To remove a barrier to increased teacher participation in the program, Education should explore opportunities to expedite its payment process to school districts. One such opportunity would be to seek legislation authorizing Education to approve the annual certifications submitted by school districts instead of waiting for board approval, thus removing any payment delay caused by the need to wait for the next board meeting.
Education indicated that it continues to work with the board on expediting the program's reimbursement approval process. Although this process has remained the same since the audit took place in 2006, Education has reported its future plans to expedite reimbursement payments. Specifically, in fiscal year 2008-09, Education expects to change its program guidelines by requiring school districts to obtain SBE's approval to participate in the program at the beginning of the fiscal year. Given that program payments cannot occur until the board has approved a school district's participation in the program, Education expects this upfront approval by the board will eliminate some of the delays noted in the audit report. Further, Education also plans to implement an on-line payment request system that it expects will further reduce Education's reimbursement processing times. (See 2008-406, p. 139)
Subsequent to the original publication of this response, the state auditor considered this recommendation to be fully implemented.
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.