The Halton District School Board recognizes that School Councils raise funds to supplement student programs and for specific student activities. Financial reports on these funds must be in accordance with Public Sector Accounting Board standards and consolidated in the Board’s annual financial statements.
The Board is required to ensure that School Council funds are properly administered and transactions are accurately recorded.
These obligations are met by:
- Administrative guidelines for the collection, recording and control of student funds,
- Annual financial reporting requirements for each fund, and
- Financial review of funds by central Board staff.
HDSB Administrative Policies and Procedures
School councils shall adhere to the following:
Types of Funds
School Council Funds
Refers to funds raised by members of the School Council to benefit students in the school. Revenue and expenses are from many different sources including fundraising and donations. Responsibility for administration of these funds rests with the Principal. Signing authority is the Principal, Vice Principal or the Senior Secretary (elementary) or Supervisor – School Business (secondary). The Chair, Co-Chair or Treasurer of the School Council signs the Request for Funds Form (RFF) to provide authorization of the expense. These funds are governed by the Education Act and Board Policies and Procedures.. A monthly activity report and bank reconciliation must be submitted to the Principal for review. An annual report and bank reconciliation must be submitted to Business Services for the year ending July 31. Periodically these reports are reviewed by Business Services or internal audit and annually by the Board’s external auditors. These funds are consolidated with the Board’s audited financial statements.
Home and School Funds
Refers to funds belonging to a Home and School Association. Revenue and expenses are from membership fees, fundraising, donations, parent education resources, leadership workshops & training, liability insurance and conferences. Signing authority is determined by the Constitution and Bylaws of the Association in keeping with guidelines set by the Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations Inc., and will include any 2 of the President, Vice-President, Secretary or Treasurer. Only members may hold signing authority. Unused funds roll forward from one year to the next. These funds are governed by the O.F.H.S.A. and donor requests in accordance with the bylaws of the Federation, the Corporations Act of Ontario and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Annual financial statements for the year ending August 31st are sent to the Home and School Council. Financial statements are verified, not audited. These funds are not included in the Board’s financial statements.
The Treasurer is required to have a criminal background check from the Halton Regional Police Service prior to taking on any duties as the Treasurer. Once the criminal background check is on file at the school, an Annual Offence Declaration must be completed for subsequent years.
The Treasurer will work with the Senior Secretary or Supervisor – School Business to provide oversight over the School Council’s financial records. The records will be maintained at the school and retained with the school’s records.
The term for the Treasurer is limited to a maximum of three consecutive years. An individual may only be the Treasurer of one school at a time.
School Council’s Budget
It is recommended that the School Council prepare an annual budget. The Treasurer should ensure an expenditure is within budget limits prior to authorizing a cheque. Surplus funds not specifically earmarked should be applied to other school priorities as identified in the school’s improvement plan.
There is no expectation or requirement for School Councils to host a staff appreciation event. Should a council choose to hold a staff appreciation event, councils are encouraged to make these events a potluck whenever possible. We recognize that many parents are busy or unable to contribute to a potluck and may wish to provide a monetary donation instead. The following guidelines apply:
- Staff Appreciation must not include the purchase of any gift.
- As per the Travel and Expense administrative procedure gifts for staff are not acceptable at any time (including retirements, life events, staff appreciation).
- The Senior Secretary or Treasurer should create a Staff Appreciation subcategory under the School Council Umbrella in School Cash Accounting.
- The Staff Appreciation category cannot be in a deficit; funds from other categories cannot be transferred to the Staff Appreciation category.
- School Council must communicate that the funds raised will be used for Staff Appreciation. Funds raised in another manner may not be used for Staff Appreciation.
- The communication should include that online payments are encouraged (it must be available on School Cash Online).
In the School Cash Accounting System, categories are separated between School Council funds and other school generated funds. As such, schools should only have one school bank account.
The Senior Secretary (elementary) or Supervisor – School Business (secondary) will perform the record keeping and provide monthly School Council financial reports for presentation at School Council meetings. The bank reconciliation is also performed by the Senior Secretary (elementary) or Supervisor – School Business (secondary). The School Council Chair or Treasurer should sign the RFF (Request for Funds) form for council expenditures.
The financial records shall be kept with the schools records. Records of cheques, deposits or banking transactions will be available to the School Council Chair or Treasurer upon request.
School Councils must never borrow or loan funds.
Investments outside of the school’s bank account are not recommended. Please contact the Manager of Accounting – School Financial Services for approval prior to making any investment decisions, regardless of the amount being invested. Board approved investments must be in accordance with O. Reg 471/97 of the Education Act.
Deposited cheques returned by the bank due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or due to a bank account being closed should be recorded in School Cash Accounting. The Treasurer, in consultation with the Senior Secretary (elementary) or Supervisor – School Business (secondary) should send a letter and a copy of the cheque to the individual who wrote the cheque. The letter should ask for a replacement cheque within a certain number of days plus reimbursement for any banking charges incurred by the school.
If NSF cheques from a particular individual are a recurring problem, future payments from that individual should be accepted only online, or if the cheque is certified or payment is made by cash or money order.
If an individual does not replace a NSF cheque, the delivery of goods or services to be provided to the individual should be cancelled. If the individual has received the goods or services, repeated letters asking for the funds, discuss with school Principal.
Theft of funds is covered by the Board’s insurance policy as long as the funds are in the school in a locked safe. Funds must be counted and documentation retained on the amount(s) counted, with such documentation retained outside of the safe should a theft from the safe occur. Parents and Staff may not take School Council funds home as these funds would not covered by the Board’s insurance policy. Insurance claims are subject to a $500 deductible.
If an insurance claim is to be made, the police must be notified of the loss. The School Council will need to provide backup documentation to support the amount taken; therefore, the School Council’s records, (e.g. School Activities Receipts (SAR) forms) should be kept separate from the funds collected. To file a claim, please contact the Manager of Purchasing.
HDSB Board Forms
The following forms should be accessed from the Board’s internal website by the school principal or designate:
- School Activities Receipts Form
- Request for Funds Form
- Request for School Council Funds Form
- Backup Required for SGF & SCF Deposits
- Board Standard Category Structure for SGF & SCF
Contacts for Further Information
Purchasing Procedures, Insurance:
Manager of Purchasing & Administration
All other Financial Policies and Procedures
Manager of Accounting – School Financial Services
Supervisor of School Financial Services, or
Senior Analyst – School Finance