Approved Vendors Not Yet Known for Reimbursable Financial Data Analysis Tool Purchases

DashBoard, July 1, 2015

Questions about the new categorical funding included in the FY2015-2016 School Aid Budget that provides reimbursement to districts on a per-pupil basis for subscription costs of data analysis tools. Although the details are yet to be determined by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, it appears the Legislature is acknowledging the benefit of using these types of systems by making them more accessible through funding all or part of the district's cost.

Some important dates in the legislation are Oct. 15 and Dec. 1, 2015. The Oct. 15 date refers to the due date for DTMB to provide an “approved vendor list” that will allow a district to be reimbursed if they have subscribed to one of those vendors. Although the process for review is not spelled out, language in the bill states that “at least 2 and up to 4 approved vendors” will be chosen.

Dec. 1, 2015 is the date by which districts need to have a subscription agreement in place with an approved vendor in order to qualify for reimbursement. As long as you have an agreement in place with one of the approved vendors, it appears the district will be eligible for reimbursement.

MASB, MASA and MSBO endorsed the online public transparency and data analysis tool “Munetrix–School Edition” nearly two years ago. The associations recognized it as a tool to assist school districts in meeting their mandated reporting requirements, while allowing them to use the system to understand and communicate their financial story and provide the public with a “fiscal health indicator score.” 

It is our expectation that MunetrixSchool Edition will gain the approved vendor status with DTMB to qualify for the subscription reimbursement under Section 102D as described above. We will keep you posted as more information is available and when the decision is made. We encourage you to visit or make an appointment to get a personal tour of the system and see how your district can benefit from its functionality.

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