Category: Public Schools

Carryover Complications

Say a school is allotted $20,000 (with carryover allowed) and they only spent $15,000.  The carryover amount is: a) $5,000 b) something else Often the answer is b) “something else” This is because the central office will usually give the school site the net award amount – i.e. the award minus the indirect cost on the

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Three Monkeys and the Question of Evil

When we were in Bali in February we purchased a set of “Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil” figurines.  When we got home we realized we had been given two “Speak’s” and no “See’s”. This led me to ponder – should we really endeavor to see no evil?  I suppose in the Buddhist tradition one would

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Devices in Meetings

The superintendent checks his emails under the table.  As if we can’t all see that. Now others doing the same thing. Before devices: Participant says (out loud) “Excuse me, Bill, I think we are getting a bit off topic here. I’d like to suggest that we redirect our focus back to XYZ and have this discussion later.” After

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Gift Cards Anyone?

The short answer – just say no! Here’s a thought experiment.  Imagine I want to give you a bonus of $100 as appreciation for your hard work and dedication to education.  I cannot just do it because: You are in a union.  This payment has to be bargained. The board of education has adopted a salary schedule.  If

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When Communication is a Problem

We all believe that communication is the key to all good relationships, whether these are of a personal or business nature. Lately, when I’ve been told that “there’s a memo on that” or asked “have you read the manual,” I am reminded that there is also the type of communication that signals that something dysfunctional is going

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Calculating Indirect Costs – The “Magic” Formula

Question: Your district has received a grant for $100,000.  The indirect cost rate is 5%.  What is the indirect cost amount for this grant? Answer: a) $5,000 b) Something else And, the answer is ….. b) Something else Explanation: The real question here is, how much of this grant can you spend on items other

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The Basics

I am looking forward to training a new employee who “ticks all the boxes” as we Aussies say.  One thing he lacks, though, is experience in nearly all of the actual duties of the job. That was me some 20 years ago when I first started working at a school district.  I had to learn

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Start Here: The California School Accounting Manual

This is Lesson One in Basics 101.  Read the California School Accounting Manual and refer to it daily.  If you are not in California I am sure that there is an equivalent accounting manual for your state, too. If you find this manual as dry as dust, then maybe this job it not for you. 

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I Never Want to Talk to You Again

The county where I am currently working has one of the most wretched computer systems in creation.  Everything is messy: it is just workaround on top of workaround.  There are so many places where you can do real damage.  For example, how do you handle a new salary schedule?  Just overwrite the old one. And

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You are Worth my Time

Much has been written about disengaged employees. Right now they could even make up the majority of your company’s workforce and they are impacting your productivity and your bottom line. Some employers simply blame the employee.  They approach this problem by hiring slowly and firing fast. All well and good, and I support it.  But

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