In the world of school finance, school and district finance officers navigate a web of complex regulations, striving to ensure that every dollar is allocated with compliance and equity at the forefront.

While the responsibilities of school and district finance officers are significant, they are manageable with regular access to professional learning based on the most recent regulations and with actionable guidance from experts in the field.

Enter WestEd’s 2024 Summer Finance Training for School and District Leaders, facilitated by WestEd’s Anthony Mukuna and a team of school finance experts. Mukuna is a Senior Project Director of School Finance at WestEd.

In this Q&A session, he shares insights on WestEd’s upcoming summer training institutes for district and school finance officers and other topics.

What are some of the practical challenges school and district finance officers encounter when trying to ensure fiscal compliance?  

Some of the main challenges include the complexity of fiscal laws, regulations, and rules applicable to the different funding sources they are responsible for managing. For local education agencies (LEAs) located in rural areas, attracting qualified staff is also a challenge. Therefore, the importance of regular professional development and training is critical to overcoming these challenges.

What are some of the common mistakes found in school and district audits? 

The lack of effective internal controls (including documented procedures) is one of the most common audit findings. Segregation of duties is particularly challenging, especially for LEAs with a small staff size. The misuse of federal funds, which are restricted for specific eligible students, is also another common mistake.

What specific federal requirements will this year’s school finance training institutes cover? 

We will cover the following:

  • Federal Regulations Review (more particularly the 2024 Uniform Guidance Revisions)
  • Uniform Guidance Required Written Procedures
  • Time and Effort Requirement Under the Uniform Grant Guidance
  • Federal Grants Financial Management
  • Federal Indirect Costs Requirements
  • Allowable Use of Funds and Allowable Activities Requirements
  • Coordination and Consolidation of Federal Funds

2024 Finance Training

Register for WestEd’s 2024 Summer Finance Training for School and District Leaders to learn about the latest federal requirements.

How can effective fiscal compliance help to ensure every student receives a high-quality education?  

The federal education funds are often allocated for specific student groups who have more and differentiated needs that must be addressed in unique ways. Effective use of those funds is essential to ensure they are used for their intended purpose, which is to help maximize the potential outcomes for students in those groups.

Many of the training participants come from different states and school districts. Are there certain universal practices that apply across diverse finance systems that you cover?  

Yes, internal control practices regarding the allowable use of funds, inventory management, procurement, and audit preparation are universally applicable to state education agencies (SEAs) and LEAs in different states across the nation. The content is not specifically designed for business officers or program officers in certain areas. It is designed for individuals occupying those responsibilities within LEAs (school districts and charter schools), as well as at the SEA level.

2024 Finance Training

Register for WestEd’s 2024 Summer Finance Training Institutes for school and district leaders to learn about the latest federal requirements.

As the landscape of school finance continues to evolve, these training sessions equip finance professionals with the tools necessary to adapt and thrive, ensuring that every student benefits from the high-quality education they deserve.