Board Member Training
Please provide any comments to the Office of Audit Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-473-4516.
1. What does the new law require?
Section 2102-a of the Education Law requires certain board members to obtain a minimum of six hours of training on the financial oversight, accountability, and fiduciary responsibilities of school district and BOCES board members.
2. Who must receive training?
School district and BOCES board members who were appointed, elected, or re-elected for a term that begins on or after July 1, 2005 must obtain the training. Current board members who were appointed, elected or re-elected prior to that date are not required to receive training until they are reappointed or re-elected for another term.
3. When must the training be completed?
Training must be completed within the first year of the newly appointed, elected or re-elected board member’s term.
4. Is a board member required to repeat the training?
No. Board members are only required to take the training once, regardless of how many terms are served. However, board members are encouraged to periodically take courses to maintain and improve their proficiency.
5. If an individual completed the training prior to actually being required to take the training, does the individual need to take the training more than once?
No. Once the training is completed, the individual does not have to take the training again.
6. If someone is a member of a central high school district or of a BOCES board as well as a school district board, do they have to take the training more than once?
No. The law does not require a member of a central high school district
board or a BOCES board member to complete such requirement, if such member
has already completed the training.
7. Does the requirement apply to board members of the City School District of the City of New York?
No. The requirement does not apply to board members of the City School District of the City of New York provided the Chancellor certifies annually to the Commissioner of Education that the City School District of the City of New York has a training program that meets, or exceeds, the requirements of the law.
8. If a board member has experience as a certified public accountant (CPA) auditing school districts, are they still required to complete the training?
Yes. The law requires that all newly elected or appointed members complete the training and does not provide for any waivers based on prior experience.
9. Can I get credit for training taken in recent years?
Board members can get credit for training taken subsequent to June 30, 2004 and prior to February 28, 2006 if they can document that they satisfactorily completed training that is substantially equivalent to training that has been approved by the Commissioner of Education and offered by providers that have been approved by the Commissioner of Education.
10. If I receive some training from one approved provider, can I receive the rest of the training from another approved provider?
Yes. However, the providers of the training must document each segment of training completed to the satisfaction of the district clerk.
11. What areas must be included as part of the training?
The curriculum and providers must be approved by the Commissioner of Education. Courses should address financial oversight, accountability, and fiduciary responsibilities of school board members and include the following topics:
1. the provisions and context of the fiscal accountability legislation requiring this training;
2. roles and responsibilities of school officers and officials including internal auditors and the audit committee;
3. overview of internal controls and risk assessment;
4. internal and external audits;
5. revenue sources and the budget process;
6. monitoring financial condition and maintaining school district fiscal health; and
7. preventing fraud, waste, and abuse of district resources.
12. Who is authorized to provide the training?
All providers must be approved by the Commissioner of Education. In doing so, the Commissioner of Education will consider a provider’s understanding of the educational environment and the roles of board members along with the potential provider’s experience in delivering this type of training. Providers need only be approved once.
13. Who can provide training?
The State Education Department, the Office of the State Comptroller, and organizations or individuals that have been approved by the Commissioner of Education can provide the training.
14. Is the Office of the State Comptroller’s approval required for providers and the individual curricula?
No. However, the State Education Department is required to consult with the Office of the State Comptroller in approving the basic curriculum outlined in the regulations on which these are based.
15. Where can more information be obtained on becoming an approved provider of the training or having a curriculum approved?
All requests for information on becoming an approved provider and having a curriculum approved can be obtained from the State Education Department’s Office of Educational Management Services web site at: www.emsc.nysed.gov/mgtserv or by calling 518-474-6541.
16. Are board members provided the opportunity to comment on the adequacy of the training provided?
All providers of the training should provide participants the opportunity to evaluate and comment on the adequacy of the training. In addition, participants may provide feedback on the adequacy of the training to the State Education Department by email at email@example.com/.
17. How can a board member know a provider has been approved to provide training?
A list of approved providers can be found at: www.emsc.nysed.gov/mgtserv/approvedproviders.shtml.
18. What if the training is not completed in the first year, or at all?
The law does not provide a formal sanction for non-compliance with the training requirement. However, it is expected that all district board members will comply with the training requirement. A board member who does not complete the required six hours of training within the first year is in violation of the law. An appeal to the Commissioner brought by a citizen could result in removal of the board member.
19. How is compliance demonstrated?
Board members who complete training must file a certificate of completion with the district clerk. The certificate from the training provider should show the number of hours and curriculum completed. Board members are responsible for keeping copies of their records.
20. Who is responsible for the cost of the training?
Each district or BOCES is responsible for the cost of the training.
21. Is the cost of the training aidable?
The cost of training is an approved operating expense for purposes of calculating State aid. However, there is no aid program to reimburse the specific cost of the training. If the training is provided by a BOCES that has an approved COSER (Criteria-Guideline 7134 - Staff Development: Board of Education) to provide the mandated training, the expenses for board members from two or more school districts that participate in the training offered by the BOCES are eligible for BOCES aid.
22. Are there other training requirements being planned beyond this six-hour requirement?
No. Many other training opportunities are available and board members are encouraged to participate in training on an on-going basis, but they are not required to do so.
Sources of Information Regarding the Training Requirements for Board Members:
The State Education Department’s Office of Educational Management Services – The website provides information on the board training requirements along with a wealth of information on school district business management practices including requirements for budgeting, accounting and auditing, purchasing, internal controls, etc.
Statement on the Governance Role of a Trustee or Board Member – The booklet provides guidance and information to assist board members in the performance of their fiduciary responsibilities. It includes a section on best practices for boards to follow, top ten warning signs, and links to websites with relevant information. It is available at http://www.regents.nysed.gov/about/statement_governance.html