New web-based travel authorization form

black-black-and-white-desk-938964The following is shared by the district Business Department:

We have exciting news!  We have launched a new web-based travel authorization form to replace the fillable PDF form previously used to pre-authorize travel outside of Thurston County. We heard from many of you about the complexity of the PDF form and download steps. In response, our OSD technology programmers in cooperation with TreeNo have developed a web-based form that automates the travel authorization process. The new Web-based travel form is located on the OSD staff Intranet. Once logged in, select Forms, then Online Forms and select OSD District Forms Travel Request Form.

Here are the changes effective 9/1/2018:

  • New web-based form is available via a link on the OSD Intranet Forms page.
  • New form allows multiple attendees to submit on 1 form (up to 6 attendees).
  • New form autofills name, email and work location, as well as travel expenditure rates.
  • New form does not require download. Simply complete the form via the website and submit.
  • If funding is provided from an alternative funding source (which is not your building), make sure to select the alternative funding source on the website form for routing and approval.

Remember:  Travel for similar activities/meetings can be combined on 1 (ONE) authorization form by listing a date range! Travel authorization is required prior to travel outside of Thurston County only.

Effective November 1, 2018 the PDF form will no longer work. Please use the web-based form. However if you have already submitted a PDF version for travel authorization, we will still process these via the old method until November 1, 2018.

If you need assistance please contact Business Services by emailing help-business@osd.wednet.edu.  Be sure to include the best method and time to contact you so we can assist with you questions and concerns.

August 31, 2018 is deadline to submit June/July travel expense reimbursements

Person appears to be marking an important date on a month desk calendar to signify an important dateThe following is a message from the district Business Office:

Historical OSD procedures, and updates adopted in 2016, require that Travel Expense Reimbursement submittals be submitted within 60 days post travel. Our district must meet these guidelines to ensure that budget managers know how much budget capacity they have remaining because payments of past activity are being taken out of accounts within a predictable time period. As our budgets become tighter due to constrained resources, the ability to manage budgets and cash flow becomes more important.

For the last two years we have been transitioning to a new travel process; new travel request authorization form, new policies surrounding expense reimbursement (no receipts required for meals), and Skyward processing of expense reimbursement. Each year, we have discussed timely payment with our auditor and asked for leniency as we adopted electronic processing of travel expense reimbursement. The auditor has provided leniency, but it is now time to return to compliance of OSD policy and state auditor expectations for timely processing.

In order to align practice with our travel procedures; beginning the 2018-19 school year we will again be requiring travel expense reimbursement be submitted within 60 days post travel. 

This will require prompt submissions of expense reimbursement (in Skyward) for travel expenditures incurred. For example, travel expenditures occurred on 9/1/xx must be submitted via the Skyward Expense reimbursement module prior to 11/1/xx to be allowable. Effective 9/1/2018, the Skyward Expense reimbursement module will restrict you from submitting expenses older than 60 days.

Keep in mind; law requires expenditures for travel be posted in the same fiscal year they are incurred. Therefore, expenditures for the month of July and August 2018 should be submitted in Skyward by August 31, 2018 to be posted to the 17-18 fiscal year.

Certificated Staff: Learn about new credit card memorandum of understanding

Man typing on laptop computerThe following is a message from the Business Office:

Shortly, certificated staff will see a new screen upon logging into Skyward.  This is an electronic form to replace a paper form that the auditor requires annually. The form is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for use of a district credit card via the Skyward online forms process. Once you fill out the form and electronically sign, this screen will disappear when you next login to Skyward.

Why is the district doing this?

In the 2015-16 Accountability Audit the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) found evidence that credit card procedures established by the district were not being followed. The findings included:  use of district credit cards on online shopping accounts (such as Amazon) personally registered to an employee and not linked to the district; personal charges being charged on the district credit cards; and cash or cash equivalent being purchased (gift cards & stamps) on district credit cards.

Response to Audit?

Following each audit, a school district must complete a proposed action statement to mitigate audit concerns. OSD reviewed the credit card MOU and found the form to be out of date. We also found that our process for collecting MOUs is inefficient and haphazard.  With the help of the SAO and the OSD District Accounting Advisory Committee, we have established a new form and method of completion that we hope is faster, and more instructive, for all involved.

How does this impact me?

In the next couple of weeks, certificated staff will be prompted with a Required Form Completion screen in Skyward. Skyward will prompt you to complete the new Credit Card MOU by clicking on the form, reviewing each requirement and clicking ‘yes’ that you understand, and electronically “signing” and submitting the form. With the completion of this form you will be authorized to utilize the district credit card.  Annually the district will send the MOU electronically to you via Skyward and request that you complete the form. The form is required to be completed prior to using the district credit card (Principals, office professionals and Knox staff have already been through this process).

Administrative staff will be verifying staff have completed the MOU beginning in Fall of 2018. Unfortunately, failing to complete the MOU will result in loss of credit card privileges in the future. If you fill out this form now, unanticipated travel or impromptu credit card use will be much more smooth if it crops up.

We do understand you may have questions or concerns on this process. Please feel free to contact Business Services at Ext. 6120 with your questions, or send an email to help-business@osd.wednet.edu.

Importantly, the Help Desk is ready to take calls on how to complete this form.  If you have questions as you fill out the form, please call 6172 and they can help you quickly.

We hope this is a quick and efficient way to get some of our annual paperwork out of the way. Office personnel do not have to distribute forms, you do not have to remember to hand in your form, and no one has to manually roll-up which forms are still missing. All of this can be electronic. Please do not hesitate to contact the Help Desk at 6172, or Business Services at help-business@osd.wednet.edu .

Thank you for your help in reaching compliance with audit requirements.

Payment portal link added to all district and school Web pages

Woman is using a computer and has a notebook and pen at her side

A link to the school district’s online payment portal has been added to the box of “Useful Links” in the footer of every page on the district and all school websites.

To access the link, scroll to the bottom of any Web page. In the blue “Useful Links” section, click “Payment Portal.”

Staff who are also parents of OSD students may access the portal to pay for items such as their child’s fees or fines, as well as order transcripts, purchase school theatre tickets or make food service payments for their own or their child’s meal account. Staff who are not parents may also make food service payments, as well as purchase theatre tickets.

Equifax versus Experian: Understanding the difference and your credit future

Jennifer Priddy, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, shares the following to help answer employees’ questions following the recently-reported nationwide data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Equifax Data Breach

We have received many questions regarding the recent Equifax data breach and how our employees may or may not be better protected given the district’s April 12, 2016 data breach.

Olympia School District’s April 2016 Data Breach

As a reminder, OSD employees who received a 2015 W-2, had their name, address, salary information and social security number released in a phishing scam. (Employee birth date, spousal and bank information was not released).

In response, the district provided the Experian ProtectMyID Elite with ExtendCare product for employees whose data was included in the data breach. (See summary below). In April 2016 all impacted employees were mailed an activation code in order to enroll in Experian credit monitoring; employees had until July 31, 2016 to enroll. Enrollment for active monitoring continues for two years from the date of activation. After the two years of active credit monitoring ends, some Experian benefits continue (look for the ExtendCARE description below).

Importantly, OSD employee enrollment in active credit monitoring expires for impacted employees in spring or early summer 2018, depending on the date that an employee originally enrolled in the credit monitoring service.

Equifax Data Breach

Equifax and Experian are two different companies. Therefore, the fact that you enrolled with Experian for credit monitoring does not mean that your data has been breached again. However, Equifax is one of three major credit monitoring companies; therefore, your financial data may be held by Equifax, and more than 140 million customers are part of the Equifax breach. Credit card numbers for 209,000 people were stolen.

If you have been informed that your data was included in the Equifax breach, and you have already enrolled in Experian credit monitoring, check your enrollment date in the Experian system so that you know what date in 2018 your Experian credit monitoring expires. Be mindful of your credit after your active monitoring expires, as you have extended benefits to assist you in untangling credit items that are not your responsibility.

If you are offered free credit monitoring services from Equifax, please seriously consider enrolling in this service. Caution: To avoid any phone, text or email scams related to the Equifax breach, it is best to contact Equifax directly rather than responding to someone who contacts you via phone, email or text. The Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating the Equifax breach, issued a warning to consumers recently by posting a fraud alert on its website urging people to beware of Equifax-related scams. If you want to learn more about the Equifax breach, you may call Equifax directly at 1-866-447-7559. In addition, the Experian website has a helpful description of Experian vs. Equifax and next steps if your data is stolen.

Assuming you enrolled in Experian, you may only have about eight months remaining of active credit monitoring. Extending active credit monitoring for even a few months via an Equifax offer may be very beneficial. At this writing, it is unknown if Equifax will offer 1 year, 2 years, or even no credit monitoring. The point is, do not be complacent about more services due to your enrollment in Experian.

The Federal Trade Commission has a helpful website and link to identify if you are part of the Equifax data breach.

Summary of ProtectMyID Elite

Your ProtectMyID Elite membership continues for two years from the date of enrollment. The service provides:

  • Free copy of your Experian credit report.
  • Surveillance Alerts for:
    • Daily 3 Bureau Credit Monitoring: Alerts of key changes and suspicious activity found on your Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion® credit reports.
    • Internet Scan: Alerts if your personal information is located on sites where compromised data is found, traded or sold.
    • Change of Address: Alerts of any changes in your mailing address.
  • $1 Million Identity Theft (per person) Insurance: Covers certain costs including lost wages, private investigator fees and unauthorized electronic fund transfers that occur as a result of this incident.
  • Lost Wallet Protection: If you misplace or have your wallet stolen, an agent will help you cancel your credit, debit and medical insurance cards.
  • Identity Theft Resolution with ProtectMyID ExtendCARE: The service provides toll-free access to U.S.-based customer care and an Identity Theft Resolution agent who is trained to walk you through the process of fraud resolution if you have any issues with identity theft or fraud on your credit accounts. They will investigate each incident and can help with contacting credit grantors to dispute charges and close accounts including credit, debit and medical insurance cards; assist with freezing credit files; and contact government agencies.
    • It is recognized that identity theft can happen months and even years after a data breach. To offer added protection, you will receive ExtendCARE, which provides you with the same high-level of Fraud Resolution support even after your ProtectMyID membership has expired.

Tips when planning a school fundraiser

Piggy bank surrounded by pennies

The following are some helpful tips if students or staff plan to hold a fundraiser this year. Natural disasters that cause widespread damage, such as the recent hurricane Harvey in Texas, often inspire students or staff to want to help by raising money or items for those most affected. Olympia is no exception, as we are such a giving community.

Please remember these tips from Business Manager Justin Lanting when scheduling a fundraiser. Many of these tips are addressed in the ASB Handbook — a comprehensive guide on how to donate and collect funds (see page 28).

We want to make sure any school fundraising event is successful, while also following proper accounting procedures:

If interested in supporting an organization such as an account set up for disaster relief, consider the following:

  • Fraud is rampant during a crisis. Scam artists often set up donation accounts or websites that are specific to a need. Research the website by searching on the Better Business Bureau or state vendor registration. The IRS website also has a search feature, “Exempt Organizations Select Check,” through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible. For additional information about fake charity scams related to Hurricane Harvey specifically, view this IRS news release.
  • Do your research! Learn about the organization you plan to donate to and, when possible, find one that contributes 100% of the donated funds to the cause.
  • If the donation administrator for the organization selected does not accept a credit card payment; you must request a vendor setup in Skyward to issue a check to the vendor after your donation drive.  A W-9 is required.

Things to remember for a school donation drive:

  • Donation drives are considered fundraisers in Washington.  Necessary paperwork is required to be completed.  Approval by Student Council is required.
  • Money must be deposited nightly. Per RCW, schools are required to deposit all funds within 24 hours of receipt.
  • Money can be deposited into a current account (no need to setup a special account).
  • A separate item is required in InTouch to track money donated for a donation drive. When a donation drive is complete, print a detailed revenue report. This can be the source document for issuing a check/warrant.  If paying by credit card, use an item report to show funds have been deposited and are available for donation.
  • If paying by credit card, make sure to factor in the additional cost of processing by the card. The total amount donated cannot exceed the donated amount unless additional monies are allocated via Student Council approval.
  • Some schools have asked if they can accept cash or check donations in a box on the office counter. An OSD-sponsored collection box is not allowed; however, school PTAs may collect donations in a locked drop box, clearly labeled PTA.
  • The “Donate Now” OSD Web portal is an option for individuals wishing to make donations or for a school to use to collect donations. Once the donation drive has been approved by the school, it can be posted in Donate Now (the Donate Now link is on the bottom of every district and school website Home page). This allows our community to contribute via an electronic payment portal with no fee to the donation drive. If interested in this option, contact Business Services at Ext. 6120 to add a specific donation drive to the Donate Now portal.
  • Staff donation drive: The district does not have the ability to collect donations from staff and contribute as a districtwide group to a donation drive. Rather, staff may donate to a student donation campaign, donate themselves to a trusted charity, or collect donations among themselves separate from a school- or district-sponsored activity. If you have questions about staff donations, please contact the Business Office at Ext. 6120.

Mileage rates for 2017 and travel expense reimbursements

Based on the GSA.gov publication for 2017, mileage rates for 2017 will change to $0.535 per mile.

If you will be submitting expense reimbursements in Skyward for mileage in 2016 the old rate will apply, and the drop-down menu will default to that rate based on the date(s) you enter for the request.

If you will be submitting expense reimbursements in Skyward for mileage in 2017 the new rate will apply, and the drop-down menu will default to that rate based on the date(s) you enter for the request.

Because your request will default based on specific dates, you cannot submit one request for both years.  Each year will require a separate submission.