Close Message
Milwaukee Public Schools Logo: High-quality school options for 3-year-olds to high school seniors
 
Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions

Audit Services has identified the most commonly used internal controls and other procedures that the district requires schools to follow.  More comprehensive guidelines can be found in the following MPS Administrative Policies and Procedures:

If school staff require detailed instructions, they should contact the MPS Department of Finance.

The following are questions about school operation funds that are frequently asked by principals, bookkeepers, and school secretaries.

Who may authorize spending of school funds?

Only the principal (or lead administrator) may authorize spending.

Authorization means that the principal understands and agrees with the nature and purpose of the expenditure.

How should I be documenting the money that comes into our school?

The staff person submitting funds should count the money, complete all information on a Cash Receipt form, sign the form, and submit it together with the money to the secretary/bookkeeper or accountant.

At the time that the deposit is submitted, the staff person should receive a copy of each Cash Receipt form.  The staff person should retain their copy of the Cash Receipt form in order to reconcile (balance) their school fund account.

Any relevant documentation related to the deposit should be retained with the Cash Receipt form.  In other words, retain any documentation that would help explain where the funds that you deposited came from.

What is a fixed asset?

Fixed assets are defined as furniture and equipment that will last more than one year and that had an initial cost of $5,000 or more.

In addition, Board policy defines fixed assets as any portable technology such as computers, printers, televisions, fax machines, digital cameras, camcorders, etc. These are to be recorded as fixed assets regardless of cost.

What entries do I need to make for fixed assets?

When the school acquires a fixed asset, it should be recorded in IFAS within 30 days.

Similarly, when a school has disposed of a fixed asset that is obsolete, it should also be recorded in IFAS within 30 days of removal.

All fixed assets are to be properly tagged and secured.

At the end of the year, a physical inventory should be conducted to compare the actual fixed assets in the school with the IFAS fixed-asset inventory.  The principal must sign and date the inventory documents.

Your fixed-asset inventory is subject to an audit; therefore, inventory documents should be kept for audit purposes and maintained in accordance with the district's Records Retention and Destruction policy.

Do other IFAS-SA account balances need to be reconciled by anyone other than the secretary/bookkeeper and principal?

Yes. The secretary/bookkeeper should give a monthly IFAS-SA activity report to each staff advisor, who should then reconcile the report with the account balance.

The school or a school group wants to hold a fundraiser. Where do we begin?

The principal's approval must be obtained before any fundraising activity starts.

Before approving the fundraising form, the principal should examine the reason for the fundraiser, the dates, the type of product that is being sold, and the cost per product.

Consideration should also be given to the projected income vs. the projected expenses.   If revenue is expected to exceed $5,000, the school's Regional Director must also approve the activity before it starts.

During the fundraiser, what should we keep in mind?

The fundraising advisor must keep an accurate record of all merchandise given to each student and the funds that are subsequently collected.  The fundraising advisor should keep a detailed record of deposits by students.  Where appropriate, the student should be given a receipt.  The receipt book and/or deposit record should be retained for audit purposes.

The fundraising advisor should not keep money in a classroom, take it out of the building, or deposit it into a private account.  Money collected from students should be deposited with the school secretary/bookeeper each day.

Invoices for the fundraiser should not be paid out of monies collected.  Invoices should be submitted to the school secretary/bookeeper for payment.

Should we open a new account for the fundraiser?

Separate accounts can be created on the IFAS-SA system to track each fundraiser.

However, do not open separate bank accounts for monies collected.  All monies collected are to be desposited each day with the school secretary/bookkeeper.

What do we do when the fundraising activity is completed?

Within one week of the close of the fundraiser, the second portion of the fundraiser request form should be filled out.  This portion details the actual actual revenue received, payments due, and profit earned.

The staff advisor and secretary/bookkeeper should verify their agreement of the reported data and sign the form.

What if it's a parent group that wants to run a fundraiser?

It is preferable to establish an account on the school's IFAS-SA system to track the financial activities of school parental organizations.

Unlike student groups, however, parental organizations are allowed to operate independent fundraising activities and to establish separate checking accounts for that purpose.  Parent groups must follow the accounting procedures outlined in Administrative Policy and are also subject to the following additional procedures:

  • The checking account must be established in the name of the organization.
  • The organization must inform the principal of all fundraising projects and submit fundraising summary reports to the principal.
  • The organization must obtain a federal tax identification number.
  • All fundraising activities are subject to periodic audits by the Office of Board Governance-Audit Services.
  • At least two individuals must have joint responsibility for authorizing expenditures of organization funds.
  • Copies of fundraising reports and annual financial reports must be submitted to the Department of Finance.
  • All financial records must be retained in accordance with the district's Record Retention and Destruction policy.

NOTE: All questions regarding PTO accounts with separate checking accounts should be discussed with the Department of Finance.

When should parents be contacted about student absences?

Before the end of the second school day after having received a report of an unexcused absence, the school shall notify the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student who is truant from school. Notification may be made by phone or another means before the end of the second school day.

How are notifications sent to parents/guardians of habitually truant students?

When the student has accumulated five (5) unexcused absences within the school semester, the school shall mail a habitual-truancy letter to the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student who is a habitual truant. The habitual-truancy letter is required to be sent only once per academic year and can be sent by certified, registered, or first-class mail.

When is payroll validated?

Each payroll period, principals are required to validate all non-hourly employees.  Principals will be able to select a “Do Not Pay” box to identify any discrepancies. An email is sent to the principal when this function has been completed, and all emails should be retained by the principal.

How are schools managing their textbooks?

All schools have designated textbook coordinators, who  use the Destiny Textbook Manager. There is a manual, “Educational Materials Inventory Management Processes,” that should be used for reference.

What is the percentage of textbooks/inventory that each school should account for?

Per the Office of Accountability and Efficiency, each school should have 90% of textbooks/inventory checked into the Destiny Textbook Manager. This is calculated each school year.

How long does my school need to keep financial records?

All records are to be maintained in accordance with the district's Records Retention and Destruction Policy.

If you cannot find a particular record listed in the policy, email the Office of Board Governance or call 475-8284 for assistance.

Audit Services Staff

Phone: 414-475-8262
Fax: 414-475-8072
Fraud Hotline: 414-777-7878

Email: governance@milwaukee.k12.wi.us

Board Clerk / Director, Office of Board Governance
Jacqueline M. Mann, Ph.D.

Paul E. Geib, Performance Audit Manager
Phone: 414-475-8314
Email: geibpe@milwaukee.k12.wi.us

Carlos T. "Tom" de Arteaga, Performance Auditor
Phone: 414-475-8234
Email: deartect@milwaukee.k12.wi.us

Nita F. Farrow, Performance Auditor
Phone: 414-475-8831
Email: farrownf@milwaukee.k12.wi.us 

Michael J. Lieske, Performance Auditor
Phone: 414-475-8501
Email: lieskemj@milwaukee.k12.wi.us

Alberto Adame,  Auditor
Phone: 414-475-8229
Email: adamea@milwaukee.k12.wi.us

Yusaid Moua, Auditor
Phone: 414-475-8832
Email: mouay@milwaukee.k12.wi.us

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2017
To top