School district finance department wins more national budget awards | VailDaily.com

School district finance department wins more national budget awards

Eagle County School District's finance department won more national awards for their work. The Meritorious Budget Award recognizes best budget presentation practices in school districts and was awarded to the Eagle County School District's finance department. Left to right: are Angelica Cortes, Catherine Kinney, Sandra Mutchler, Chelsey Gerard, Amy Moreno Mackenzie Krause.

EAGLE — The people who keep track of school district money won another national award for their work.

The Eagle County School District's finance department won the prestigious Meritorious Budget Award for excellence in their budget presentation, the latest in a long string of excellence awards.

For the 2018-2019 budget year, only 152 of the nation's 13,506 school districts applied to the Meritorious Budget Award. Of those, only 11 of Colorado's 178 school districts earned the award.

The award program is sponsored by Voya Financial for the Association of School Business Officials International, recognizing best budget presentation practices in school districts.

"Sandy Mutchler and the entire finance team have consistently been recognized for their efforts to make school finance accessible and understandable to our community. We congratulate them on their efforts in being recognized by two different professional associations on two different products — the Comprehensive Financial Annual Report and the district-adopted budget," said Dan Dougherty, the school district's chief communications officer.

The way it works

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Participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements. That panel provides feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents.

Districts may earn either the MBA or Pathway to the MBA, an introductory program that allows districts to ease into full MBA compliance.

The MBA is designed to help school districts:

Present clear budget guidelines.

Promote communication between departments and the community.

Encourage short- and long-range budget goals.

Support effective use of educational resources.

Double duty

Along with the school district's normal budget, the finance department also had to keep track of more than $150 million in voter-approved school construction and remodel projects. The school district's general fund — the checkbook by which it conducts its day-to-day business — is $81 million for the 2018-19 school year.

Local property taxes generate 62 percent of the school district's budget.

Other funds come from state and federal sources, including vehicle ownership taxes and school equalization taxes.

In Eagle County, second homeowners paid as much as 60 percent of the county's residential property tax bill through the end of 2016, according to the Eagle County Assessor's Office.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.