CEM Services Offered

story by Phil Andrews | posted on January 22nd, 2009

CSS is pleased to announce our new Compliance and Efficiency Management (CEM) services. These services have been specifically designed to help your school avoid the types of issues that often sidetrack or derail an otherwise successful charter school.

With nearly a decade of experience in the charter school sector both in Georgia and nationally, we have seen several charter schools fail or suffer serious set-backs because they were not prepared to deal with issues that they otherwise could have avoided or easily handled. The issues that damage charter schools usually do not result from a lack of student achievement. Rather they often involve issues such as using incorrect revenue or expense assumptions to create an annual or long term budget; Lack of a sufficient plan to deal with turnover on the board of directors; Insufficient marketing plans; or, unforeseen facilities issues.

Unfortunately, with volunteer governing boards, tight budgets, confusing regulations, and insufficient administrative funding, most charter schools are unable to adequately plan for these types of issues. As a result, they end up dealing with these issues reactively after they arise – and often when it is too late. Even if your school has the budget to hire adequate staff to keep track of all of the many operational issues charter schools face, finding someone who has experience dealing with the depth and breadth of the issues presented and is available for an affordable rate is another challenge altogether.

That is why CSS is offering these packages of CEM services. The purpose of the CEM services is to allow your school to plan for and effectively deal with these often unexpected operational issues. Better yet, because of our extensive experience and streamlined business plan, we are able to provide these services at a cost that is a fraction of what you would have to pay for a full or even part time staff member.
The following is a list of services that are included in our CEM packages:

• Funding Analysis.

CSS will two times a year calculate the actual amount of funding your school should be receiving pursuant to state law. We will compare that to the amount the authorizer is proposing or actually funding and will report any discrepancies to you along with the reasons for the discrepancy.

• Funding Negotiation.

If any discrepancies are discovered during Funding Analysis, CSS will negotiate with the proper authorities to get you the proper funding amount. [Note: If the Funding Analysis and Negotiation services are purchased separately (i.e. not part of a package), the fee for Funding negotiation will vary based on the amount of additional funding received. There is no additional fee for this service if it is purchased as part of the Complete or Limited Package.]

• Operations Management.

CSS will conduct an annual revenue projection each spring for the following school year using the most recent information and estimates available. This will allow you to use the most accurate and up to date information available in preparing a budget for the next school year. We will review your actual and projected expenses with your CFO and/or finance committee quarterly. We will conduct an annual program review and provide recommendations for how you can optimize your QBE funding while not compromising the Mission and Vision of your charter school. We will review FTE and CPI reports prior to submission to ensure they take advantage of all appropriate funding streams as well as the flexibility offered by the charter. We will attend at least two governing board meetings per year and will review all board meeting minutes to ensure operational efficiency and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

• Board Development.

We will work with the appropriate individual(s) and/or committees annually to assess the current make up of the Governing Board; Assess any upcoming vacancies; Create a strategy for finding strong members to fill any vacancies; and, Help you recruit potential members. In addition, we will work with you to create a long term strategic plan for dealing with board member attrition if you have not already created such a plan. We will review the long term governance plan with you annually and make adjustments as necessary.

• Compliance Checklist (one time fee).

CSS will work with the founders (in the case of schools not yet open) or the Governing Board and Principal to create a list of all legal, regulatory, and contractual obligations and deadlines specific to your school (the Compliance Checklist). This will include all obligations contained in your charter. Through this process we will assist you in deciding what specific person, position, or committee will be responsible for ensuring each obligation is met in a timely fashion and completed properly.

• Compliance Management.

We will review the original Compliance Checklist annually to make sure it is up to date with the latest laws, regulations, new contracts, and any charter amendments. We will set up a reminder system so that each person or group that is responsible for completing any item on the checklist has substantial time to prepare for and complete each task. We will review and/or assist each individual or group as needed to ensure all tasks are completed properly and on time. We will attend all relevant meetings of the Georgia State Board of Education, the Georgia General Assembly, and other committees or commissions as necessary to stay abreast of any actual or potential laws or regulations that could affect your charter school in its finances or operations. We will report to you monthly (or more often as appropriate) on any such meetings or events.

• Facilities Analysis/Grant.

CSS will review with you the facilities costs and needs for the upcoming school year. We will work with the Board, Principal, or other appropriate person/group to prioritize the needs. Based on the needs and priorities you establish we will write the State Facilities Grant application in accordance with the published requirements and with any funding preferences of the Georgia DOE.

• Authorizer Liaison.

CSS staff will serve as the primary liaison for your school with the local school system or Charter School Commission as appropriate as well as with the Georgia DOE and State Board of Education on all legal and compliance issues as well as any other issues requested by you.

The total cost of the included services if purchased individually is $28,700 plus a contingency fee of up to $15,000 for any additional funding received as a result of our funding analysis and negotiation. However, we are pleased to offer two annual packages at discounted rates. The cost of these services purchased as an annual package is:

Complete Package: $ 23,000 per year*

Limited Package** $ 17,000 per year*

*In addition to the annual rates above, a one time fee of $3,000 applies to each package for creating the initial Compliance Checklist.

**The Limited Package includes everything from the Complete Package except for our Authorizer Liaison services.

Payment plans are also flexible. You can pay for any of the individual services you need or, if you decide on the complete or limited package, you can purchase a full year’s worth of services and pay for them quarterly or monthly (on either a 10 or 12 month schedule).

If you have any questions about the CEM packages or any CSS services please contact us. We will be happy to discuss these services with you in more detail in person or over the phone.

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