Managing Region Finances
Each February, the state refunds 2.5 (2.5) percent of state dues from each local unit member in your region who is also a state member.
Article VIII, Section 9, of the ATPE State Bylaws states that:In order to receive a full rebate, each region shall:
- Prepare an annual financial statement and shall present said statement to the members of the region at the annual region meeting and to the ATPE Region Director; and
- Undergo a mandatory biennial financial review coordinated with the state association and present the results of the financial review to the members of the region at the annual region meeting.
The mandatory annual region treasurer’s report satisfies the requirement in Article VIII, Section 9(b).
Region financial records
- Financial records, such as bank statements and canceled checks, should be kept for seven years and then shredded.
- State tax returns should be kept for four years and then shredded.
- Federal tax returns should be kept indefinitely.
- Most regions will not have state or federal tax filings. If you have questions, please call the state office.
Financial oversight and fiscal responsibility
Use the Financial Reporting Workbook to help simplify bank reconciliation and the financial auditing process.
Your region’s executive committee should meet annually or when a new treasurer is elected to review the region’s finances. Appropriate oversight of your members’ dues dollars requires diligence and must involve all region officers.
Evaluate your answers to the following questions to determine if your region has the appropriate financial safeguards in place. If the region treasurer cannot provide the necessary records, or if the answers to these questions are unsatisfactory, contact the ATPE state office for guidance.
- Does your region and/or the executive officers meet at the beginning of the fiscal year to prepare a budget?
- Does your region and/or the executive officers receive periodic (at least once a year) treasurer’s reports that show receipts, disbursements and bank account balances?
- Are bank statements available for review at financial report meetings?
- Is the region bank account reconciled monthly, and is the reconciliation available for review?
- Were deposits from major sources of revenue (state dues rebates, region dues, etc.) made?
- Were all disbursements properly authorized? Do they appropriately reflect the region’s activities?
- Were checks written to the appropriate people? (Review the region checkbook and, if available, canceled checks.)
- Were any checks written to “cash”? This is a potential red flag.
- Are the signatures on the checks only those of the authorized signatories? Are those your signatures?
- If canceled checks are available for review: Are checks endorsed by the same people or businesses to which they were written?
- Is documentation of expenditures (i.e., receipts and travel vouchers) available for review? Do receipts reflect the “who, what, and why” of purchases?
- Is expenditure reasonable for the activity (e.g., meals are within a per-person amount, no alcohol, etc.)?
Income tax returns
The IRS requires that all tax-exempt organizations that normally receive more than $50,000 annually in gross receipts* file Form 990 or 990EZ (Return of Organizations Exempt from Income Tax). As a benefit, ATPE will complete Form 990 for you, assuming that your gross receipts* normally exceed $50,000 annually. These returns are due to the IRS by December 15 of each year unless otherwise extended. The ATPE state office will automatically electronically file for all regions with receipts of less than $50,000 per year.
If your organization has a gross income of $1,000 or more from a business unrelated to the organization’s tax-exempt purpose, you might be required to file other forms. Please call ATPE Accounting at (800) 777-ATPE for additional information.
*Gross receipts should not include any state dues. Interest earned on the state dues held by your organization should be included in gross receipts.
Suggested uses of region fundsEach region should allocate its financial resources in order to perpetuate its success and growth. Use this list of budget items (in order of priority) to plan your region budget.
- Membership recruitment: Activities associated with supporting and preparing local units to engage in the fall membership campaign, including purchase of promo items, new-teacher orientation preparation, and/or assistance, and print-and-handling costs for campaign materials.
- State and region event attendance: Costs of region officers attending and helping local units to attend the ATPE Summit, ATPE at the Capitol, etc.
- Local unit leader support: Awards, luncheons, and gifts used to recognize and reward volunteer leaders’ efforts.
- General operations: Purchase of leader supplies and meeting materials, cost of region communications, etc. Your region should have an agreed-upon policy for handling operational expenses such as reimbursements to region officers for travel to region meetings.
- DonorsChoose.org: If your members have posted projects on donorschoose.org, use your funds to support them.
- Advocacy: Interaction with state legislators, political involvement training sessions and candidate forums, and promotion of contributions to ATPE-PAC.
Other uses of region funds
- Scholarships: Scholarships can be tricky business. When run properly, they provide publicity to ATPE and generate goodwill for the region and association. When improperly managed, they make region business susceptible to ambiguous IRS guidelines and therefore scrutiny. For this reason, ATPE discourages scholarships that inure benefits to either members or leaders for any reason. All scholarship programs must be reviewed and approved by the ATPE state office prior to implementation.
- Reserve: Year-end balances should be sufficient to fund activities until next year’s revenue is received; excessive region balances are discouraged.
Funds from deactivated local units are available to regions to help fund initiatives that promote ATPE member recruitment and retention and support leader training. Funds are not intended to be used for costs associated with attending the ATPE Summit or ATPE at the Capitol, or for awards, grants, or scholarships. Please note, regions with an excessive fund balance will not be able to apply for deactivated local unit funds until their excessive fund balance is spent down.
Regions can apply for these funds to assist the region itself and/or a local unit within the region.
How do regions use this money?
- A region paid for an exhibit table at a technology conference which attracted 93 school districts.
- A region helped a local unit with their recruiting efforts by hosting a picnic at a minor league baseball team game.
- A region assisted a local unit by buying books on diversity.
- A region paid the entry fee for a homecoming parade and fair.