I was recently sitting in a meeting with a district and grant auditors. It was nothing out of the ordinary, just routine monitoring. However, one little comment by the auditors made me realize I had to get some information out to you, the LYS reader and leader.
The auditor said, “Expect a lot more monitoring if you are using stimulus money. And by more, that could very easily mean multiple on-site visits each year, for up to two or three years after the funds have been used.”
Now that thought is enough to petrify anyone who has never dealt with auditors, and reason to pause for those of us who have. But don’t panic. I have some rules to follow that will solve 99% of audit issues and concerns. So without further ado, here are “Sean’s Grant Rules to Live By.” Did you hear the trumpets?
1) On all grant documents and reports, make sure you put numbers and letters in all the places numbers and letters are supposed to be. Blank spaces invite questions.
2) Believe in what you are doing. Hedging your bet or appearing unsure and wishy-washy, is like blood in the water for auditors.
3) Know why you are doing it. Make your case and be confident. And “it sounded like a good idea and other districts are doing it,” is not a case.
4) Build capacity. The grant will go away. Work to make your people more effective and efficient. If you hire people and then let them go, you aren’t better off. If you plan to keep the people after the grant is gone, then you are saying that you could hire them now out of local funds, you just don’t want to.
5) Get results. Real results, that are tied to student performance. Just training people without performance accountability is a waste of time and money.
6) Keep good records. I’ve have friends that have suffered huge career setbacks because a staffer they were responsible for was a shoddy record keeper.
7) Spend the money. In the world of grants, not spending the money is actually worse than not getting the results. Be frugal with the local funds.
Follow these rules and if you do get audited and something is questioned, you will at least be in a defendable position.
Think. Work. Achieve.