Educational Articles

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School treasurers and business officials play a crucial role in managing the financial affairs of educational institutions. One key aspect of their responsibilities involves reviewing school district contracts for goods and services. Understanding the intricacies of contract negotiation and drafting is essential to safeguard the district’s interests and ensure smooth operations. Here are some vital elements school officials need to consider when navigating contracts: Clear Identification of Parties : The foundation of any contract lies in the clear identification of the parties involved. School treasurers and business officials must ensure that ...
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Contrary to popular thought, the Treasurer/CFO of a school district is not the sole owner of the district’s budget, nor should they be. But, as Treasurer/CFOs, we are the compiler. We should certainly understand the budget so that we can speak to it if asked by community members. So, who should we include in the budget process? The answer to that question is simple: all administrators from the superintendent to the operation department supervisors. Starting at the cabinet level is always a good practice. Cabinet or district Leadership team meetings are typically held once per week. Asking this team for any significant upcoming expenditures will help ...
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The Ohio legislature’s override of House Bill 68 comes after nearly two years of debate about how to handle mental health, healthcare, and athletics for transgender youth. School districts and higher education institutions should take proactive steps to understand the new laws and their implications. Mental Health and Healthcare House Bill 68 prohibits a “mental health professional” [1] from diagnosing or treating a minor “who presents…a gender-related condition” without first obtaining parental consent. [2] The mental health professional must also screen for “other comorbidities” (e.g., depression, autism) and “traumas” (e.g., physical, sexual, ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division finalized a new rule that adopts an economic reality test that includes six distinct factors to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule will go into effect on March 11, 2024. It is particularly important for school districts that may consider or treat certain types of workers as independent contractors when they may be employees under the new rule. In January 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division updated Fact Sheet 13 to reflect the changes outlined in the new rule. Fact Sheet 13 is linked here . Fact ...
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It is that time of year again…..cold weather is upon us! Unfortunately, the cold weather brings hazardous conditions such as snow, ice, reduced visibility, and slippery roads. Whether you’re going to work, heading to the store or visiting family, it is important to stay focused on the road conditions before and during your drive. Icy roads, strong winds and wet conditions contribute to thousands of crashes a year and sometimes results in fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the US in 2021 there were 395 fatal crashes and an estimated 22,325 injury crashes that occurred as a result of snow and sleet conditions ...
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Click here to read Emily's previous article, "Title IX and Transgender Accommodations: Where Do Things Stand Now? What is Title IX?" FACT: Title IX is a federal law that applies to every school in the country that receives any federal funding. Title IX prohibits discrimination or harassment based on sex. Violations of Title IX can result in the loss of all of the school/district’s federal funding. Who can change Title IX? FACT: Local school boards have no power to change Title IX or any other federal law, nor to make sweeping changes on any legal topic. Local school boards control only their districts, within the constraints ...
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Take the First Step Toward Protecting Indoor Air Quality to Save on Energy and Solve Comfort Issues Winter is on its way, and with it comes complaints of hot or cold spots in buildings or people feeling ill due to dry, irritated throats. Often, the reason for these complaints is undetected air leakage in your building envelope. The building envelope plays a significant role in influencing indoor air quality (IAQ) by controlling the infiltration of outdoor air pollutants, moisture, and other contaminants into a building while also affecting the ventilation and overall thermal comfort of the indoor environment. Here are some ways in which the building envelope ...
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Recently, OASBO printed checks. We dropped all the checks in a USPS blue box outside of the post office. The next week, I noted the bank made a check reversal on our account. I investigated the original check and discovered it was altered. Fortunately, I submitted a positive pay file to the bank when I printed those checks. The bank reversed the check because the check payee did not match the file I uploaded. Our positive pay system prevented a loss. Check theft is a serious financial threat that individuals and businesses should be vigilant about. The best way to avoid mail theft is to not send a check. I strongly encourage your organization to authorize ...
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Over the last few years, schools have seen ongoing changes in the federal government’s expectations for the accommodation of transgender students. During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education (“USDOE”) put out guidance interpreting Title IX to protect against discrimination based on gender identity. The Trump administration repealed that guidance. In June 2022, the Biden administration attempted to reinstate the guidance. Meanwhile, courts across the country have been weighing in on protections for transgender students. Now, the State Board of Education in Ohio has joined the debate. Below is a discussion of where exactly the law stands ...
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On December 13, 2022, Governor DeWine signed into law Ohio Senate Bill 56, entitled, “Regulate indemnity clause - certain professional design contracts.” The law went into effect just a few weeks ago, on March 14, 2023. The new law is codified in Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 153.81. Major provisions of the new law, applicable to Ohio public schools, include the following: If a professional design firm provides work, services, studies, planning, surveys, or preparatory work in connection with a public improvement, a public authority may require, via a provision in a public improvement contract or subcontract, that the professional design firm indemnify the ...
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Jones v. Kent City School Dist. Bd. of Edn., 2023-Ohio-265 The Eleventh District Court of Appeals of Ohio (Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, and Trumbull) reversed a trial court’s decision affirming a board of education’s decision to nonrenew a teacher. During the 2019-20 school year, the teacher had several instances of misconduct that resulted in a three-day suspension. Later that same school year, the teacher failed to report to work and did not follow the proper protocols for entering an absence, resulting in students being unsupervised. The teacher was told he would be placed on a full evaluation cycle and was likely to be non-renewed. An in-person ...
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PERRP recordkeeping logs, summary, and online reporting are due soon if you are required to do so. Recordkeeping may seem like a daunting task, but it can be simplified by breaking it down into the following steps: All public employers must maintain a PERRP log for each establishment. Download the Recordkeeping forms and instructions and log all injuries for the calendar year that fall under the criteria of ‘recordable’. Not all injury claims will be recordable. Submit your summary information annually unless your organization is exempt. Now, let’s take a look at each step in a little more detail. Exemptions Public employers have no exemptions ...
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Disruptions forced change throughout every aspect of K-12 education in recent years. The primary focus was keeping students learning despite health and safety disruptions, like building closures. But many schools and districts found it nearly impossible to keep day-to-day operations going. Even as they found a way through every challenge, there’s a real sentiment among educators and leaders that it’s time to move K-12 finance and HR operations forward. For many, the exposed vulnerabilities combined with available federal funding are catalyzing change. Three phases of ESSER funds released by Congress give schools and districts the chance to act now and realize ...
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Authored by Marvin Founds, Managing Director, Baker Tilly; and Jeremy Buskirk, Senior Manager, Baker Tilly Heading into the calendar year-end and the start of a new year, treasurer/CFOs have plenty to think about as the five-year forecasts are being completed and budget season is around the corner. We developed a checklist of five topics, plus a bonus item, that should be considered at this point in the fiscal year with tips and practices to help you whether you are new to the job or a seasoned professional. Five-year forecast: You have gathered all the information for your five-year forecast to update revenue and expenditure assumptions, including ...
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It's no secret that there is federal funding forthcoming for our school districts to help subsidize the costs of electric buses. While a subsidy is great, like any business decision, there are capital and operating costs to be considered when analyzing whether electric buses make sense for your district’s fleet. There are also many questions. What is the added investment to buy an electric bus vs. a diesel? What is the range of a bus if fully charged? How long does it take to charge? What are the maintenance costs? What additional infrastructure is needed to charge an electric bus fleet? What will the electric utility charge to upgrade its infrastructure to ...
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During the pandemic, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) created manual classification code 9444 Public Clerical Telecommuter Employees for Public Employer Taxing Districts (PEC) which assigned operational staff to perform clerical or non-operational duties at home. The BWC Board of Directors recently voted to keep class code 9444 and update the description to include all clerical employees. This change will go into effect for the January 1, 2023 policy year and will allow public employers to report their clerical employees, as well as clerical telecommuters, separately under manual 9444. Historically, all public employees were generally reported ...
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Many of us spend most of our day sitting down. Whether it's driving, reading at home, or working, constant sitting can result in pain to the back, neck, shoulders, wrists, and hands. One of the ways to combat this is a properly designed workstation. The other way to alleviate the pain is proper posture and body positioning. Over the years, we may have developed some bad habits, but we can change those to good habits by incorporating some changes in our posture and body positioning. It may not be easy at first, but with continual practice and awareness, the changes will happen subconsciously. Below are a few tips to consider when sitting at your desk. Remember, ...
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Here we are again, on the cusp of winter in Ohio. The fluctuating temps and freeze/thaw cycles can wreak havoc on your buildings if you’re not properly prepared. Take heart - there are simple strategies you can use to prevent winter-induced facility problems. What’s more, these strategies can help you to save on energy and heating costs, and to ensure faculty, staff, and student health, safety, and comfort. Start at the Top Old man winter exposes roofs to several harsh conditions, such as snow loading, freeze-thaw cycling, storm debris, and possibly even deicing chemicals. So, before the frost arrives, winterize your roofs with these best practices: Conduct ...
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It is that time of year again when scary costumes, spiders, and spooky things are on our minds. Some potentially bizarre things can happen to our forecasts for November as well. This is a quick summary of some of the more common scary items to consider as part of your defense to keep these creepy items out of your forecast. Fund 467 and 507 Costs Returning to the General Fund For several years, districts received revenues that many used to help the General Fund. In some cases, General Fund staff was moved to these funds. In other cases, new staff and programs were added to help with learning losses. Whatever your situation, it is essential to know what amount ...
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As students and staff recover from major pandemic-related disruptions - mental health challenges, staff shortages, absenteeism, and lost instructional time - a residual effect will be how to dispose of property no longer needed due to or purchased because of the pandemic. Many schools have a surplus of, and no longer a use for, thousands of pounds of plexiglass, out-of-date and unsalvageable laptop computers, and countless masks. Disposing of this personal property in the correct manner is paramount to staying compliant with the auditor. Every school’s process will vary slightly, and the district’s board policy is the guidepost for the exact process of property ...