The state Board of Education has approved rules for programs that will soon be required before someone can become the business manager in a school district. Department of Education administrator, Jim Addy, says the rules set a standard for the person in charge of school district money.
Addy says there are currently no requirements to become a business manager. Begining in 2012, new business managers will need a license and will have to have an associate arts degree, with additional hours in accounting, school finance and school law to get the license.
Addy says it’s time to ask business managers to have some training before they take the job. He says the magnitude of school budgets has increased, for instance the smallest district in the state, Lineville-Clio, has a budget of one million dollars in public money. Addy says it only makes sense that business managers have some training, as over the years more reports are required of schools and finances have become more complicated.
Addy says the new rules could make it tougher for some districts to find a business manager. He says the education requirement “does set up a barrier to entry into the market, it does makes sense that folks managing this amount of money should have some knowledge of what they’re doing.” Addy says current managers support the plan.
Addy says school business officials came to the department and asked for the requirement as they see a need to professionalize the position. He says many district managers have highly skilled and highly trained mangers, but not all districts can afford that, so it makes sense to raise the level of all managers. Addy says smaller districts can still share managers and there will be plenty of schools that offering the required training to help managers for the smaller districts become qualified.
There’s a 10% turnover in the position across the state every year. The Department of Education is taking public comments on the rules up to March 15th when there will be a public hearing on the issue.