Amid public scrutiny over the lack of employee raises at Greenville Independent School District, a review of the school’s financial operations has been released.
The Texas Association of School Business Officials delivered a 52-page assessment of the district’s business office processes and procedures, highlighting certain key areas and suggesting ways to improve them.
“The visiting committee included selected personnel with extensive experience in the management of school district business and operations,” said TASBO Executive Director Tracy Ginsburg, in a letter addressed to Jim Damm, the former chief financial officer of GISD.
Three areas were addressed by the committee, including budgeting and financial planning, financial system utilization/ business office processes and other considerations. The following are some of the recommendations given by TASBO.
Budgeting and financial planning
- Finding: Payroll expenditure amounts were generated based on historical projections and not actual salaries for the 2017–18 or previous fiscal years.
- Recommendation: Officials should recalculate payroll expenditures and amend the 2017-18 budget, in addition to creating a cost-cutting and revenue-generating plan to address the budget deficit.
- Finding: The business office does not review vacant, repurposed, or new positions for proper funding, leaving a void in that the CFO is not able to assess the impact of changes to the budget. Thus, the budget inaccurately reflects the district’s financial position.
- Recommendation: Prior to the approval of position modifications, the CFO should review proposals to determine the fiscal impact.
Financial system utilization and business office processes
- Finding: The system for salary negotiations system was not properly utilized. Thus, the system does not show the budgeted amount of salaries, which means the salary amount used to estimate the approved budget was underestimated.
- Recommendation: The CFO and business manager should collaborate with HR staff to ensure all assignments and benefits are accurate in salary negotiations, determine and assign specific responsibilities within this process and then roll those amounts to the budget module.
- Finding: There is no protocol or schedule to determine salaries for new, non-teacher employees. Although the Texas Association of School Boards conducted a pay study review in 2015 and presented updated salary schedules for all employee categories, it appears that the recommended pay structure for administrative professionals was not fully implemented. This has resulted in inconsistent salaries among employee groups with similar experiences and job descriptions.
- Recommendation: The HR lead administrator and the CFO should develop pay grades, salary modules, and calculation formulas for each employee category. A study of current employee salaries should then be conducted to appropriately assign pay based on job duties, description and experience. The newly developed pay grades and formulas should also be used to determine appropriate pay for all new employees.
“The district is clearly interested in improving operations and becoming more efficient in the business office,” Ginsburg said. “When implemented, the recommendations will definitely improve the future financial health of Greenville ISD.”