I’m presently a director for a federal grant in my school complex. The grant funds before- and after-school academic and recreation programs for seven Waipahu complex schools. My job responsibilities include managing the implementation of the goals & objectives, organizing school site programs with identified site coordinators, and evaluating resulting data to show positive impact of the programs and activities. This year, I’m also responsible for a new level of fiscal management.
Based on a state-wide, federal site visitation and audit (that didn’t even review my complex), our state director has directed us to move funding from the school level up to the complex level. Instead of the schools processing payroll and purchases, someone at the complex must be responsible to ensure that funds are being spent appropriately and within guidelines set by the federal law providing the money.
That really messed us up! As part of our grant proposal, the schools all agreed to share the burden of fiscal management by having each school process their own funds following the prescribed practices of the DOE. People were hired, time sheets were signed, and employees were paid at each school. Site Coordinators submitted purchase orders to their own office, which the administrators approved and had processed locally. Now, all that will be centralized. With me. Well, me and a clerk that I can hire. But the cost of that additional personnel will come out of our existing budget. (So I also need to revise our budgets and tell they schools they’ll again be getting less.)
What this means to me is that I need to learn how to process payroll and purchase orders and develop a process so that very little changes for those at the most important point – the teachers and activity leaders providing services to our students.
Seems straight-forward enough until I was shown our antiquated department systems for fiscal management and process. Really. Think 1980’s input screens without WYSIWYG screens, no mouse, and no cut and paste options. For employees already in the system, I’ll have to request a termination date so that I can input them back into the system under the complex-level coding. One. At. A. Time! And of course, the termination date processing could take anywhere from 1-2 weeks which leaves the chance that I’ll be scrambling to get employees back into the system so that they don’t miss a paycheck! Oh, did I mention we still use paper and pen for time sheets, so those will all have to be faxed in weekly.
Well, at least that’s what I understand will be happening as I don’t have a login or password to the system yet because they won’t give me one until my workstation arrives. Which by the way, I realized this morning, I couldn’t order because — well, because I don’t have a login or password to process purchase orders! Ha! How’s that for fun.
I finally got someone (with a complex level login) to see the absurdity of my situation and she offered to process the purchase. In the meantime, I’m reading up on DOE budget vocabulary and studying to understand the expenditure process and figuring out how to manage this new duty in addition to what’s already on my plate.