Much like it did with revenue sharing for municipalities through the Economic Vitality and Incentive Program in 2011, the State of Michigan established new best practice standards in 2013 for local and intermediate school districts under the State School Aid Act (Public Act 60) for 2013.
The new law links compliance with 8 best practices to discretionary per-pupil foundation allocations, on top of to any regular transparency requirements. The economic benefit of compliance is substantial; equal to $52.00 in addition to the foundation allowance per pupil. Compliance must occur before June 30, 2014.
And much like it has done for municipalities under the EVIP program, Munetrix has several features to streamline compliance with these requirements.
Munetrix’ revenue and expenditure projection tools were specifically mentioned as a compliance option for local districts in a July 2013 memo from MDE Deputy Superintendent Carol Wolenberg to intermediate and local district superintendents and public school academy administrators. In addition, Munetrix can help local districts comply with the financial portion of the requirement for providing a public dashboard.
“With almost a third of school districts in the state using Munetrix now, they are finding Munetrix to be the simplest way to comply and receive these important funds,” says Munetrix co-founder Buzz Brown. “Service sharing or consolidations, as well as debt detail reporting are also required of school districts, and all of these can be managed or reported on in Munetrix.”
In addition to meeting the transparency requirements, Munetrix offers a full complement of tools that can be used by school administrators to communicate with the public and plan for the future.
“The Open Schools Transparency & Accountability web page, available to each district that participates in Munetrix, contains a wealth of information,” says Brown. “Users can view historic, current and forecasted budgets, access the terms of current labor contracts, view competitive bids for health insurance, view terms of current health insurance plans, and even view compensation packages for school administrators.”
Local districts that already use Munetrix are finding the have a leg up on the new requirements, and that it saves them time and money. Debra Barry, assistant superintendent for finance at Marquette Area Public Schools, summed it up best.
“We have been so pleased with Munetrix that I cannot imagine being able to do what we do without it.”