School to switch to new finance system following state mandate
Milton Elementary and Middle School (courtesy MTSD)

In a mandate from the Vermont Legislature, Vermont public schools will adopt a unified chart of accounts by July 1, 2019 and make the switch from their current finance management programs to eFinancePlus, a PowerSchool program, by July 1, 2020.

For Milton, the changes pose a challenge due to a unique finance agreement between the town and school district. The two government bodies share an elected treasurer, and the school contracts with the town to perform its payroll and accounts payable services.

Operating on two different systems means their data will not be as easy to compare and interpret, finance director Jessica Morris said. She added the town does the district’s bank reconciliations, among other functions, outlined in a Jan. 29, 2018 agreement.

Both the town’s two finance employees, the district’s two finance employees and Morris use NEMRC to record their data. NEMRC is an accounting system defined by its “flexibility” and integration of software, according to its website.

“If someone is out unexpectedly or planned, we can cover seamlessly because the system is known to everyone,” Morris said.

The town will continue to use NEMRC and its current chart of accounts even as the school transitions to new systems, according to Morris. This means the town’s finance employees will have less opportunity to become comfortable with the school’s software and provide the same coverage, Morris said.

For the Vt. Agency of Education and the public, the changes are intended to improve the clarity and readability of state schools’ finances.

“There are some pretty huge benefits to having a statewide system in terms of our ability of being able to understand how we’re spending money to educate kids,” said Emily Byrne, the chief financial officer for the AOE.