Educational Articles

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Co-authored by Daniel A. Hedden, CPA, Partner, Baker Tilly On April 30, 2021, the Ohio Auditor of State released Auditor of State Bulletin 2021-005 to all county treasurers and fiscal officers as defined by Ohio Revised Code. The purpose of the bulletin was to prescribe the form and substance of the Certificate of Transition by outgoing fiscal officers as required by recently enacted § 117.171 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). The Certificate of Transition is intended to facilitate a smooth and efficient transition of power or change in position to benefit both incoming and outgoing county treasurers and fiscal officers as defined by ORC § 5705.01 (D), as well ...
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The maintenance department in each district works hard all year long to keep the district running smoothly but the summer months are a little busier! How well do your associates know and follow good fire safety practices? Ask these questions to find your strengths and weaknesses in fire safety: Do I know the location of fire extinguishers and alarm boxes in each area I work? Do I know what fire extinguishers to use for each flammable or combustible chemical I use? Do I know and understand fire safety precautions for materials as outlined in warning labels or SDSs? Do I keep flammable and combustible materials away from heat and machinery? Do I know ...
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While important throughout the year, the summer months are especially busy for the district maintenance staff. Most associates have some experience working with chemicals and naturally want to avoid dangerous overexposure to chemicals, especially on the job. Such overexposure is possible no matter where you work. Your district's Hazard Communication, or HazCom, program was created to protect workers’ health and safety. Three important elements are at the heart of your HazCom program: warning labels on containers, training on the safe usage and handling of chemicals, and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Know what’s On an SDS SDS’s are printed on pages or online which ...
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Cybersecurity is a prevalent issue across all industries, and increasingly so in the K-12 education sector. We know there are a lot of unanswered questions lurking in the minds of superintendents, treasurers, technology directors, and other school administrators. To help, I'll answer the most pressing questions we’re hearing from districts right now about c ybersecurity. Let’s get started… Q. Why did the education sector account for over 60 percent of all reported cyber attacks in the US in 2020? A. Not surprisingly, criminal activity capitalizes on opportunity. The education industry, and, in particular, the K-12 subset technology environments, ...
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Co-Authors: Beverly A. Meyer , Sean R. Lehman , Christopher L. McCloskey , Rebecca C. Princehorn The federal government has issued three rounds of relief funding to Ohio school districts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The most recent round - created by the American Rescue Plan and referred to as ESSER III or ARP ESSER - is the largest round so far and has made $4.5 billion available to Ohio school districts. Given the significant amount of dollars that school districts need to allocate, many are wondering how and to what extent these funds may be used for construction and facilities improvements. While these monies come with certain ...
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Since the early 2000s, Ohioans have had the ability to shop for the “generation” portion of their electric bill. This should not be confused with the distribution and delivery charges on the bill which cannot be shopped. The local electric distribution utility (“EDU”) operates the distribution and delivery of electricity which includes managing outages regardless of the generation supplier. Ohio EDUs include AEP Ohio (formerly Columbus Southern and Ohio Power), AES Ohio (formerly Dayton Power & Light), The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, and Duke Energy Ohio. Customers that choose not to shop for generation are served under their EDU’s ...
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Co-Authors: Beverly A. Meyer , Aaron D. Rothey , Christopher L. McCloskey , Sean R. Lehman , Catherine M. Swartz , Rebecca C. Princehorn The federal government has allocated three rounds of relief funds to public schools during the course of the pandemic. Its most recent legislation, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 enacted on March 11, will funnel an additional $4.5 billion to Ohio school districts. These monies, commonly referred to as ESSER III or ARP ESSER can be applied toward school district needs arising between March 13, 2020, and September 30, 2024. On April 16, the Ohio Department of Education released local school district allocations ...
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In addition to the proposed American Jobs Plan, which includes funding to upgrade and build new public schools through infrastructure improvement, federal lawmakers are considering a number of options for financing those improvements. However, like the proposed legislation supporting the return of tax-exempt advance refunding bonds that we’ve shared in prior communications, the American Jobs Plan and new financing options have many steps remaining for final approval to be achieved. For additional details on the American Jobs Plan for infrastructure improvements, visit the White House’s American Jobs Plan website or click here for the full factsheet overview ...
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It is hard to believe that the school year is nearly over, and it is now time to consider offering your employees reasonable assurance. Anyone who works at an educational institution or institution of higher learning may fall under the reasonable assurance guidelines. What is “reasonable assurance”? Ohio recognizes reasonable assurance as a written agreement or verification that the employee will perform services in the same or similar capacity during the next academic year or term. (Note: Reasonable assurance is a provision that is part of federal law.) By offering reasonable assurance you are indicating to the state agency that an employee should not be ...
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School districts and other state and local public employers have a new tool to mitigate the costs of providing paid sick and family leave due to COVID-19. These employers can temporarily access the same kind of tax credits formerly only available to private-sector employers. Governmental Employers of Any Size Eligible The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides refundable tax credits previously available only to small and midsize private employers and expands them to include non-federal governmental employers of any size. These tax credits are available for wages paid for qualifying leave from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. Qualifying ...
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We know districts are actively implementing steps to follow the CDC's guidance for K-12 to reduce transmission of COVID. Did you know video security technology and data analytics can be a good use of your ESSER funds to help? CDC Prevention Strategies Let's review. The CDC says prevention strategies are critical and outlines these five key prevention strategies as essential to safe delivery of in-person instruction and to help prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools: Universal and correct use of masks Physical Distancing Handwashing and respiratory etiquette Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities Contact ...
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Co-authored by Jennifer Oiler . Open Enrollment for selecting a managed care organization (MCO) is May 3 through May 28, and Ohio employers have this opportunity to ensure they have the right MCO partner to help them navigate the workers’ compensation claim process. MCOs play a vital role in an employer’s ability to control claims costs, care for injured employees, and preserve options for premium savings in the long term. “Medical management” can be a rather vague description of the MCO function, but the impact can be substantial. Here are 5 key areas that make your MCO an extremely valuable resource for employers and their injured employees. 1. Post injury ...
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If you have never had a reason to ponder that question, the simple answer is yes. The time and effort used to properly conduct an accident investigation can be invaluable when using the information that is gathered to defend the best interest of your organization. Remember, you only need to experience one workplace accident or safety-related incident to permanently change the life of an employee. Information gathered during an accident investigation can be used for multiple purposes; determining the validity of workers’ compensation claims; preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future; responding to legal action; and/or determining compliance with ...
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Slips, trips, and falls do happen, usually only causing embarrassment or a simple bruise. However, at times, these mishaps result in much more serious injuries or even death. Falls are among the leading causes of death in the workplace. To stay safe and protected, follow these tips: Be aware of your surroundings. Never assume a walkway is clear. Look for clutter on the floor or steps and watch for unexpected changes in floor levels such as a step up or a step-down. Also, check for holes and grates in a pathway. Maintain adequate lighting in hallways, stairways, aisles, and any other traffic areas. Make sure it is bright enough to see! Perform audits at ...
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Co-authored by Sean Lehman By this point in time, it will come as no surprise to school districts that they are the recipients of federal grant funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. As of late March 2021, school districts have received two rounds of this funding, known as ESSER I and ESSER II, respectively, and a third round of funding (ESSER III) is right on the horizon. As a result, school districts are identifying the best ways to spend these incoming funds. The authorizing federal legislation specifically permits the use of ESSER for "testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school ...
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House Bill (HB) 444 was passed by the 133 rd General Assembly in December 2020. HB 444 contains an amendment to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3.061. ORC 3.061 permits “officers, employees, or appointees” of political subdivisions to purchase an insurance policy or coverage document issued by an ORC 2744.081 insurance pool covering employee dishonesty and faithful performance of duty in lieu of a surety bond. ORC 3.061 permitted this alternate form of risk transfer provided that either the surety bond or the employee dishonesty and faithful performance of duty coverage was in effect at the beginning of the individual’s term of office or employment. HB 444 amends ...
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Senate Bill 18, which has passed the Senate and been reported by the House Finance Committee, is what’s known as a conformity bill. When Congress amends federal tax laws, as it did recently with the passage of ESSR 3 (The American Recovery Program), state tax laws cannot automatically conform to the changes. Only the Ohio General Assembly can change Ohio tax laws. This is generally accomplished through a conformity bill. Senate Bill 18 makes changes to taxability of the Earned Income Tax Credit, unemployment compensation benefits, some specified deductions for small business, and extends a charitable contributions deduction for individual federal non-itemizers. ...
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Bond underwriters are like a box of chocolates (forgive me, Forrest). Unless you know what to look for, it’s difficult to know what you are going to get. And, as with chocolates, once you have selected and committed to the underwriter, the experience just might leave you, well, unsatisfied. This article illustrates some of the differences among underwriters, and may just help you pick the best one for you. Underwriting bonds is a lot like an auction. I realized this years ago while attending an estate auction with my wife. We had an interest in a beautiful 1950’s art-deco dining room set (ok, she had an interest). An important part of the auctioneer’s job was ...
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This is an article from SERS Staff. On Feb. 9 and Feb. 15, the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio (SERS) sent out Special Notices to school treasurers and business officials that contain information about a recalculation of the Health Care Surcharge for FY2020. The Feb. 9 edition explains why a recalculation was necessary, and the Feb. 15 edition addresses what school employers need to do. If you did not receive these emails, you can find them on SERS’ website . Following the FY2020 Health Care Surcharge billing in August of 2020, SERS realized that contributions were $3.7 million below estimates of what should have been collected to meet SERS’ ...
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In determining whether an employer has complied with this obligation and made a reasonable determination of work-relatedness, employers should apply the following considerations: The reasonableness of the employer's investigation into work-relatedness. Employers, especially small employers, should not be expected to undertake extensive medical inquiries, given employee privacy concerns and most employers' lack of expertise in this area. It is sufficient, in most circumstances for the employer, when it learns of an employee's COVID-19 illness, (1) to ask the employee how he believes he contracted the COVID-19 illness; (2) while respecting employee privacy, ...