Overview

An education management organization provided whole-school management to over 50 schools nationwide. Since each school operated as its own local school district within the state, or required adherence to local school district policies, they all had to maintain compliance with all U.S. Department of Education No Child Left Behind (NCLB) funds (including Title I, II, IIA, IID, III, IV, V and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds).

 

Role

Rachel Werner served as the Grants Compliance Specialist responsible for supporting a caseload of 20+ schools nationwide through technical assistance, coordination with financial management specialists, consolidated application development (for receipt of federal funds within state departments of education) and ongoing site visit support for charter schools.

Goal

Ensure that charter schools were using federal funds in accordance with state and local education agency guidelines, and adhering to stated requirements.

students in class

Achievements

  • Implemented and managed a comprehensive pilot grants compliance system, including on-site training and ongoing monitoring of federal and state NCLB requirements. This included federal requirements, and state specific requirements, provided in electronic and paper forms
  • Managed caseload of 20+ schools with grant funds totaling approximately $200 million, and resulted in an increase of nearly 80% of managed schools following protocols and becoming compliant
  • Worked closely with Edison financial staff and school districts to secure over $500 thousand in government funds
  • Provided support to schools and financial managers regarding grant coding, OMB Circulars A-87 and A-110, state allowable grant expenditures, and NCLB programmatic requirements
  • Researched NCLB periodicals and legislation, and attended conferences to help ensure all knowledge of NCLB regulations was current
  • Incorporated necessary documentation into a compliance binder for easy use by the school administration

Outcomes

  • Enhanced organizational capacity to ensure compliance with NCLB grants requirements
  • Increased responsiveness to charter schools as they are required to implement the funding
  • Trained school officers and staff able to manage grant funding, and have tools and resources available to ensure compliance and avoid A-133 audit findings
  • Increased collaboration between school staff, leadership and financial headquarters
  • Focus shifted towards school achievement rather than grants compliance issues