What actions has MPCSD taken to improve its Fiscal Responsibility?
As MPCSD has grown into an award-winning, top performing district, it has taken its responsibility for providing a world-class education seriously. While offering a robust student experience is its first priority, being careful stewards of the public monies which fund its programs is of profound importance. Since the early 2000s, MPCSD has worked continuously to ensure the highest level of financial integrity and transparency, reflecting the values of the district staff, and those expected by the business-savvy community which the district serves.
MPCSD proactively contracted with School Services of California, the premier business, financial, management, and advocacy agency for educational agencies in California. With this guidance, MPCSD has implemented financial best-practices and become a model for districts across the state . Over the past ten years, MPCSD has accomplished the following:
- Established Board Policy 3470 for financial reserve levels of a community-funded districts.
- Created Finance and Audit (FA) Committee - made up of community members - reporting to the Board. The FA Committee assists the Board in the selection of the audit firm and review of the District financial reports. A requirement was put in place that auditors meet with FA Committee members without district administrators present.
- First in the state to receive AAA credit rating from Moody’s Analytics for bond issuance.
- Refinanced bonds to reduce outlay and return money to the taxpayers. This use of refinancing is now state law, yet MPCSD took advantage of better bond rates for the purpose of returning taxpayer dollars before there was any mandate to do so.
- Developed a new Interactive Financial Web Portal in partnership with OpenGov to make financial records readily available to the public.
- Established respected best practice staffing standards as MPCSD transitioned from a small sized district to a medium sized one, including the right-sizing of district administration to ensure most efficient use of staff time and funds.
- Initiated participation in the California Employers' Benefit Trust (CERBT) Fund, a trust fund dedicated to pre-funding Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) for all eligible California public agencies. By joining this trust fund, California public agencies can help finance future costs in large part from investment earnings provided by CalPERS. In addition, MPCSD funds OPEB at a higher rate than required by law to maximize savings.
- Requested San Mateo County Treasurer to move district monies from the County investment pool into safer Federal Treasury Notes during the financial crisis.
- Changed parcel tax accounting procedures so funds were deposited directly into the General Fund rather than a separate fund (Fund 17) to create greater transparency.
- Continued and ongoing evaluation of Student Service to improve effectiveness and efficiency. In 2015-16, a Program Specialist position was reduced and clerical position was suspended. A new Special Education Coordinator position was created and duties redistributed internally to reduce administration. These changes resulted in a net savings to the District. Contracted services were minimized or eliminated where possible and high quality staff provided improved services to students.
- Developed a new long term financial model to assist the District with better planning by using a model that would predict property tax growth and expenditure increases more accurately.