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A Look at Financial Accountability for Student Activities in Arizona Schools

Student activities for Arizona School Districts have many requirements, that by law, each school should be aware of before processing student activity transactions. It is important that school districts understand what constitutes a student activity, such as a club, organization, school play, or other student entertainment raised through the efforts of students at the District with District governing board approval. It is important to know that there are both receipting requirements and disbursement requirements. It is also important to know that those processing these transactions should have strong segregation of duties among the different individuals. No one person should have both access to the checks, cash or money and access to authorize the transaction or record the transactions and reconcile to the bank. Those duties need to all be segregated.

One Arizona specific requirement of Student Activities transactions is to have your School’s Governing Board approve what is called a Student Activities Treasurer, and possibly an Assistant Student Activities Treasurer. You also need to have one of those individuals sign each check, and a second signor that is authorized by the Governing Board. That essentially means two check signors authorized by your governing board to sign each check, one of which must be the Student Activities Treasurer or the Assistant Treasurer. We would suggest having both those individuals sign the check to keep things easy for you and your Board. Just make sure both those individuals are segregated from drafting and printing the checks, they don’t have access to the checks (other than to sign them), and they are not recording or reconciling those transactions to the bank. This will ensure good segregation of duties. If you want to know more about this, you can review A.R.S. §15-1122 or the Uniform System of Financial Records (USFR) provided by the Arizona State Auditor General’s Office.

By Brian Hemmerle, CPA, CFE