planning and preparation of the district budget.
- Serve as a resource to the District-Level and Campus-Level Decision-Making Committees.
- Reconcile available resources and expected revenues with the fiscal needs of the school district.
- Prepare the budget document in accordance with prescribed timelines.
- Adhere to all legal and contractual requirements for the development of the budget.
- Recommend a budget and periodic budget amendments to the superintendent and school board that continue to maintain a positive fund balance.
- Ensure that budget amendments are approved by the school board prior to the expenditure of funds, and that the official minutes of the school board meeting record this action, when appropriate.
- Operate a fiscal control system, which monitors school expenditures and verifies that expenditures are made in accordance with budgeted expectations.
- Prepare multi-year budget projections when appropriate for financial planning.
- Compare financial data with data from comparable school districts.
- Continuously monitor the resource allocation and utilization for all district programs.
- Periodically communicate and inform the school board, the staff, the community and others about budgets and their changing status.
- Apply current state funding formulas.
- Utilize Texas Education Agency (TEA) “Summary of Finance” templates.
- Analyze and understand the implications of “Summary of Finance” documents.
- Adhere to all requirements of the “Texas Property Tax Code.”
- Establish a relationship with the County Appraisal District to accurately secure and use local property evaluations.
- Adhere to all legal requirements regarding the setting of the district tax rate.
- Implement procedures to maximize tax collections.
- Implement cash handling procedures and internal controls over all cash handling locations.
- Develop and monitor monthly cash flow projections for the current fiscal year and, when appropriate, multiple years.
- Develop, implement, and monitor the cash investment program, in compliance with the boardapproved investment policy and requirements of the Public Funds Investment Act.
- Establish procedures to safeguard the management of funds invested on behalf of the school district.
- Provide at least quarterly and annual updates on the investment program to the superintendent and school board.
- Adhere to all legal requirements regulating bank depository bids and contracts.
- Assist in the development of a long-range plan for district data management.
- Acquire, develop, and/or lease management information systems that will adequately maintain data to meet federal, state, and PEIMS mandated requirements.
- Arrange for the maintenance of hardware, security, and information for efficient collection, storage, and utilization of district data.
- Adhere to legal requirements for records management.
FACILITY CONSTRUCTION AND MANAGEMENT
- Develop a long-range plan for the construction, improvement, and modernization of school plants in the school district.
- Weigh alternatives and their financial consequences when making decisions about the school plant maintenance and construction program.
- Adhere to appropriate procurement and contract laws.
- Adhere to all local, state, and federal facilities regulations (ADA, environmental, architectural, engineering, etc.).
- Determine school plant needs of the district by utilizing pupil projections, demographic studies, educational requirements, facilities requirements, and financial projections.
- Coordinate sale and acquisition of real property in accordance with state and federal laws.
- Seek outside professional consultants in specialized areas.
- Prepare a comprehensive plan for the management of the school plant maintenance, operations, and security programs.
- Continuously monitor the school plant, maintenance, operations, and security programs, and make adjustments as needed.
- Manage community use of school facilities.
- Maintain an up-to-date inventory record of property, facilities, furniture, and equipment owned and/or used by the school district.
HUMAN RESOURCES PLANNING
- Establish procedures that communicate payroll changes to the business office in a timely manner.
- Prepare job descriptions and evaluation instruments of business operations personnel.
- Assist with recruitment, recommending, and assignment of personnel to business/support service positions.
- Provide an appropriate staff development program for business/support services personnel.
- Assist in the development, design, implementation, and communication of salary and benefit systems.
- Monitor staff-to-student ratios for all employee classifications.
- Develop and implement a position control system as appropriate.
- Coordinate planning for Human Resource allocations with all departments to effectively meet instructional and operational needs of the district.
INSURANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT
- Determine the insurance and risk management needs of the district.
- Adhere to legal requirements for insurance coverage for the district’s property, fleet, loss, errors and omissions, unemployment, workers compensation, and health insurance.
- Identify and evaluate alternative methods of funding and managing district risks.
- Assess current coverage and recommend any changes consistent with district needs.
- Direct the process of selecting/employing an insurance consultant or risk manager.
- Assist in the implementation of a district-wide safety program.
- Arrange for the bonding of appropriate school personnel.
- Develop the schedule of salary payments.
- Prepare checks for salary payments.
- Prepare payroll deductions and corresponding deposits and reports in a timely manner and in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements.
- Maintain salary data.
- Assure compliance with all payroll laws and regulations.
- Maintain leave and absence data.
- Continuously monitor the payroll system and modify the system as required.
PURCHASING AND SUPPLY/WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT
- Develop a comprehensive purchasing and supply management program that fulfills the educational goals, instructional needs, and service requirements of the school district.
- Adhere to the legal requirements for competitive procurement of property, facilities, supplies, and equipment.
- Cooperate with and assist all levels of the school district organization to determine the supply and equipment needs of the school district.
- Develop an efficient procurement system for requisitioning and purchasing supplies and equipment.
- Coordinate the preparation of specifications for supplies and equipment with budget requirements and the needs of users.
- Properly dispose of obsolete and surplus personal property.
- Continuously monitor the purchasing and supply management programs and make adjustments as needed.
- Establish procedures for the implementation and operation of the food service program.
- Adhere to the legal requirements of the free and reduced lunch/breakfast program.
- Continuously monitor the food service program, and make adjustments as needed.
- Develop a student transportation program that adheres to all legal requirements.
- Organize the school bus maintenance and replacement program.
- Continuously monitor the student transportation program, and make adjustments as needed.
- Manage printing operations, as appropriate.
- Maintain textbook inventories as required by state law, when applicable.
- Assist with the development and implementation of a district-wide security and emergency management plan.
- Coordinate district police/security operations, when applicable.
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REGION 10 EDUCATION SERVICE CENTER
COMPONENTS AND COMPETENCIES
SCHOOL BUSINESS AND SUPPORT SERVICES
Ms. Jennifer Scott, Finance Projects Coordinator, Office of Finance and Operations, Texas Education Agency
Tom Canby, Senior Director, School Financial Audits, Texas Education Agency
Mrs. Gwen Santiago, Executive Director, Texas Association of School Business Officials
Quentin Burnett, Superintendent, Argyle I.S.D., Texas Association of School Administrators
Robert Key, Texas Association of School Boards, Board of Directors
Tony Juarez, Director of Business Services, Region IV Education Service Center, Houston
Doug Karr, Director of Administrative Services, Region XVII Education Service Center, Lubbock
Arnold Oates, Professor of Educational Administration, Texas A&M University, College Station
Mike Jolly, Deputy Superintendent, Round Rock I.S.D.
Mike Griffin, Executive Director for Support Services, Katy I.S.D.
Art Cavazos, Business Manager, Lackland I.S.D.
David Brewer, Associate Superintendent for Finance, Birdville I.S.D.
Richard Matkin, Assistant Superintendent, Duncanville I.S.D.
Ms. Debbe Roesler, Assistant Superintendent, Brownfield I.S.D.
Gilbert Bernstein, Retired Business Manager, Denton I.S.D. (Also conducted Review of the Literature)
John Roberts, Assistant Director, Region 10 Education Service Center, Richardson – Project Administrator
R. Pat Smith, Retired Associate Superintendent for Finance, Birdville I.S.D. – Project Director
Gordon Gates, Assistant Professor, Educational Administration, TAMU-Commerce