Alameda County Office of Education Helps Oakland Schools Fiscal Operations

The release “Alameda County Office of Education and Oakland Unified School District Continue Intensive Support Collaboration for OUSD Fiscal Operations” was sent to Zennie62Media by the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).

OAKLAND, CA – The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) have agreed to extend the initial phase of their collaboration in which ACOE provided intensive support and technical assistance for OUSD’s fiscal operations.

Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe and OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell established this collaboration in March to provide specific and concentrated assistance to OUSD staff with the goal of administering significant and immediate support for OUSD’s fiscal processes and systems.

Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE)’s support team of experienced school finance professionals, working directly with OUSD fiscal staff and leadership, will remain in place through December 31, 2019. At that time, a determination will be made whether to continue, scale back, or close out the work of the ACOE team. Progress toward the implementation of OUSD’s Fiscal Vitality Plan will continue to be used as the primary benchmark for evaluation.

“I believe we have created important momentum in our shared goal of supporting and strengthening Oakland Unified’s fiscal practices,” said L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County’s Superintendent of Schools. “We have collaboratively evaluated our work over the past three months and determined that ACOE’s team can be of continued assistance moving forward. As OUSD settles into new leadership for its fiscal team, we are committed to providing this short-term help.”

The collaborative work – which has included evaluation, training and implementation of best practices – has resulted in improved internal controls, protocols and processes in the following areas: purchasing/procurement, position control, payroll and accounts payable.

The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) team has worked with OUSD to accomplish improvements in practice and procedures including:

Converting manual verification of employment to electronic processing
Converting 1,200 manual monthly timesheets to electronic processing
Establishing a payroll reconciliation process and identified overpayments
Processing a waiver for instructional minutes with the State Board of Education
Reconciling Retiree Health Premium Abatements
Implementing ASB Works software for Associated Student Body accounts.

To date, these improvements have netted a cost savings of more than $1 million for OUSD.

For the next six months, ACOE’s technical assistance will focus on improvements to OUSD’s position control and enrollment projections, continued implementation of electronic processing in payroll, an enhanced budgeting process for special education, additional internal controls and workflow for the Escape financial system, and an emphasis on organizational effectiveness.

“Three months ago, I asked County Superintendent Monroe about additional support and partnership. I knew we needed to quickly improve our financial processes and procedures,” said Superintendent Johnson-Trammell. “I am proud of our staff and we have made progress towards improving financial practices. I am looking forward to the coming months and really taking on the issues that have plagued our District for years.”

County Superintendent Monroe assumed the costs of the initial three months of technical assistance work, from April through June 2019, an investment of approximately $422,000. The 2019-20 cost estimate through December 31, 2019 is approximately $562,000, an amount incorporated in the State’s AB 1840 funding allocation to OUSD. Per the provisions of Education Code 42127.6(a)(1)(B), OUSD shall pay 75% and ACOE shall pay 25% of the cost through December 31. ACOE will permit deferral of OUSD’s share until July 1 of the fiscal year following two consecutive years of OUSD attaining positive Interim Report certifications and approved budgets. The deferral limits the fiscal burden on OUSD until such time that they achieve greater fiscal stability.
While engaging in this support, ACOE has continued its fiscal oversight role as mandated by AB1200, which includes reviewing the District’s annual budget and Interim Reports to ensure that the District can meet its financial obligations. OUSD’s Board of Directors has maintained full local control and receives regular updates on the progress of the collaboration. Fiscal Oversight Trustee Christopher Learned continues to monitor and evaluate OUSD’s decisions that impact the District’s fiscal health.

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