Letter of Transmittal
Summary of Savings and Report Card
Exemplary Programs and Practices
TSPR Key Recommendations
What Still Needs to Be Done
HISD's Ideas for Improving the TSPR Review Process
Appendix A - Status of Recommendations and Savings
HISD's new superintendent and his administrative team have embraced many of the changes recommended by TSPR. They have completed 31 of the recommendations and are in the process of implementing six more. However, work still remains to be done. A discussion follows of those areas, that the TSPR team believes still need improvement, especially in light of the current business manager's retirement.
Financial Policies and Procedures.
Well-documented policies and procedures help staff perform their day-to-day duties and provide the basis for training and cross-training, both of which are critical for smaller districts with limited personnel. This need is particularly critical for HISD, because the business manager announced his intention to retire at the end of the 1999-2000 school year. In the absence of formally documented procedures, the business manager's institutional knowledge of the district's day-to-day financial operations, purchasing, budgeting, payroll, insurance, and investments cannot be passed to the new business manager in an orderly fashion. At present, the majority of HISD's financial procedures are not documented. It is absolutely critical for the district to immediately document its finance-related processes.
HISD's business manager has served as the purchasing agent for the district and makes informal decisions, such as determining the appropriateness of the vendor, identifying the lowest bidder and the availability of funds in the budget. TSPR recommended HISD gather sample purchasing manuals from the Regional Education Service Center and other districts and develop a comprehensive purchasing manual for the district. While the district has not yet implemented this recommendation, the new superintendent recognizes the importance of documented procedures and has directed the business manager to make it a top priority.
Sound financial decisions and controls depend on accurate and timely financial information. Five of 12 finance-related recommendations are not implemented, and three of those are technology-related. And, the only recommendation in the Operations Chapter not implemented involves technology. For example, TSPR recommended the district use the payroll module of its computerized RSCCC system for its budgeting and payroll functions. The district has not made this item a priority and continues to prepare payroll budgets manually. The district has not implemented these recommendations, claiming current manual processes are more dependable, but the proposals continue to be a "goal" of the district.
TSPR recommended the district purchase a software program that would enable the staff to record and report quickly on students' school meal participation. Since the district has extensive technology and cabling installed, the issue is not one of capability. HISD, however, continues to track student meal participation manually.
TSPR staff believes the district should re-evaluate its financial operations and take full advantage of the technology that is already in place at HISD.