The mission of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team is to help California’s local educational agencies fulfill their financial and management responsibilities by providing fiscal advice, management assistance, training and other related school business services. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office exists as the administrative and fiscal agent for FCMAT which currently operates within the context of several areas of the California Education Code, primarily those sections having to do with AB 1200 and AB 2756 oversight (EC 42127.1-.8, EC 41326, EC 41327). FCMAT reports to a board of directors comprised of one county superintendent and one district superintendent from each of the state’s 11 service regions. A representative of the California Department of Education also is on the board. Assembly Bill 1200 (AB1200) created FCMAT in 1991. The team can assist county offices of education in understanding their fiscal monitoring duties as required by AB1200, sometimes suggesting specific methods of carrying out the oversight responsibilities. FCMAT also provides management studies for school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and community colleges that request them. FCMAT coordinates statewide professional development efforts for school business officials. For more information on any of these services, keep browsing through the FCMAT Web pages or call 661-636-4611.
The Role of FCMAT
Those who contributed to the formation of AB1200 recognized that expanding the responsibility and authority of monitoring agencies was not enough. A statewide resource focusing on fiscal and management guidance was needed to assist monitoring agencies in the performance of their tasks and to assist educational agencies that request help in school business management and related areas. Therefore, AB1200 called for the creation of a Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). The mission of FCMAT is to help local educational agencies fulfill their financial and management responsibilities by providing expedient fiscal advice, management assistance, training and other related school business services. This can occur under several different circumstances. For example, if a county office reviews and disapproves a school district’s annual budget, that county office may call upon FCMAT to examine the district’s financial records, develop an approvable budget and/or provide other operational recommendations that will ensure fiscal stability. In addition, FCMAT can respond directly at the request of a school district or county office that may seek advice to improve management practices, business policies and procedures or organizational structure. The state, in its monitoring role, also could ask for FCMAT’s assistance.
How FCMAT Was Established
AB1200 specified that one county office of education would be selected to administer the team. In the spring of 1992, all county offices of education were notified of the opportunity to apply to be the administrative agent for FCMAT. The selection, as required by law, was made by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Secretary of Child Development and Education. The office of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools was selected to administer FCMAT and signed a contract with the governor’s office to administer the team in June, 1992. Overseeing the establishment of policies for the new unit is the FCMAT Board of Directors. The board is comprised of one county superintendent and one district superintendent from each of the state’s 11 service regions, the Chancellor of the Community College or his or her designee, and one member of a community college district governing board chosen by the chancellor. A representative of the California Department of Education also is on the board. The board meets quarterly to set policies and billable rates ($500 per consultant per day plus expenses) and to monitor FCMAT’s progress.
What FCMAT Has Done To Date As Of This Writing (09/19/06)
FCMAT has contracted to assist more than 600 local education agencies, including school districts and county offices of education. Some of these local educational agencies were experiencing severe fiscal crises that took years to develop. Some made direct requests to FCMAT for assistance with management or organizational issues. Through special communications and by making presentations on FCMAT services throughout the state, the team has called attention to the need to comply with AB1200 and has educated school business officials about its ramifications. The team has established this web site and a free electronic bulletin board system to provide information and resources (including state budget development software) that will assist all public school agencies statewide. Finally, FCMAT is working with public and private organizations to develop training programs for school business officials statewide.