Advisory Committee on Financial Management

Advisory Committee on Financial Management, Accounting and Reporting

Approved Minutes - April 18, 2012

Members Attending: Tracey Fiereck, Jennifer Charles, Stella Johnson, Dianna Groskreutz, Sue Nelson, Cindy Longhenry, Greg Hierlinger, Nancy Schulzetenberg, Sarah Slaby, Jeff Yeager, Lorrie Larson, Janet Halonen

MDE Staff Attending: Tom Melcher, Audrey Bomstad, Lisa DeRemee, Greg Hein, Sarah Miller, Patti Scott, and David Day.

Members Absent: Dennis Fischer, David Peterson, Tiffany Rodning

Call to Order: Chair Tracey Fiereck called the meeting to order at 12:10 p.m.

Approval of Agenda: The agenda was unanimously approved by the Advisory Committee with agenda item 3 – Vice chair Nominations moved after agenda item 7 – MDE Update.

Approval of March 12, 2012, Meeting Minutes – Stella Johnson moved to approve the March 12, 2012 meeting minutes and Cindy Longhenry seconded the motion. The committee approved the minutes on a voice vote.

Advisory Committee’s History, Role and Purpose: Tom Melcher presented historical background information, committee purpose, committee membership and operating procedures of the MDE Advisory Committee on Financial Management, Accounting and Reporting. The initiative to create the committee began in 2003. The purpose of the committee’s formation was to advise MDE on matters of school accounting, reporting, budgeting and financial management.

Fifteen committee members were appointed by the Commissioner of Education from various segments of the school financial community of Minnesota. MDE sought members who were experienced, had appropriate training and a keen interest in school financial management. The Advisory Committee membership included eight members representing various sizes and locations of school districts and charter schools throughout the state; one school board member or an employee of the Minnesota School Boards Association; one employee of the Office of the State Auditor, appointed by the State Auditor, and four persons employed by regional organizations or approved financial software vendors. This broad state representation would offer knowledgeable people in the field to assist MDE with valuable insight and discussion in activities related to school financial management, accounting and reporting, training, school audits, and other fiscal financial operational processes and procedures. Committee membership was established for a 3-year term to permit continuity through time to maintain operations. The Advisory Committee and MDE would work together on sound solutions for new legislation, department policy implementation, and address potential pitfalls, efficiencies and cost effectiveness of breaking issues.

Full committee regular meetings would be scheduled approximately every two months, and would be open to the public. Various ad hoc sub-committees may be appointed by the full committee as needed. Membership would be voluntary and the department would not reimburse members for their travel expenses. The committee would select a chair from its membership. Meeting minutes and summary notes would be prepared and posted to MDE’s website. Advice and recommendations from the committee would be reported to the supervisor of the Financial Management Section, the director of the Division of School Finance and the assistant commissioner for Finance and Administrative Services and/or the commissioner.

Development of Advisory Committee Agenda Calendar – Committee members formed two small discussion groups to discuss the MDE Financial Management team calendar and school district business cycle to determine an agenda calendar for ongoing, future Advisory committee meetings. The Advisory Committee reported their small group discussions, summarized in the attached table. During the development of the Advisory Committee agenda calendar, the committee discussed at length the importance of MDE’s timely release of annual updates to the UFARS Chapter X Grid and Manual. In addition to the School Business Bulletin articles, committee members agreed that a summary of these UFARS coding additions, deletions and changes would be good information to receive along with the UFARS Chapter X Grid and Manual releases.

Discussion of Process and Standards for Presenting and Resolving Agenda Items - The Advisory Committee and MDE staff discussed the process for presenting and resolving agenda items. The committee suggested that it would be productive to have MDE communicate and present new topics to the Advisory Committee for review and discussion prior to final MDE approval. Operating Capital was cited as an example of an agenda item that warranted additional research by both the committee and MDE prior to any conclusive recommendations. The committee discussed exploring the idea of the formation of an Operating Capital sub-committee. The members agreed that a sub-committee would be beneficial and the following volunteered for the position: Cindy Longhenry, Greg Hein, Jeff Yeager, Nancy Schulzetenberg and Tracey Fiereck.

MDE Update - Lisa DeRemee stated that there was no news to report.

Vice Chair Nominations - Lisa DeRemee nominated Janet Halonen as the Advisory Committee Vice Chair; Jeff Yeager seconded the motion. The committee approved the nomination on a voice vote.

Other Business - The next meeting was scheduled for June 20, 2012. The meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.