The Finance Division is actually divided into several departments. These departments include Accounting, Payroll, Treasury, Financial Reporting, Federal Programs, and Human Resources, as well as the Adult Education program and Student Data and Assessment.
The Finance Division develops and monitors the district’s budget, classifying revenues and expenditures correctly, and preparing all financial reports and statements. Staff also coordinate the annual audit and maintain compliance with all state and federal regulations and reports pertaining to the fiscal operations of the district.
The district’s finances are classified within several funds, including the General Fund, Building Fund, Child Nutrition Fund, the debt service fund, and Bond Funds. The largest of these, the General Fund, is used to pay salaries of teaching and support staff members, purchase classroom supplies and textbooks, and utility and insurance costs. On average, salaries and benefits make up more than 80 percent of general fund expenditures.
The Human Resources department manages employee relations and benefits.. Pupil Accounting coordinates enrollment and manages student statistics, working closely with Teaching and Learning.
Economic Condition and Outlook
Union Public Schools is located within the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a seven-county area whose population exceeds 937,478 or 25 percent of the population of the state of Oklahoma. The Tulsa Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce reports Tulsa’s major industries as aerospace, transportation and logistics; advanced manufacturing and services; health care; IT and telecommunications; petroleum and natural gas; financial and business services; and education and knowledge creation. The Chamber estimates the value of all goods and services produced in the Tulsa MSA as $35.2 billion, or 32.5 percent of the Oklahoma economy.
Forbes Magazine recognized a strong job market for Tulsa, ranking the metro as the fourth best city for jobs in winter 2011. Relocate America ranked Tulsa sixth in overall cities for 2010, attributing elements such as a strong economy, low unemployment, and a robust business presence. Tulsa offers a low cost of doing business at 11 percent under the U.S. average due to low rent, energy costs and taxes.
Other qualities that attract new growth are Tulsa’s sound infrastructure and low cost of living. Business Facilities named Tulsa metro first for cost of living in 2010. Many publications have praised Tulsa for strong economic rankings, including:
The area’s economy continues to rebound from past turmoil in the national and international financial markets.
The Office of the State Treasurer reported that the state ended its fiscal year with revenues above projections due to higher than anticipated collections from gross production taxes on oil and natural gas and net income taxes. Oil and gas prices rose from the previous year, which helped contribute to additional state revenues in the current year as the state’s economy continues to improve. The Tulsa housing market has not been as negatively affected by the mortgage/housing crisis compared to the rest of the country.
An October 2010 article in The Wall Street Journal ranked Tulsa first for best markets for conservative real estate investors in cities with more than 200,000 residents. This high ranking was due to a positive three-year home price forecast, stable employment market, and small share of volatile jobs. Tulsa also is a top 38 best performing city for 2010 according to the Milken Institute. The unemployment rate in the Tulsa MSA was 6.9 percent in 2009, and then increased to a 2010 level of 7.4 percent, with a 2011 rate of 7.3 percent, 2.3 percent below the U.S. average. The Tulsa Chamber projects that rate will decrease through 2015 as the economy improves in Oklahoma.
Union Public Schools contributes to Tulsa’s workplace initiatives by offering community programs for both adults and children such as:
The Adult Education program has continued to grow, serving 2,263 students in 2011. Due to program expansion that includes five Northeastern Oklahoma counties, the program predicts 2012 will serve more than 3,500 students. In addition to helping many adults, the program has formed many relationships with Tulsa area programs including:
The district continues to be a leader in healthcare initiatives. A joint effort between University of Oklahoma School-Based Bedlam Clinic and Union Public Schools produces cutting-edge services for the Union community. The Union Public Schools Bedlam Schools-Based Health Clinic operates at both Roy Clark Elementary School, and Rosa Parks Elementary School. These clinics provide a convenient way for students to receive a wide range of health care services. They operate at no cost to the school district.
The primary goal of the clinics is to serve the families of all children in each of the schools, including those who qualify for Medicaid or have no health insurance. The school clinics provide at least one full-time physician’s assistant or a resident physician. In addition, a pediatrician visits each school clinic as part of a rotating schedule. The physicians work with and assist school nurses. In addition to student healthcare, Union partners with the University of Oklahoma Physicians- Tulsa to provide low cost medical services for
its employees through an employee clinic. This unique partnership provides access to quality healthcare while controlling escalating healthcare costs. The clinic is staffed by a fully-licensed OU physician, a physician assistant, and a licensed practical nurse. Even some pharmacy services are available.
Union has experienced significant growth in the past decade. During the 2001-2002 school year, the district recorded total enrollment of 13,315. In 2010-2011, enrollment reached 14,931. Administration projects enrollment in the 2011-2012 school year to reach approximately 14,911 students with the continuation of the four-year-old program to every elementary site and the three-year-old program serving approximately 760 students. Additional enrollment details may be found in the Statistical Section of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
To accommodate this growth in student population the district maintains over 2.7 million square feet of facilities, including 13 elementary schools (grades PreK-5), a
Sixth/Seventh Grade Center, an Eighth Grade Center, an Intermediate High School (grades 9-10), an Alternative School serving both middle school and high school students, a High School (grades 11-12), and an Education Service Center.The district’s newest construction includes the remodel and expansion of Grove Elementary, which was completed in July 2011, and construction on Union Collegiate Academy at the High School, scheduled to open
in school year 2012. Please refer to the Statistical Section of this Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for additional facility details.
2012 Bond Funds
On February 14, 2012, voters overwhelmingly approved $19 million in bond proposals, garnering 78.4 percent of the vote for the first proposition on construction and general needs and 79.1 percent for the second proposition for buses.
"We're very grateful we can go ahead and complete the Union Collegiate Academy and provide what is needed for students in fine arts and athletics," Superintendent Cathy Burden said. The academy will enable 10th-graders - in addition to juniors and seniors - to enroll concurrently in high school and in Tulsa Community College or Tulsa Technology Center.
The district also will build a new fine arts wing at the Sixth and Seventh Grade Center; upgrade tennis and swimming facilities; and buy new textbooks, software and equipment for athletics, spirit and fine arts.
The second of the two propositions will pay for as many as 10 school buses and five special education buses. Several Union buses are more than 17 years old, and others have high mileage and need to be replaced, officials said.
Burden said 33 percent more voters turned out this year than last year, when Union patrons overwhelmingly approved a $21.6 million bond issue despite hazardous weather.
That bond proposal was to fund the first phase of the Union Collegiate Academy and the construction of a Ninth Grade Center, as well as textbooks and to make capital improvements throughout the district.
During the 2010-2011 school year, Union received more than $16.98 million in federal grant money, of which $7.34 million was funded by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). ARRA provided funding for various programs designated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Homeless, Title I, and Federal Education Jobs Act, which allocated additional funds for educational positions. Union utilized ARRA funds for education-related expenses such as technology, instructional materials, salaries, parental involvement, and professional development.
Major initiatives that were enacted as a result of the 2011 Oklahoma Legislative Session included:
Management of the district is responsible for establishing and maintaining an internal control structure designed to ensure that the assets of the district are protected from loss, theft or misuse and to ensure that adequate accounting data is compiled to allow for the preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The internal control structure is designed to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance that these objectives are met. The concept of reasonable assurance recognizes that 1) the cost of a control should not exceed the benefits likely to be derived; and 2) the valuation of costs and benefits requires estimates and judgments by management.
Long-Term Financial Planning
The Board of Education of Union Public Schools, in conjunction with the Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer, establishes a system of sound financial planning and management to assure that the district’s objectives are addressed and that funds are expended in accordance with plans expressed through the Board budget.
The financial management system components include:
The district utilizes budgetary controls to ensure compliance with legal appropriation limitations and to provide an operating plan for the district’s resources. The annual appropriated budget includes activity of the General, Special Revenue Funds, and Child Nutrition Funds. Capital projects activity is controlled with approval of project-length financial plans. Initial budgets are adopted at the beginning of the fiscal year with periodic amendments approved by the Board as necessary.
The level of budgetary control is maintained by fund, project, and function. Individual line items may be adjusted without Board action, but total budgeted expenditures may not exceed appropriations at the major fund level without Board approval. The district utilizes an encumbrance system as a technique of budgetary control with encumbered appropriations lapsing at year end.
Oklahoma state statutes require an annual audit by independent certified public accountants. The accounting firm of Cole and Reed, PC, was selected by the Board to conduct the audit. In addition to meeting the requirements set forth in state statutes, the audit was also designed to meet the requirements of the Federal Single Audit Act of 1984 and related OMB Circular A-133.
The auditor’s report on the basic financial statements is included in the financial section of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.