Fiscal Management Tool For Schools Provides Transparency

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Transparency has become one of the hottest topics in public finance, especially in schools. That’s why Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO), Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) and the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) have joined ranks with Munetrix to provide financial transparency in a way everyone can understand.

“No widely used and independent mechanism has existed to accurately determine the “fiscal health” of a district…until now,” said MSBO Executive Director David Martell. “More than a year ago, MSBO began to search the marketplace for a solution that would have the ability to use financial information submitted to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to determine cost effective and best practice models.”

School districts are under the microscope of public scrutiny now more than ever, and have recently seen funding attached to the ability to post and display financial information pertinent to operations.

“We’ve seen communities taken by surprise as districts have reduced educational programs and services after being forced to deplete reserves as funding for schools has been cut,” said William Mayes, executive director of MASA.

Munetrix™ School Edition allows for building long-term financial forecasts and trend analysis including fiscal indicator scores, best-practice benchmarking and peer group comparisons. It measures components of fund balance reserves, student enrollment and fiscal operations to calculate a “fiscal scorecard” which can be calculated for past and future fiscal periods.

Kathy Hayes, executive director of MASB said that one of the important aspects of Munetrix™ School Edition is that it is designed to give easy-to-understand access to sometimes confusing financial information for the community and school board, as well as serving as a management tool for school districts by identifying fiscal health which allows for future planning and managing of expenses.

“There should be no surprises when it comes to the financial stability of a municipality or school district” said Bob Kittle, co-founder of Munetrix, LLC. “Now they have a tool that allows administrators and board members to see their status far enough in advance in case course corrections are necessary. It also gives well run entities, which there are many, the chance to show their citizens a good story, which is often overlooked nowadays.”

MSBO began vetting the process of identifying the fiscal indicators several months ago with a workgroup consisting of school business officials from around the state representing both K-12 and Intermediate districts. The release of the system for school district use is scheduled for mid-April.