Learn effective strategies for the distribution of public funds and navigating the complexities of allowable spending.
Getting public funds into the hands of those they are intended to serve is no quick journey. Any public servant can attest that the road from policy to implementation often leaves funds gridlocked somewhere in the middle with no directions on allowable spending.
Roadblocks When Distributing Public Funds for Learning Loss
One example emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic with the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) Program. Meant to provide billions of public fund dollars to support non-public schools and students, the program lacked clear guidelines around allowable spending. Without clear directions on what could be purchased with the funds, many administrators struggled to deliver the funds to those who needed them most.
The implementation challenges exposed the roadblocks between policy and action. Not to mention the program administrators often caught in the middle of navigating the distribution of public funds while maintaining compliance and balancing public expectations.
The reasons for roadblocks can be numerous, but there are some simple directions public leaders and program administrators can follow for a smoother ride. Keep reading for four tips ClassWallet’s EANS Program Manager learned as he worked with state agencies and non-public school leaders to distribute their funds.
Taking Public Funds from Policy to Implementation
Matt Marsiglia is the EANS Program Manager at ClassWallet, where he supports the implementation of the Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools (EANS) program with multiple state education agencies. Functioning as the department lead for ClassWallet, he works with the nonpublic school community, state education agency clients and service provider vendors to ensure agencies achieve maximum impact of the funds with complete fiduciary oversight.
Hi, I’m Matt. As ClassWallet’s EANS Program Manager, I saw first-hand the difficulties state agencies and school leaders faced when implementing this program.
When onboarding them to our digital wallet platform, I noticed an opportunity to tap into their shared experience and knowledge. Each program administrator shared the sense of urgency to get the funds to students, but without a clear roadmap of what was allowable spending they were left feeling stuck.
ClassWallet brought together state leaders, as well as product vendors and service providers who could accept the funds through our platform for regular discussions and informative webinars.
State leaders shared questions, concerns, and solutions to the implementation roadblocks they had in common. Vendors also highlighted best practices and discussed difficulties other partnering organizations were facing. Together, they all brainstormed solutions and found a path forward.
The end result? The funds from the program got to the right people for the right purpose.
From our discussions, enjoy four tips to overcome roadblocks in public fund distribution and program implementation.
Create a plan to monitor allowable spending of public funds.
You can’t get far without a map! Before spending any funds, map out how you will monitor the distribution of funds and how you will communicate program rules and regulations to recipients.
The most successful states to spend down their EANS funds prepared in-depth monitoring plans. These included school site visits, 1-on-1 virtual meetings, and routine webinars providing clear guidance on effective usage of the funds.
Without a monitoring plan, constituents are left on their own. They have to browse state landing pages and read through pages of federal guidelines to navigate the complex spending rules.
We connected in our group discussions to understand common questions and share recommendations for making useful allowable spending guides and monitoring plans.
Collaborate with other state program administrators to establish rules and improve public fund distribution.
Knowledge is power and it’s best when shared! Through our discussions and webinars, state leaders collaborated to understand the overarching federal guidelines.
From there, they explored how to establish federally compliant rules that were appropriate for their states (under EANS, states had some decision making power to determine what was and wasn’t allowable spending).
As a result of sharing experiences, administrators who had previously rejected some requests later decided to accept them.
Consider a digital platform and automated documentation for improved accuracy and efficiency in reporting use of public funds.
Put the manual reporting on cruise control so you can steer towards important goals!
EANS program administrators reported improved accuracy and efficiency with the use of a third-party platform, like ClassWallet.
Each June, states had to fill out template reports that documented how much money was bound to each vendor. With ClassWallet’s reporting functionality, program admins could easily view how money was being spent and export these reports to share with others.
Audit-proof your program with ClassWallet
In case of a federal audit, finding proof of purchases, receipts and spend information is a daunting task without a digital platform to organize it for you.
We keep track of all documents related to program spending. Program administrators can always access constituents quotes, invoices, and contracts. Local Education Agency has questions? We can provide specific data at their request.
You can breathe deep knowing all your public funds and allowable spending data is secure with ClassWallet’s digital platform.
Collaborative Guidance Helps Public Fund Distribution
Through a collaborative process, we worked together as problem solvers and demonstrated government agencies can swiftly move from policy to distribution.
And the best part? They maintained complete compliance and control. Looking forward, let’s normalize cross-state collaboration to empower public and private leaders to combine their collective wisdom in addressing issues their constituents face.