Spending Guidelines for School Leadership Team Development and Continuous Improvement Allocations


Recognizing that teams need the ability to determine which issues are most critical to them and the flexibility to address identified needs, each district will receive an annual allocation for every school, including high school superintendencies and District 75 (Citywide Special Education), to support school-level team development and continuous improvement. In consultation with all constituencies, superintendents may use a portion of this allocation to implement district-wide programs to support school leadership teams. However, districts are strongly encouraged to allocate as much as possible to schools so that teams may make their own decisions about the use of these funds for supporting team activities such as parent outreach, facilitation and team retreats, or for implementing instructionally focused programs. To the extent that the district retains funds for district-wide services, detailed information about their use must be made available to all school leadership teams. In all cases, expenditures should be primarily driven by the team?s and district?s joint responsibility for providing the professional development which is needed to ensure that team members are able to make the best decisions possible.

The following guidelines supplement the policies outlined in publications by the Division of Financial Operations such as the School Procurement Guide. The goal of these guidelines is to provide teams with a framework for spending this allocation by highlighting available options and procedures. The School Procurement Guide and other relevant publications provide further details and will also be made available to school leadership teams.

Team Development Guidelines

Teams must collaboratively develop a plan and budget for the school allocation and submit it, along with a statement of agreement signed by all team members including the principal, to the district office for review and approval. Superintendents may require teams to modify their spending plan before final approval is given. If a team is not currently in place, the organizing group of the principal, UFT chapter leader, and PA president may develop a plan and budget for activities associated with planning and establishing a team. In schools where there is an existing team which will be modified to meet the requirements of the Chancellor?s Plan by October 1999, the existing team will develop the allocation plan and budget. Plans and budgets prepared by the organizing group or existing team should be reviewed and may be modified when the team?s composition changes. In all circumstances, unused funds can be rolled over at the superintendent?s discretion for use in the next fiscal year.

In order to facilitate the budgeting and spending of the funds, each team should designate one team member to be the team?s liaison for financial matters. This team member would assume responsibility for reviewing financial matters for consistency with guidelines, and ensuring that the team follows appropriate procurement and payment procedures. In addition, the liaison for financial matters would submit the team?s budget plan to the district office and be responsible for reviewing any documentation associated with purchasing. This person will incur no personal liability as the team?s liaison for financial matters. Training will be provided for team liaisons for financial matters, and district business managers will provide guidance as needed.

School leadership teams must follow all applicable Board of Education rules and regulations as well as existing laws. The School Procurement Guide highlights financial laws and regulations that the team should be aware of for the purchase of goods and services. Goods and services should always be procured in a manner that ensures the prudent and economic use of funds, and with the purpose of maximizing purchasing options, quality and savings while guarding against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud and corruption. Teams should be aware that use of these funds is subject to outside audit.

The following are more detailed guidelines for the most common uses of funds by teams.

Reimbursement for Team Members1

Participation on a school leadership team requires time, dedication, creativity and hard work. Working together, team members can make an enormous contribution to setting educational direction and improving teaching and learning in their schools. While compensating team members adequately for their contributions is not possible, we would like to recognize the efforts of all team members citywide by providing a nominal reimbursement for some of the expenses incurred as a result of participating in team activities.2

Recognizing the importance of treating all school leadership team members consistently, both staff and non-staff will receive this annual reimbursement in lieu of compensation. Each school leadership team member who contributes at least 30 hours annually to team activities will be reimbursed at a standard rate of $300 for expenses such as childcare, travel, and meal costs. If a school leadership team member has met all team commitments, but has been unable to contribute 30 hours (because, for example, the member joined the team mid-year), the team may pro-rate the reimbursement. If a school leadership team is not currently in place, members of the organizing group, made up of the principal, UFT chapter leader, and Parent Association president (or their designees) are also eligible for the reimbursement of costs incurred as a result of developing a plan for establishing a team.

In order to facilitate distribution of the reimbursement, meeting attendance must be appropriately documented. School leadership team members will be required at the end of each year to submit to their liaison for financial matters a form (see your superintendent or principal for a copy) verifying that at least 30 hours of that year were committed to participating in team related activities, and that the reimbursement will only be used to cover expenses incurred as a result of participating in school leadership team activities. Forms should be submitted to the district office by June 15. Once this form is approved, the reimbursement will be paid through imprest funds. School leadership team members will receive a check through the mail approximately 2 weeks after the forms are received by the district office.

An estimate of the number of active school leadership team members in each district will be used to determine the amount added to the school leadership team development allocation for the purpose of reimbursement in the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school years.3 This amount will be pro-rated at 50% this school year since some school leadership teams will have only been in place for half the year and some school leadership teams may have already used other reimbursement or compensation strategies. Next school year (1999-2000), the full reimbursement of $300 per the number of estimated team members will be added to the allocation. In following years, the dollar amount needed for the reimbursement of school leadership team members will be based on the size of the previous year?s team as reported on-line by April 1 of each year. If the team size increases from year to year, districts should manage their resources appropriately in order to provide all qualifying school leadership team members with the reimbursement. Adjustments will not be made for mid-year fluctuations. Instead, in the year following the fluctuation, the amount added to the allocation for the purpose of reimbursement will be based on the revised number of team members.

Purchasing for Conferences or Meetings

Teams may wish to use a portion of their allocation to provide food at meetings. All food purchases should be within the following rates:

If a team chooses to hold a meeting in a site with costs involved, applicable purchasing rules must be followed (e.g. bidding). For further details, consult "How Do I Purchase?" in the School Procurement Guide.

Purchasing Professional Services

Professional services may be most easily procured through existing Board of Education contracts because the competitive bidding and selection processes have already been completed. Teams identifying appropriate service providers from among BOE contracted vendors may procure services simply by contacting the vendor and completing a purchase order (for further instructions, see "Procurement of Essential Professional Services" in the School Procurement Guide). Vendor information is available through district business managers and local procurement officers. In addition, a list of professional service providers and the districts that have used them is available through vendor.codes, a BOE electronic mail conference screen accessed through the TAO e-mail system. The Division of Financial Operations is also in the process of developing an additional on-line resource which will list contracted professional service providers by curriculum area. A school leadership teams category will be included on this resource.

In addition, to make the purchase of these services easier, central will establish a number of new contracts to provide services in areas important for team development, including: outreach to parents; capacity building and training targeted specifically to parents; professional development for all team members (parents, teachers, administrators, and others) on team operations; and professional development for all team members in educational planning. As contracts are established, information about qualified providers of school leadership team support services will be available through the sources referenced in the preceding paragraph.

If services are to be purchased from a corporation or business that does not have a Board of Education contract, but has been identified as the only feasible source for obtaining certain services, a team may use purchase orders to spend a maximum of $2,500 for services provided by the company in a fiscal year. The district office must approve these types of purchases prior to services being provided. Teams should follow all additional guidelines for purchasing professional services, including obtaining bids or soliciting proposals if the vendor is not the only feasible source for obtaining services (see "Procurement of Essential Professional Services" in the School Procurement Guide).

Teams may choose to purchase the services of a consultant in a variety of areas such as professional development, training, or facilitation. An individual consultant who is unassociated with a company and does not have a Board of Education contract, must be hired through the Consultant Nomination process which involves obtaining approval by the superintendent and the Division of Human Resources. A consultant may not commence service prior to approval by the Division of Human Resources. Prior to securing approval, a team must verify that the consultant in question provides a specialized service which cannot be provided by current school staff. In addition, a team must have evidence of the consultant?s credentials and have money in their budget for paying the consultant. The per diem rate for consultant services should be determined by reviewing credentials together with the services to be provided. A consultant should be paid less than $300 per day (consultants charging over $300 per day require a different approval process and documentation showing that the consultant has earned the rate before when providing similar services). The nomination and approval process can generally be completed within 10 business days, if a team follows these procedures. If you have questions about the consultant nomination process, please contact your district office for nomination, timekeeping and payment processing information or call the Division of Human Resources at 718-935-2323. In addition the following reference materials are available: "Procurement of Essential Professional Services" in the School Procurement Guide, "Chapter: Consultants (Other than Administrative)" in the Standard Operating Procedures Manual, and Chancellor?s Regulation C190.

Purchasing Supplies and Commodities

Whenever possible, teams should use the contracts established by the Division of Financial Operation?s Office of Purchasing Management (OPM) for purchasing. In addition to offering over 175,000 competitively contracted items, OPM has ensured that terms and conditions included in vendor contracts protect buyers. Items bought from contracted vendors may be purchased with a purchase order or imprest fund or through the Fastrack process via computer. See the School Procurement Guide for more information about purchase orders, imprest funds, or the Fastrack system.

There may be times when a team may need to purchase materials or services for which there are no existing Board of Education contracts. Orders over $2,500 may be placed on a requisition to OPM, which in turn will request bids and select a vendor. Orders, regardless of price, may also be placed directly with a vendor, provided that the items are not regulated and you have complied with established bidding procedures (see "What Must I Know About Contracts, Bids And Non-List Items?" in the School Procurement Guide). Individual purchases of up to $250 may be issued without obtaining bids from non-contracted vendors as long as there is no evidence of favoritism.

Purchasing from a non-contracted vendor may be prudent in the case of an emergency purchase or if the vendor offers either the best available price or the most timely way to receive the goods. In all cases, it is essential that the liaison for financial matters document the reason a particular vendor was chosen and keeps all evidence of payment. These purchases may be made via purchase order or imprest fund.

District Guidelines

District offices are a valuable source of support and information, especially in the area of professional development or training. Many district offices have already started to identify consultants and organize training opportunities for school leadership teams. Due to economies of scale, superintendents are often able to offer district-wide services which teams may not be able to access independently. For this reason, superintendents may retain a portion of this allocation to support team development throughout the district. However, superintendents are expected to consult with their school leadership teams or district planning team before making any final decisions about using any of the allocation for district-wide purposes. In addition, superintendents must provide school leadership teams with a transparent, detailed account about how the money will be spent to improve teams district-wide. Superintendents should make decisions pertaining to use of this allocation prior to team submission of a final spending plan; consequently, teams would not spend time either budgeting funds that have already been earmarked or planning for services that will be provided by the district.

The school leadership development and continuous improvement allocation is funded with tax levy funds. As such, districts are able to roll over any unspent funds for use in the next fiscal year. While superintendents have the flexibility to use these accruals for any district educational priority, districts are strongly encouraged to give each school the opportunity to keep their school leadership team accruals to support continuing team development.

Related Publications

School Procurement Guide

Reimbursement for Business Expenses

School Purchasing Made Easy

Standard Operating Procedures Manual

Chancellor?s Regulation C190

1This reimbursement arrangement is only applicable to school leadership teams. Any sub-committees of the team or committees implementing the work of the team (for example, a curriculum development committee) are subject to standard compensation or reimbursement procedures.

2 The school leadership team allocation in BOR Allocation Memorandum No. 40, FY?99 has been increased to fund this reimbursement.

3 Data gathered during the consultations on school leadership teams by the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University indicated that citywide the average school team consists of 14 members.