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Procedures for Reimbursing Members for Expenses Incurred at MASB Conferences and Classes

Brad Banasik

By Brad Banasik, MASB Legal Counsel/Director of Labor Relations & Policy

DashBoard, Nov. 8, 2017

The Revised School Code permits a local or intermediate school board to pay only “actual and necessary” expenses incurred by a board member in discharging his or her “official duties” or in performing “functions authorized by the board.” A board member who incurs an “actual and necessary” expense cannot be reimbursed unless one or both of the following procedures are followed.

One method requires a board to approve reimbursement of the specific expense before the board member incurs the expense. Under this method, each time a board member wishes to attend a MASB Board Member Certification (CBA) class, the board would have to pass a motion beforehand authorizing the travel, lodging and meal costs directly related to attending the class.

The Revised School Code also permits a board to adopt a policy establishing “specific categories” of reimbursable expenses. This alternative method would not require a separate vote by the board prior to a MASB conference if a board member’s anticipated expenses are consistent with a policy adopted by the board.

Most board policies authorize attendance at education-related conferences, business meetings, and continuing education classes and workshops at the local, state and national levels. If a board member incurs an unauthorized expense, a board cannot reimburse that expense unless a motion to approve the nonscheduled expense was adopted before it was incurred.

In both cases, a board must then vote to approve payment of the reimbursement to a board member before payment is made. Therefore, in either instance, at least two votes are required—the first to approve the reimbursement or adoption of the policy before the expense is incurred and the second to approve the payment before payment is actually made.

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