| Volume 13 | 3rd Quarterly Newsletter | Issue 3 |
Claire Cieremans, President
School Business Officials -
I hope we learn from our mistakes as I can truly say that I always try to do just that. I have never claimed to be perfect. I have made my share of mistakes in my professional career as a School Business Official. I am proud of the fact that in whatever form or fashion I fail, I am able to acknowledge my shortcomings, reflect, make the necessary changes and move forward. It makes us better and our schools better as well.
I would like a share a very unfortunate situation from my school district in the hopes that it will keep someone else from making the same mistake I have made. As President of NMASBO, I consider the fact that we share our experiences and learn from each other to be a huge membership benefit to our organization.
I will start with two words - cash and people. I am going to venture that when I mentioned those two words some of you cringed slightly. The combination of having people dealing with cash has the potential to be an issue at some point in our careers. We have been very fortunate in Los Lunas Schools in that we have not had any major issues dealing with money or missing money in quite some time. Los Lunas Schools have internal control procedures in place to safeguard cash; we review and train on them annually. Remember, however, that we have not had any problems in many years so, looking back now, I can see where our processes that are in place to protect the money was slightly relaxed. The issue that occurred was brought to my attention after an employee who was not renewed for employment for work performance issues, unrelated to dealing with money, was gone from the district. At that time, it was discovered that the athletic petty cash of $2,500 was not in the safe, where it had always been kept. The former employee was the individual who was directly responsible for the petty cash kept in the athletic safe at one of the high schools. We immediately reviewed deposits to determine that the money was not accidentally deposited. We also immediately contacted the personnel office and started a personnel investigation of several of the individuals who were directly involved in athletic cash handling. The one individual who I mentioned was no longer a Los Lunas Schools employee was non-responsive to several attempts to come in for questioning.
During the course of the investigation, we did uncover some weaknesses in our internal controls, some of which include multiple people having access to the safe room and the combination to the safe. This made it very difficult to determine exactly what happened and, without questioning the released employee, it made for holes in our investigation. This was happening at the beginning of our audit so I fully disclosed the issue with our auditor and we discussed the requirement to report our issue to the State Auditor. During that time, we rewrote our internal controls for Athletic Petty Cash and tightened the access to the safe in an effect to avoid this issue in the future. The State Auditor was notified prior to our audit being submitted on November 14, 2018.
Several weeks later, I was notified by the State Auditor that NMSA 1978, Section 12-6-6 states that, "an agency or independent auditor shall report a violation immediately to the state auditor.” I did fail to report it to the State Auditor immediately. I also failed to report it to the PED's School Budget and Analysis Unit immediately. Los Lunas Schools have since notified all proper authorities and the investigation has been turned over to the local police department. Los Lunas Schools have been the center of attention in the local media for several weeks now with very negative press. Lessons learned include: 1) review and test your internal controls annually to determine any weaknesses, especially with changes in personnel; and, 2) In the event that you have an issue, notify your auditor, State Auditor, PED and local law enforcement immediately of any wrong doings. It is a very unfortunate situation when money is taken from our students. As we move on we will learn from it, make the necessary changes and be better because of it!
From the Executive Director's Desk
Terry Dean, Executive Director
NMASBO will be conducting our Winter conference February 13 – 15, 2019, at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. We are excited about the continuing education offerings we have for our members. We are trying something a little different with this conference, as we are introducing a “mini-general session”. We believe this session will be well attended by many of our members at the conference. We will be offering one basic and one advanced skills session at the same time as the “mini-general session.” This year’s mini-general session topic is “ACA – Making Sense of Healthcare Reform” and First Financial Group of America has graciously offered an expert in the ACA law to make the presentation. Of course, we accepted the offer.
Many of the sessions at this year’s Winter Conference will provide continuing education credits for our SFOs. The sessions qualifying for SFO CE are noted with a red asterisk in the agenda booklet.
We are excited to present Mr. David Rendall as our keynote speaker. David is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers among ASBO affiliates and is highly recommended by our sister organizations across the country. David’s high-energy “Freak Factor,” is an excellent way to launch this year’s conference.
Your NMASBO Board will be meeting in Santa Fe on March 8 -9, to review and adjust the strategic plan for 2019/20. The Board will discuss the trajectory of the organization, review the progress of this year’s goals and establish the goals/direction for the upcoming year.
Spring Budget Workshop
NMPED and NMASBO are pleased to host the 2019 Spring Budget Workshop at Hotel Albuquerque on March 27–29. The room block at Hotel Albuquerque is sold out. However, we have negotiated additional room blocks at The Best Western Rio Grande and Crowne Plaza. Visit our website at www.nmasbo.org for availability and room rates. NMPED leadership is currently working on the topics and sessions for the workshop. We will email everyone the tentative agenda as soon as it is ready for release.
New Presenting Partner
NMASBO is proud to present our newest Presenting Partner, Jaramillo Accounting Group, LLC. JAG is a full-service local accounting firm with a great staff of experienced professionals led by Audrey Jaramillo and Scott Eiliason. They offer services in auditing, forensic accounting, consulting and tax preparation. JAG is committed to joining NMASBO in the offering of training that enhances the skills of the professionals in the field. Audrey and Scott will be presenting at the Winter Conference about the implementation of GASB 84 and how those changes will impact your June 30, 2019 financial statements.
See you at the Winter Conference!
A Message Below from Jaramillo Accounting Group...
We often hear suggested changes to the Audit Rule from our clients. We recommend providing feedback to OSA on their proposed audit rule changes (which immediately impact this year’s 6.30.2019 audit process). Here is a summary of the key changes; however, feedback is important on any aspects of the Audit Rule. Click here to view the proposed audit rule summary key changes.
The proposed NM Office of the State Auditor (OSA) Audit Rule changes have been posted to the OSA website. There will be a hearing on February 4, 2019 at 1:30 pm to discuss the proposed changes. OSA would like to receive any written comments about any of the proposed changes prior to that hearing. Comments that you have objecting to the proposed changes or any comments in favor of the proposed changes are welcome. Please send your comments to Jack.Emmons@osa.state.nm.us. Click here for the OSA link. Hearing Date, Location and Time Details below.
- Date: February 4, 2019
- Office of the State Auditor
- 2540 Camino Edward Ortiz, Suite A
- Santa Fe, NM 87507
- Time: 1:30pm
2019 SBO of the Year Nominations
Teresa Scott, Region 3
2019 NMASBO/AXA Distinguished SBO Roadrunner Award
NMASBO, along with our partners at AXA, are pleased to announce that nominations are now open for School Business Official (SBO) of the Year Award. This distinguished award helps us to honor an individual in the field of School Business as an outstanding, dedicated member of the profession. In addition to the public recognition at Spring Budget Workshop, the selected individual will also win a trip to attend the 2019 ASBO International Conference in National Harbor, Maryland as part of the esteemed honor. There are outstanding Business Officials in all of our schools. Please show your appreciation for these priceless individuals by nominating one today.
Also, I welcome anyone who would be interested in serving on this committee to assist in choosing this outstanding recipient, to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our NMASBO office at 505-923-3283.
We are currently accepting nomination forms. Please see our website for a complete list of requirements and the nomination form. In addition to the form, please email a letter of recommendation for your nominee detailing the required information to Jessica Montano, email@example.com.
Do not wait too long to nominate your outstanding business official! Deadline to submit nominations and letters is Friday, March 1, 2019.
NMASBO Regional Elections
Kimberly Stone, President-Elect
“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” -John Maxwell
We have three very qualified candidates who have chosen to run for the board of directors of NMASBO again. Please take the time to read about their qualifications and reasons for wanting to continue to serve on the board. If there are no nominations from the floor during our business meeting coming up next week, then these members will be accepted by acclimation. Thank you all again and we look forward to seeing you next week!
Martin Romine, SFO - Region 1 NMASBO Director
- School District / Charter School: Zuni Public Schools
- School Title: Director of Finance
- Education & License Level: BS from Brigham Young University and Level 2 Business Manager License
- Number of years as a school business official: 8 Years
- Other Boards or committees served on: Chairman of Ramah Water and Sanitation District 2004-2010; Government Relations Committee - National Grocers Association 1992-2000
What would you like to see accomplished as a member of the NMASBO board?
The job of a school business official requires constant development in order to keep the district or charter financial "ship" headed in the right direction. As a member of the NMASBO Board, I been involved in the planning of professional development opportunities for school business officials, including providing training at NMASBO Boot Camps. I would like to continue to have the opportunity to be involved in providing NM school business officials with opportunities to improve their skills, increase their knowledge, and enhance the image of a school business official. By doing this, we can continue to build the profession and help improve educational opportunities for all New Mexico students.
Ludym Martinez - Region 5 NMASBO Director
- Board District/Charter/REC: Gadsden Independent School District
- School Title: Associate Superintendent for Finance
- Education & Licensure Level: Bachelors of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration, Level 2 New Mexico School Business Official License
- Number of years as a school business official: 10 years
- Previous work experience (including locations): Intern - Internal Revenue Service; Comptroller- Associated Student of NMSU (ASNMSU); Accountant - Archstone-Smith Communities Trust; Senior Accountant- US-Mexico Border Health Organization; and Financial Analyst/Supervisor/Manager AT&T
- Other Board or Committees served on: La Mesa Community Center Board and the NMASBO Board
Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to work closely with other NMASBO board members in objectives that enrich NMASBO. I have been a participant on the Membership Committee which has, among its goals, expanded student scholarships in the areas of finance and school business, increased the number of SFO certification members, and plans to create a web-based/online community resource library for NMASBO members. I have really enjoyed serving as your Region 5 board member. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve and grow in school business knowledge and expertise. I hope to make a difference by giving back.
Jeannie Harris - Region 6 NMASBO Director
After completing my third term as the Region 6 representative, I am running for re-election. I have worked in education for 21 years, with 20 of those years being in Dexter. I was appointed to the board in 2013, without appreciating the responsibilities of our Board of Directors. Before that, I attended the conferences, not realizing the vast amount of planning and effort that takes place behind the scenes of those events. Chairing the Training Committee has opened my eyes to all of the hard work that occurs in developing valuable conferences with topics that are relevant and beneficial to school business officials. Another important task of this committee is organizing Boot Camp for new business officials. Through the work of all its members, the Training Committee is dedicated to improving each year. Serving on the Scholarship Committee has given me the opportunity to see the hard work of some outstanding New Mexico high school students, all very deserving of recognition. Being a part of this committee is tremendously rewarding, even if choosing only one recipient is extremely difficult. During my time as a NMASBO board member, I have been allowed to work with a wonderful group of dedicated folks who want to help us be the best we can be in our profession. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue serving as the Region 6 representative as NMASBO moves forward in accomplishing goals that will develop and improve the School Business Official profession in New Mexico.
Terry Dean, Executice Director
Several years ago, ASBO International introduced the SFO© certification program. SFO© stands for Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations. To become an SFO©, the candidate must satisfy ASBO International’s eligibility requirements and pass an exam to evidence their mastery of the competencies. The competencies tested by the SFO© Exam surpass the New Mexico requirements for the School Business Official’s license as stated in NMAC 18.104.22.168.
To be eligible to sit for the exam, the candidate must have: 1) A Master’s Degree in a field related to school business and a minimum of two years of experience in the field of school business; 2) A Bachelor’s Degree in a field related to school business and a minimum of three years of experience in the field of school business, or; 3) Seven years of experience as a school business official (approval is based upon the seasoned practitioner provision).
In September, NMASBO conducted a study group to help nine candidates prepare for the exam and all passed the exam. Those taking the exam were: Martin Romine from Zuni Public Schools, Teresa Casias from Wagon Mound Public Schools, Kimberly Stone from Capitan Municipal Schools, German Martinez from Grants-Cibola County Schools, Leslie Pearce from Tatum Municipal Schools, Vickie Garcia from Jemez Valley Public Schools, Brenda Gallegos from Pecos Independent Schools, Sarah Stubbs from Portales Municipal Schools and Terry Dean from NMASBO.
In talking about the study group, Martin Romine said, “What is great about belonging to this group is that everyone is ready, willing, and able to share their knowledge and experience to help us all succeed. If you are thinking about sitting for the exam, or even if you are not, make it a goal. Write it down, plan for it, and schedule it. You may not want to take it this year but don’t put it off too long. The satisfaction of receiving that certificate stating that you truly do know what you are doing is incomparable.”
Horace Mann is a Partner with ASBO International and they have paid to frame the certificates for the individuals who passed the exam. NMASBO will be presenting these individuals with the framed certificates at our Winter Conference being held February 13–15 at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.
If you missed the study group in the fall, we will be conducting a study group again at the 2019 Fall Conference in Las Cruces on September 18 - 20. NMASBO offers a reimbursement program for the successful completion of the exam. Come join the fun and don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Chris Parrino, Charter Rep
The following represents an overview of NMPSIA programs as well as a financial update. Should you desire more information, feel free to contact Chris Parrino, NMPSIA School Business Official Board Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact NMPSIA directly at 1-800-548-3724, or through any of the individual contacts provided below.
NMPSIA recognized and thanked Mr. Robert “Bob” Lowery and Mr. Gerald “Jerry” Schalow for their service and dedication as Governor Appointees to the NMPSIA Board at the December 2018 Board meeting.
The NMPSIA Board appointed Ms. Ernestine Chavez as Executive Director, effective September 1, 2018. Ms. Chavez has worked at NMPSIA for over 22 years, and previously served as the NMPSIA Deputy Director. Ms. Chavez oversees all NMPSIA related programs and has recently been active in representing the agency during the Legislature. Ms. Chavez can be reached at Ernestine.Chavez@state.nm.us, or at 1.800.548.3724.
Mr. Richard Valerio was appointed Deputy Executive Director. Mr. Valerio previously served as NMPSIA’s Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Valerio assists Ms. Chavez with managing the Risk and Benefits Programs and continues to work jointly with the CFO in overseeing the agency’s budget and Financial Division. Mr. Valerio can be reached at Richard.Valerio@state.nm.us, or at 1.800.548.3724.
Mr. Patrick Sandoval was appointed Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Sandoval previously held the Financial Manager position at NMPSIA. Mr. Sandoval works primarily with the agency’s budget and investments, and oversees the Financial Division. Mr. Sandoval can be reached at Patrick.Sandoval@state.nm.us, or at 1.800.548.3724.
NMPSIA is in the process of reviewing budget projections and rate setting for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 in conjunction with its consultant, Segal. The NMPSIA Board will review these projections at the upcoming February 7, 2019 Board meeting and will determine premium rate increases and/or plan design changes, if any. NMPSIA requested a 7.6% blended medical premium rate increase and a 5% dental premium increase when it submitted its appropriation request in September 2018. There were no proposed benefit plan design changes at that time.
NMPSIA has confirmed dates for the upcoming July Regional Trainings, which are as follows:
- July 15, 2019 – Albuquerque
- July 16, 2019 – Albuquerque
- July 17, 2019 – Las Cruces
- July 18, 2019 – Roswell
- July 19, 2019 – Santa Fe
Further information will be distributed to school benefits specialists and billing personnel.
Beginning January 1, 2019, NMPSIA enhanced its out-of-network vision benefits for eligible members in Hobbs, NM to improve access in this area of the state. This enhanced benefit allows eligible members to go to any non-participating provider of their choice and be reimbursed, by Davis Vision, amounts that are comparable to average retail charges in New Mexico. This change makes it easier for NMPSIA members in Hobbs who cannot, or prefer not, to travel to an in-network provider. Members can verify eligibility and view reimbursement amounts by visiting NMPSIA's website.
NMPSIA is excited to announce that the NM Institute of Mining and Technology joined the Employee Benefits Program on January 1, 2019. NMPSIA worked diligently with the college on a transition plan and enrollment went smoothly.
NMPSIA has reduced the copay for video visits under both BCBSNM and Presbyterian to $0 in order to remove any financial barrier for members who are willing to use this great alternative for health care. Physicians can e-prescribe medications in order to treat members. This is a great benefit, especially for members living in rural communities with little or no after-hours care for non-emergent situations. If a member cannot be treated through a video visit, the member will be redirected to other health care options. BCBSNM is offering video visits for behavioral health at the same $0 copayment, and Presbyterian is working toward implementing this option sometime soon.
NMPSIA’s data warehousing services provided by Segal have assisted in rate projections and plan design to determine where NMPSIA needs to focus on enhancing member education to better assist members in efforts to manage their overall health status. Diabetes, asthma, cancer, coronary artery disease, inflammatory conditions, and hemophilia continue to be some of cost drivers on both the medical plans and the prescription drug plan.
NMPSIA replaced the HMO Plan under True Health New Mexico with an EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization) Plan under NMBCBS. The providers, who have agreed to be part of the EPO Plan network, are committed to follow patients closely in order to assist them make the best decisions with handling their care. These providers have agreed to accept lower reimbursement fees for their services. The network is new, so it will take time for BCBSNM to grow the network. Members are encouraged to consider this plan. The NMPSIA website (nmpsia.com) provides a link to locate contracted providers and hospital systems. School employees should research the network to ensure the plan will work for them.
NMPSIA’s wellness programs offered through the medical plans are improving member engagement. NMPSIA is asking for your support in considering implementation of wellness at work program in an attempt to improve the overall health of the NMPSIA membership. These programs may also contribute to less absenteeism and improve presentism, as well as encourage members to develop a relationship with a primary care physician in order to ensure they become aware of whether or not they may be at risk of developing a chronic medical condition. The programs can be designed to fit the needs of your district/school, as one-size does not fit all. If you would like more information, please contact Ms. Katherine Chavez, Benefits and Wellness Operations Manager, at Katherine.Chavez@state.nm.us at 1.800.548.3724. Please allow NMPSIA to help you come up with a strategic plan for your district/school. Remember, wellness is not just about nutrition and exercise, it is about our emotional, financial, occupational, environmental, spiritual, and social state of mind. Please visit NMPSIA's website and review the presentations made during the July 2018 Regional Benefit Training sessions. The trainings were geared toward improving overall health.
The Express Scripts Annual report for FY18 indicated the net per member per month plan cost for prescription drugs decreased by 12.6%, primarily driven by the cost share trend component. The specialty drug per member per month plan cost decreased by 11.1%, driven by specialty cost share and the new Saveon Program (patient financial copay assistance program). The top ten conditions being treated represent 67.6% of the total plan cost, which was $48.6 million in FY18.
NMPSIA is participating in a joint RFP with the NMRHCA, Albuquerque Public Schools and State Risk Management for life and disability. Currently, the contract with The Standard expires 6/30/19.
If you have any concerns or questions related to benefit matters, please contact Ernestine Chavez at Ernestine.Chavez@state.nm.us, or at 1.800.548.3724.
The Risk Services Division of NMPSIA provides insurance for Property, Liability, School Board Legal Liability, Crime, Cyber Liability and Workers’ Compensation coverages. NMPSIA members consist of K-12, Charter Schools and Universities. Insurance is provided by the use of a coverage document that is called a Memorandum of Coverage (MOC). NMPSIA maintains large self-insured retentions/deductibles, which means that NMPSIA pays losses on most cases that are filed on behalf of its members. NMPSIA then purchases excess insurance from carriers that provide large limits of liability in case a claim exceeds retentions. NMPSIA contracts with various professionals that provide services for the following: brokerage, consulting, administration, actuarial and claims management. These groups, along with staff, meet once a month reviewing coverages, claims, loss trends and loss prevention services to ensure NMPSIA provides the broadest coverage available and the best service possible.
Within the Risk Program, there are many areas of loss control issues that are addressed. For example, several years ago, NMPSIA and Poms and Associates focused on poor roof conditions. The focus included working with PSFA and the PSCOC. Increased attention and funds have significantly improved the condition of school buildings and has reduced the number of property claims.
NMPSIA’s efforts to focus on playgrounds, a leading cause of serious injury among children, has also led to an expansion of PSFA review. The hope is an increase in funding will ultimately reduce the risk and affect the stability of the pool.
NMPSIA, through its contract with Poms and Associates, has spent a vast amount of time focusing on school violence. Continued serious discussions around arming school employees have taken place. This has been a top priority, heightened by the fact that Aztec School District had a fatal shooting last year. NMPSIA’s main efforts are to provide consulting services that help to ensure the safety of children and employees. NMPSIA and Poms and Associates drafted and distributed guidelines for arming school personnel for all members, which will be reviewed by the NMPSIA Board on February 7, 2019. These guidelines will be posted on NMPSIA's website after they are approved. In addition, House Bill 129 (“School Security Personnel and Deadly Weapons”) has been introduced in the Legislature. This bill defines “School Security Personnel” and the required training for individuals approved to carry a weapon on school grounds. The bill also specifies that only the governing body of a school district or charter school has the authority to determine who can carry a deadly weapon on any public school premises or other school district property.
Another area of focus in the Risk program has been the development of a Boundary Policy. Much to NMPSIA’s chagrin, it was discovered that school districts did not have an effective policy that spelled out all the do’s and don’ts and both legal and moral responsibilities of educators and their duty to report misbehavior. A policy was adopted by the NMPSIA board and distributed for District to adopt. This policy is available for viewing on NMPSIA's website.
NMPSIA continues to fund and support CES with a very successful TAP program that assists districts with special education issues, such as IDEA and IEP’s. NMPSIA is always looking to improve education and programs to avoid employment practice claims and to ensure the due process rights of employees, along with ultimately providing a safe environment for our children to learn. All these initiatives involve great teamwork between staff and its consultants.
NMPSIA is also in the process of reviewing budget projections and rate setting for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 for the Risk Program. NMPSIA requested a 3.9% cumulative increase in risk premium revenue when it submitted its appropriation request in September 2018.
NMPSIA has also recently endorsed the Sandy Hook Promise Program, an anonymous reporting program and system. This program has replaced STOPit, which was previously offered as a pilot to NMPSIA members. Sandy Hook Promise is free of charge to all members and participation is strongly encouraged. Information can be found on NMPSIA's website.
If you have any concerns related to risk matters, please contact Ernestine Chavez at Ernestine.Chavez@state.nm.us, or Richard Valerio at Richard.Valerio@state.nm.us.
NMPSIA’s FY2018 audit for the period ending June 30, 2018 was recently released by the Office of the State Auditor. The Authority received an unmodified (clean) opinion with no audit findings.
The Employee Benefits Fund had an audited ending net position of $17.3 million as of June 30, 2018. NMPSIA’s target fund balance is one month of claims, or approximately $24.1 million. For FY20, NMPSIA requested an appropriation of $316.9 million, which would support a blended medical premium increase of 7.6% and a 5% increase to the dental premium. NMPSIA’s strategy is to reach the target fund balance over a 5-year period ending on June 30, 2023.
The Risk Fund had an audited ending net position of $4.6 million as of June 30, 2018. NMPSIA’s target fund balance is $5.0 million. For FY20, NMPSIA requested an appropriation of $82.6 million. This supports a 3.9% increase to risk premiums.
NMPSIA does not receive a direct appropriation from the State General Fund. The Authority’s appropriation request sets the expenditure authority in which claims and other expenses, can be paid by the Authority. The employer contribution for premiums paid to NMPSIA are funded through the “Insurance” line item in Public School Support. NMPSIA recommended that The Public Education Department request $12.9 million in additional funding for increases in the employer contribution for insurance through NMPSIA. The PED requested a total of $16.7 million in increases for insurance in FY20. Albuquerque Public Schools generally receive about 1/3 (one-third) of any appropriations through the mechanics of the funding formula.
If you have any concerns related to financial matters, please contact Richard Valerio at Richard.Valerio@state.nm.us, or Mr. Patrick Sandoval at Patrick.Sandoval@state.nm.us.
The Children's Hope Foundation
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ―Margaret Mead