Most often when we think about March Break, we picture excited students throwing their backpacks into the corner of their bedrooms, relieved to have a break from classes and homework assignments; or teachers who just as excitedly jump into their vehicles and head out of the school parking lot to embark on restful adventures of their own; or perhaps the bus drivers, whose first stop is to turn off the alarm clocks that are regularly set to rudely awaken them at 6 AM each morning. March break brings a collective sigh of relief from the expectations of a daily school routine.
Our school communities are not the only ones who are relieved when the calendar turns to March each year. The finance department at the OACS has been spending long days with intense concentration on making sure that the cost per pupil calculations are done in time for our OACS schools to be able to send out the donation receipts to their parents before the end of February.
The OACS finance department is also breathing a sigh of relief after finishing another year of school year end reviews, calculations for the cost per pupil, and T3010 Charity Information Returns. Since this is the third year we are using a new software to process the school files, we found that the processing went smoothly—we feel like we have made it to the top of the learning curve. All but one school (for which we didn’t get the information in time) were completed by February 29th and the finance department didn’t put in as many overtime hours as in prior years.
The school files, which used to fill four or five filing boxes annually, are now mostly empty file folders since the new processing software can link all of the files electronically. Where we used to print and mail every one of the completed files, we now send the year end package to the schools by email attachment.
To make next year run even more smoothly, we will be encouraging those schools with June and July year-ends to submit their information for review within two to three months after their year-end. This will enable us to process schools in the order in which they were received, rather than bumping up the earlier year-ends in order to meet the T3010 Charity Information Return filing deadline.
School finance personnel, too, will be breathing a sigh of relief now that T4s, T4As, donation receipts and T3010s have all been filed and mailed out. From Christmas to the end of February, it is a very busy time for the school finance personnel, and they should be recognized for their efforts during this busy time of year.
As the snow has melted again, and the birds are beginning to return to the feeder in front of my window, the finance department will once again turn our attention to other things that get put aside during the crunch of tax season, and maybe even take a moment or two to moodle. Once again, we can all look forward to preparing budgets and planning for another year of school finances.