The Top 5 Strategies for Reducing Bond Risk and Renewing Public Trust

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e-Builder.net 800.580.9322 info@e-builder.net | support@e-builder.net THE TOP 5 STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING BOND RISK AND RENEWING PUBLIC TRUST Addressing Accountability and Public Scrutiny The typically tight budgets and accelerated schedules of public school construction projects leave little room for error, especially in the eyes of taxpayers who are highly sensitive to cost overruns. In fact, recent headlines in local papers point to a high degree of public mistrust of many school districts that have recently tried to get bonds approved. The fear of mismanagement is derived from poor performance of past bond programs. Yet, many school districts rely on bonds to provide relief to overcrowding and aging school facilities. As a result, proactive school districts, including Miami Dade County Public Schools, Seattle Public Schools, and Portland Public Schools, are reviewing existing processes, controls, and procedures to get the most out of new bonds while renewing public trust. This eBook identifies the Top 5 Strategies that school districts are putting in place to address the risks of schedule delays and cost overruns, and achieving measurable cost reductions to fund more projects. The Top 5 Strategies include: § Standardize Cost Controls § Increase Transparency § Standardize Business Processes § Integrate with Financials Software § Standardize Funding Source Management and Reporting Practices Major U.S. School Districts Implement Top 5 Strategies to Reduce Bond Risk and Renew Public Trust As told by U.S. School Districts ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS – CENTRALIZING COST TRACKING AND REPORTING Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) have as many as 200 projects going at one time. The projects vary from minor remodels to the construction of new schools. Until two years ago, the school district lacked centralized business processes for managing information created as part of its one billion dollar capital improvement master plan. Karen Alarid, Executive Director of Facilities Design and Construction with APS, recalled, "We had been managing projects on a make do basis. Everyone managed projects their own way, with Excel spreadsheets; we didn't have a central repository for project documents." The spreadsheet and paper based system made it difficult to generate the reports that were necessary to track the status of projects in an efficient, accurate manner. In addition, the school district did not have standardization of how different processes were executed. People managed projects using different and inconsistent methods. APS IMPLEMENTS STRATEGIES 1, 2 AND 3 Strategy 1 – Enable Standardized Cost Controls by Centralizing Cost Management and Monitoring APS implemented a single, centralized cost management and tracking system that enables secure data entry and automatic tracking of changes to every contract line item. As questions arise about why a change has occurred, school board members can access the backup documentation and approvals audit trail. Auditors can also be given access to review the different contracts that make up the capital master plan. Centralized visibility allows the School District to meet audit and compliance requirements, while demonstrating integrity of both processes and data.

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