Resources of Information Bonnie P. Granger, CPA, Esq. Manager, Education Audits Office of the State Auditor
Financial Accounting Manual • Why do school district’s have to use it? • Section 37-37-1, Mississippi Code Ann. (1972) authorizes the Mississippi Department of Education to prescribe and formulate for use by all school districts of this state adequate accounting systems and other essential financial records which shall be uniform for all school districts of this state. - It is mandatory for all school districts.
Financial Accounting Manual • What is in it? • Accounting issues and example accounting journal entries, example receipt forms for athletics and fund raising events, information on capital and fixed assets, etc. • Gasb 34 Financial Statements and notes (revised 11/17/2008)
Financial Accounting Manual • Coding system including revenues, expenditures, assets, liabilities, fund balance, capital assets, and debt recording • Listing of Mississippi Code Sections applicable to school districts.
Financial Accounting Manual • MDE Website – www.mde.k12.ms.us • Office of Policy and Operations • School Financial Services • Accounting Manual (left side of screen) • Or, at MDE website-search “Financial Accounting Manual”
Where Do I Get a Copy of State Laws (Statutes)? • Mississippi Secretary of State’s website – www.sos.state.ms.us • Education and Publications – MS Code Lookup • Search the Mississippi Code at Michie’s Legal Resources powered by LexisNexis Publishing • (The SOS website also has State Holiday Look-up – you may need it for purchasing purposes.)
Where Do I Get a Copy of State Laws (Statutes)? • Each school district also should have a set of the Mississippi Code in the Superintendent’s Office with updates sent each year. • Business Office - uses Volumes 8, 9, & 10 on a regular basis.
Which Titles? • Title 25 – Public Officers and Employees; Public Records (Ethics, Public Records, Open Meetings, Elected Superintendent info) • Title 27 – Taxation and Finance (Ad valorem Information – Notice of Tax Increase, Escrows, Shortfalls, Transfer excess debt funds)
Which Titles? • Title 29 – Public Lands, Buildings, and Property (Sixteenth Section Lands – including interest funds, principal funds, & forestry escrow funds) • Title 31 – Public Business, Bonds & Obligations Chapter 7 – Public Purchases
Which Titles? • Title 37 – Education Chapter 5 – County Boards of Education and County Superintendents of Education (elections, qualifications, etc.) Chapter 6 – School board meetings, minutes, voting, reimbursable expenses, surety bonds, etc.
Title 37 Chapter 7 – School Districts; Board of Trustees of School Districts 37-7-301- Duties and Powers of School Boards – includes what items for which activity funds can be spent 37-7-335 – Establishment of Fees; Hardship Waiver policy 37-7-455 – Surplus property disposal – real and personal property
Title 37 – Chapter 9District Superintendents, Principals, Teachers & Other Employees • Employment of employees and attorneys • Compensation of all district personnel • General duties and powers of Superintendent • Nepotism statute • Manner & payment of salaries • Surety bonds for principals, Superintendent, etc.
When something is not addressed in State Law, what is next? • Attorney General’s Opinions – Only the person or entity writing for the opinion actually can use it to protect themselves from the specific situation. • Many times districts use existing opinions to write for their own situation. • Searchable database at www.ago.state.ms.us.
When something is not addressed in State Law or questions exist, what is next? • Mississippi Ethics Commission – for nepotism, related party (ethics), open meetings law, and public records act - type questions • www.ethics.state.ms.us • New ethics law in effect beginning August 5, 2008 pursuant to Senate Bill 2983 • An ethics opinion is similar to an AG Opinion in that it protects only the person or entity that writes for it. • MSBA Presentation on this website is very informative about school districts.
Federal Issues • Cobra – Act that requires insurance benefits to continue after separation from employment. • Family and Medical Leave Act • Fair Labor Standards Act Some information can be obtained from www.dol.gov website or Thompson Publishing website. Other independent groups do training in these areas. Make sure to talk to an employment attorney if you have specific problems!!!
E-Verify Information • Office of the State Auditor • 1-800-321-1275 • Sam Atkinson, Director, Performance Audit Division • email@example.com • This division is also in charge of the MSIS audits.
Purchasing Questions • Office of the State Auditor – Technical Assistance • 1-800-321-1275 • This Division is very familiar with other questions especially with issues involving county and city governments.
Department of Finance & Administration (DFA) • Travel, Small Purchase Procurement Cards, Merchant Specific Credit Cards, Mileage Reimbursements, Meal Reimbursements • DFA website: www.dfa.state.ms.us • State Purchasing, Travel, and Fleet Management Information (left side) • Office of Purchasing and Travel
Department of Finance & Administration (DFA) • Procurement Manual Chapter X – Special Procedures for Merchant Specific Credit Cards, Small Purchase Procurement Cards, etc. • State Contracts – Office Supplies to Vehicles – (Suggestion: keep a copy with the purchase order for the auditor) • Travel – Reimbursement rate information - in and out of state
16th Section Principal, Interest, Forestry Escrow Funds • Secretary of State’s website – www.sos.state.ms.us • Public Lands – 16th Section lands • Mr. Bill Cheney – 601-359-1350 for questions concerning which sixteenth section funds are expendable and lease questions.
Ad valorem Resources • MASBO Academy has had several presentations • State Legal Compliance Audit Program – on OSA website under downloads- www.osa.state.ms.us has calculation • Technical Assistance at OSA • Outside Consultants who work with ad valorem
Federal Funds • Most of the federal funds received by the school district are passed through the Mississippi Department of Education. • MDE has various monitoring responsibilities related to the programs. • The proper person to discuss the particular issue with can be obtained through Todd Ivey or Wanda Cummins at 601-359-3294. They have a vast array of knowledge and many years of experience.
Federal Funds Guidance • When receiving any federal funds, the Business Manager needs to know what the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA number). This information is required for your audit. • Look up at www.cfda.gov. If you have the number, you still probably want to look up the compliance requirements. Some are on this website.
Federal Funds Guidance • OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement – contains the larger federal programs. This is the document that the auditor uses for the Single Audit Act. • www.omb.gov/circulars - go down to OMB Circular A-133 (updated each March). Part 4 is separated by federal agency. • - Also contains internal control section.
Federal Funds Guidance • OMB Circular A-87 – relocated to the federal register – can also be obtained at the www.omb.gov/circular website. • This information is universal guidance that applies to most federal programs.
Building Program Issues • Arbitrage Information – The IRS is not in favor of allowing the district to keep excessive interest on money that originated from tax-exempt loans – Restrictions for amounts borrowed in excess of 5 million within a calendar year • Depending on the use of the funds- funds used for school construction have larger caps
Building Program Issues • There are deadlines on how soon certain percentages of the funds have to be spent to avoid arbitrage. (10%-6 months, 45% 12 months, 75%-18 months, 100%-24 months) • Call your bond attorney if you have questions!!!
Continuing Disclosures - SEC Audits and other financial information must be submitted to the Nationally Recognized Information Repositories when you have certain types of debt outstanding. This is especially true for large bond issues. Make sure you comply with this and get the information from your bond attorney.
Uses of School Buildings when Debt is Outstanding • Bond proceeds may be used only for public facilities owned, maintained, and operated by the District while the bonds are outstanding – IRS rules • With limited exceptions, no portion of the facilities financed with tax exempt debt may be used for, or for the benefit of, any private party (including the US gov) other than as a member of the general public.
Uses of School Buildings when Debt is Outstanding • Examples: contracts to operate or manage a cafeteria or other facility, use of space for a commercial enterprise, leases or exclusive use of space, or purchasing the “naming rights” to a facility. • Call your attorney who issues the debt if you have this situation come up. • Read your closing binder of your debt issues
Building Issues • What do I capitalize? Construction must either add square footage or useful life to qualify as a capital asset. • What about capital leases? Depends on whether the assets acquired qualify as capital assets – do they add square footage or useful life or meet the thresholds for equipment?
Accreditation Issues • www.mde.k12.ms.us • Search for “Accreditation Standards”. • Use “Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards” for budgeting purposes.
Budgeting Issues • Wanda Cummins & Todd Ivey • 601-359-3294 • MSIS Report for Personnel – By December 1 of each year – check the funding for the “add-on” teachers to make sure that the appropriate % of reimbursement is as you budgeted and the amount of reimbursement on the “add-on” teachers are correct.