MASA Feature “It has added a great deal of value and depth to our budget discussions.” www.gomasa.org 21 Setting the standard for legal representation of educational institutions in Michigan for over 55 years EAST LANS ING 2900 West Road, Suite 400 East Lansing, MI 48823 NOVI 39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 600 Novi, MI 48375 WEST M I CHIGAN 3260 Eagle Park Drive, NE, Suite 121 Grand Rapids, MI 49525-4569 Beverly J. Bonning Michael D. Gresens Martha J. Marcero Katherine W. Broaddus Margaret M. Hackett Daniel R. Martin Kari S. Costanza Kevin S. Harty Ryan J. Nicholson Raymond M. Davis Fredric G. Heidemann David M. Revore Eric D. Delaporte Roy H. Henley Robert J. Robinson Robert A. Dietzel Kirk C. Herald Jeffrey J. Soles Michele R. Eaddy Matthew F. Hiser Lisa L. Swem Michael B. Farrell Robert G. Huber Gordon W. VanWieren, Jr Timothy T. Gardner Christopher J. Iamarino Brandon C. Walker Jennifer K. Johnston www . T h r unLa w . c om www.smarterschoolspending.org. From planning to ensuring sustainability of process, its website has opened new ways of thinking about budget in concert with district instructional leaders and goals. Longer-term academic goals and budget process integration are the basis for this new GFOA process: PLAN AND PREPARE 1. Organize Process 2. Assess Landscape 3. Start engaging stakeholders SET INSTRUCTIONAL PRIORITIES 4. Develop priorities 5. Estimate cost of options PAY FOR PRIORITIES 6. Identify top savings options 7. Analyze top savings options IMPLEMENT PLAN 8. Balance budget tradeoffs 9. Adopt strategic finance plan 10. Adopt annual budget ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY 11. Build internal capacity 12. Plan continuous improvement Source: www.smarterschoolspending.org Connecting Your Academic and Financial Leaders with S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals One of the greatest strengths of the new GFOA process is bringing the academic and financial leaders together to develop common strategies for student goal achievement. This is a groundbreaking notion because historically these two departments often work independently in many districts, using their own jargon and processes. Both departments could be more effective with a higher level of engagement. As a result, it is believed that student achieve-ment will be the success story because the district’s instructional priorities provide a guide for budget decision-making. Putting Best Practices to Work in Michigan St. Johns Public Schools and Traverse City Area Public Schools are two Michigan districts that have enrolled for study under the GFOA process. “Using these principles taught in GFOA, we are actively engaged in looking at how to re-deploy our fiscal resources for higher academic gains,” said St. Johns Public Schools Superintendent Dedrick Martin. “Our curriculum and business offices have been working side by side on how to reinvigorate learning in St. Johns Public Schools through this process. We have put forward a plan to our teachers and board that seems to be well received,” he said. Superintendent Paul Soma from Traverse City Area Public Schools said his district began employing the GFOA budget process last year. “It has added a great deal of value and depth to our budget discus-sions. In the past, our primary focus was how much money we had to deal with, and now our focus is shifting to first identifying our educational priorities. We start with identification of priorities and then build a budget using GFOA screening tools. We are ultimately working toward the creation of a strategic financial plan,” Soma said. Early Adopter in Oregon One of the early adopters of the GFOA Best Practices was Beaverton Public Schools in Oregon. Superintendent Jeff Rose said, “A school budget can directly impact students if it is aligned with student needs. Traditional models tend to be trying to catch up to where you once were as opposed to aligning your budget with where you want to go.” “The GFOA Best Practices have helped us focus our budget process. Our teaching and learning and our finance departments have worked hand-in-hand more so than ever before. We are truly looking at student data to make sure that more students graduate,” said Beaverton CFO Claire Hertz. Donald Sovey, CPA, CFO, is President and CEO of School and Municipal Advisory Services, PC. He previously served in public accounting and as a Michigan school business official for 34 years. Contact him at 517.231.0563 or email@example.com.
MASA Leader - Sprin 2016
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