Much more needs to be done to protect and secure the treasure chest such as having access to meaningful data and information—internal and external. A good external financial resource is the American Association of School Business Officials; it has many excellent financial publications including an internal audit procedure booklet with 20 sample audit guides for a variety of areas. Having a well- trained FAC–Forensic Auditing Corps–would also provide independent and objective information.
In addition, there should be a school finance library with good reference materials and books such as: The Principal and Fiscal Management, and The Gods of Mismanagement: A Mythological Exploration of Our Management Predicament. Such information is essential in training and education required for a proactive forensic auditing program to prevent and identify financial misdeeds.
A list of Internet resources should also be compiled to provide important information on using school dollars more effectively. A practical source is the school finance program of CPRE—Consortium for Policy Research–located at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It has first-hand experience in working with schools to manage school dollars more productively.
A 300 pupil school they worked with wanted to adopt a new instructional program design that required smaller classes and eight additional teachers. By reallocating school and district resources, the additional teachers were hired without increasing the budget. Sounds incredible? The seemingly impossible is simply more difficult to achieve, but it can be done, was done and has been done; it works!
A critical need is the development of a financial culture that encourages, protects, and rewards school personnel to report fraud, waste and mismanagement without being crowned with the “whistle- blower-syndrome.” This cultural development can be enhanced by allowing employees and others to suggest ways for “saving and stretching” school dollars.
Part 5 Finance: Can a FAC protect the school treasure chest?