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Why Move to an Electronic Document Management System?

If you haven’t already thought about moving to an electronic document management system, here are valid reasons why you should.

  • Reduced Storage Space:  Mounds of paperwork can fill up precious office and storage space.
  • Enhanced Security: Digital vs. hard copy paperwork eliminates the risk of confidential documentation getting into the wrong hands.
  • Improved Compliance:  Paper documents are difficult to track and monitor.  The costs involved with non-compliance could be hefty.
  • Easier and Faster Retrieval:  Searching for documents can eat up productive hours with wasted time and resources.
  • Better Collaboration:  Sharing documents allows for more efficient time management.

The above reasons should prove that moving to an electronic document management system benefits staff, parents and your bottom line.  There are various solutions out there so taking time evaluate what solution will work best for your school or district will be worthwhile.

Are You Managing Your School’s Safety Clearances?

A common topic facing today’s school districts is student safety – taking the steps to ensure staff and volunteer safety clearances are managed can protect a child and a district’s reputation.

We all appreciate the dedication and sacrifice that school volunteers provide to students – that goes without saying.  But it’s imperative that along with staff, volunteers and counselors undergo the appropriate background checks and safety clearances to ensure we are placing students’ safety in the proper hands.  Read below to learn more details into this critical issue.

As a result of child abuse cases that have gathered national attention in recent years, there has been a growing trend among states to increase background checks for professions that come in close and regular contact with children.  To clarify what a volunteer is, here are some examples of unpaid positions as a volunteer responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children can include:

  • Parent/Chaperone at school events
  • Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts
  • Agency volunteers who help with transportation or other services
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Literacy programs
  • Little League/coaches/sports officials

A Pennsylvania law was passed in 2014 requiring anyone who works with students at public and private schools in the state to obtain background checks.  This requirement, which was effective July 1, 2015, defines a background check to include both criminal and child abuse checks.  This mandate is not uncommon in education settings across the U.S.  Does your state have similar requirements?

Unfortunately, the safety clearance process sometimes can cause feelings of anger and distrust among volunteers.  While it may cause feelings of privacy invasion, background checks provide an extra layer of protection and put parents’ worries at ease.  The majority of volunteers will be happy, willing participants in these strict procedures to protect the vulnerability of children.

Residence Fraud Costs More Than You Think

School Address Fraud in the U.S. 

As mentioned in the article in Fraud Magazine’s Aug. 2014 article, “Investigating Residency Fraud”, by Philip A. Becnel IV, address fraud affects those who rightfully pay taxes to attend these schools and are being forced out by those who do not belong there.

Fraud, Fraud Everywhere

Address fraud is prevalent throughout the U.S. but one area that experiences an extremely high percentage of this fraud is in District of Columbia.  The District has approximately 35,000 public charter school students where the tuition can be as high as $15,000 per student.  If only 1% of those students are non-residents, the financial impact on DC taxpayers would be more than $5 million a year.

From Philadelphia, PA to Beverly Hills, CA, there are those facing fines and jail time for misleading school districts into believing their utility bills and inaccurately filled out forms are viable pieces of address identification.  Some districts have gone as far as implementing anonymous tip lines with the promise of monetary rewards, should the perpetrator get caught.

There is the debate that the quality of education in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods need to be drastically improved, so there is no need for this address fraud exercise.  We are sure to hear more about this soon.

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