The Utah International Charter School (UICS) Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the financial management and health of the school. The Board approves and provides oversight for the school’s annual budget and establishes fiscal policy and procedure. The Board hires and charges the school’s Executive Director to execute the annual budget and financial operation. The Director hires additional personnel to assist in this arena, including an experienced business management assistant or a contracted business service provider with a proven track record.
The following financial policies and procedures have been approved by the Board of Trustees. The Executive Director and business management staff will be charged with developing detailed UICS Fiscal Policy and Procedures Guidelines to be reviewed and approved by the Board.
Standards– UICS’s financial operation will comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, which include Generally Accepted Governmental Auditing Standards financial reports. UICS will utilize the chart of accounts and fiscal practices of the USOE Finance and Statistics Section.
School Finance and Statistics Trainings – Appropriate UICS personnel, including the Executive Director and business management staff, will attend USOE School Finance & Statistics trainings regarding the Minimum School Program, financial reporting requirements, and Legislative changes of import to charter schools and districts. The Executive Director and business management staff where necessary will attend all USOE Charter School Section monthly meetings. UICS, in its efforts to ensure that all fiscal matters are handled responsibly and ethically, understands the need for ongoing training to stay abreast of the requirements of the State when handling public funds.
Budget – UICS prepares an annual operating budget of revenues and expenses and a cash flow projection. These budgets and projections are reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees at an open and public meeting. They are reviewed regularly and modified as necessary. UICS will comply with the budgeting rules for local school boards as outlined in 53A-19-102.
Budget Reports – On a regular basis, at least monthly through the end of the first operational year, the Executive Director and business management personnel will prepare financial status reports for the Board Treasurer and the full Board of Trustees, including profit and loss, budget versus actual, cash flow, balance sheet and accounts payable. A monthly (quarterly after the first operational year) financial statement will also be provided to the staff of the Utah State Charter School Board. Business management staff will maintain complete and open records for any person who requests the information in compliance with Utah State Laws and federal regulations governing the request of public records.
Segregation of Duties & Signature Authority – Because of its small size, it is especially important for UICS finance personnel to be conscious of the separation of duties to prevent fraud or the appearance of fraud, especially in areas concerning cash, revenue receipts and check signing. The Board President, the Treasurer of the Board and the Executive Director shall have signatory authority and are responsible for authorizing cash transactions. Signature authority may be granted to others as directed by the Board. All checks must have two signatures. A check may not be signed by the person who has prepared the check.
Purchasing Policies & Procedures – UICS’s purchasing guidelines exist to ensure that goods and services are acquired at fair and reasonable prices and the highest personal standards of conduct are maintained in all relationships with vendors, suppliers, and subcontractors. UICS utilizes the following procurement guidelines per State guidelines: (Amended September, 2012)
- Contracts under $3,000 – The school uses sound business practices when procuring goods and services for amounts less than $3,000.
- Contracts from $3,000 to $50,000 – The school seeks price quotes from at least two vendors (three quotes are preferred) and awards the contract to the responsible vendor offering the supply or service needed for the best price, appropriate quality and in the necessary time frame.
- Contracts greater than $50,000 – The school conducts a formal advertised competition using sealed bids or proposals. An award is offered to the qualified bidder who meets the School’s specifications and offers the best price.
- Construction contracts – The school follows all state and federal guidelines inclusive of state public bidding laws.
Capitalization of Assets – UICS assets will be capitalized at $1000 and above. (Policy approved June 2013)
School Fees – UICS will follow all State Rules related to charging school fees. Minimal fees may be charged as per UICS’s Board-approved fee policy. Fees may include lockers, towels, yearbooks, clubs, travel, extracurricular activities, certain materials and supplies, textbook rental, musical instrument rental, calculator rental, etc. Charges related to the National School Lunch Program are not considered fees. Fees will be set, approved, and published each school year by the Board of Trustees. The fee schedule will be posted and distributed to all parents or guardians annually. Students are assisted in applying for a waiver of any school fees as per Board policy and State Rules.
Independent Auditor – As per its policies and state law, UICS will engage a qualified independent auditing firm to conduct an annual review of its financial operation and prepare Financial Statement and the annual financial reports required by the Utah State Office of Education and the Utah State Auditor. UICS will also engage an audit firm to confirm its October student census count and it year-end student data upload.
Expendable Revenue and Undistributed Reserves – UICS management and Board of Directors will work to set standards on its annual operating safety margins. During the annual budget review, any plans to use expendable revenue and/or undistributed reserves must be in fulfillment of the school’s mission, values and spending priorities and receive Board approval in an open meeting. UICS will comply with the rules around school budget undistributed reserves in 53A-19-103.
Investments and Banking – UICS will invest its funds in a fiscally prudent manner. The following priorities shall be followed: safety of principal, cash flow, liquidity, and yield. The school shall allocate interest earnings or losses as they are realized, not less than annually. Reports no less than quarterly, shall be made to the Board of Trustees by the business management staff indicating fund balances, interest earnings to date and a forecast for the remainder of the fiscal year. UICS bank accounts will be placed in reputable and stable financial institutions and be FDIC insured. Reserve funds may be invested in the Public Treasurers’ Investment Fund (PTIF). Utah Money Management Council reports will be sent in accurately and timely. The school will comply with Rule R628-2, “Investment of Funds of Public Education Foundations Established under Section 53A-4-205 or Funds Acquired by Gift, Devise or Bequest,” commonly called, the Money Management Act. (Amended January 2013)
Fundraising and Donations – All revenue producing activities at UICS, including fundraising projects, must support the school vision and educational philosophy. Proposals for fundraising projects should answer the following questions:
- For what purpose do we need additional funds?
- How much revenue do we intend to generate?
- How does this fundraiser align with our school’s mission statement and educational beliefs?
- What are the responsibilities attached to receiving additional funds?
UICS welcomes donations from private sources. Accepted funds must be consistent with the mission and philosophy of the school and promote the education, health or safety of students.
The Principal must approve all fundraising activities and ensure UICS compliance with fee waiver, confidentiality, ethical and other applicable state and federal laws. (Amended August 13, 2013)
Cash Receipts—UICS understands the importance of proper handling and accounting for all cash receipts, including currency, coin, checks, ACH transactions, and credit card transactions. Any UIS administration, licensed educators, staff, students, organizations, or individuals that handle cash receipts or accept payment in any form on behalf of UIS will do in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. All receipting of funds at the school will be done at the front office through the designated financial secretary. Teachers and staff should not accept funds in their classrooms or in unapproved off-site locations. Only the business manager and director may open bank accounts for the receipting or expending of public funds associated with school-sponsored activities. All funds will be kept in a secure location controlled by the front office until the funds are deposited in a school-approved fiduciary institution. Funds will be deposited daily or within three days after receipt, in compliance with Utah Code 51-4-2(2)(a), in a school-approved account. Employees should never hold funds in any location for any reason. Cash receipts must not be taken home by employees or volunteers, or left in classrooms. All checks are to be made payable to UIS and restrictively endorsed upon receipt. Checks are not to be made payable to an employee, a specific department, or a program. Cash should always be verified. Where verification is difficult, cash should be counted by two individuals. Documents should be available, and should demonstrate that proper cash controls are in place (signatures for approval, tally sheets, reconciliations, etc.). (Approved August 13, 2013)
Petty cash/change funds — Petty cash and change funds must be authorized by the UICS Director and Business Manager. All petty cash and change funds will be reflected on the school’s accounting records and reconciled monthly. Checks may not be made payable to “cash” or “bearer” and cashed by UICS employees to create change funds or petty cash funds outside of the approved fund accounts. Reimbursements to petty cash accounts will be made only when supported by receipts and approved by the principal. Expenditures should not be paid out of change funds. Change funds will be included in all tally forms or on deposit count sheets, and accounted for with each use. (Approved August 13, 2013).
Sales Tax Exemption—Sales and rentals to schools are tax exempt. To qualify as a sale to a public school, the purchase must be made with the school’s funds. Purchases made by individual employees and paid for with the employee’s personal fund do not qualify for an exemption, even if the employee is later reimbursed by the school. Tax exempt purchases must be supported by a signed and completed Tax Commission form TC-721, Exemption Certificate. The Director may issue the form as needed for school purchases made by employees. The school’s tax exempt number must be entered by the cashier at the time of purchase so employees should ensure they understand the process before making purchases using school funds. The school’s sales tax number may not be used for non-school or personal use. Some items sold by the school are taxable and the school must collect appropriate sales tax. Before offering an item for sale or rental in the school (not including items needed for classroom activities), employees should verify sales tax requirements with the Director. (Approved August 13, 2013).
Fiscal and purchasing policies approved by UICS board on March 8, 2011. Later amendments are noted.