Welcome! Read the latest issue of PROGRESS, featuring inclusive programming in Virginia. Read PROGRESS

Program Managers’ Corner: FY 2019 Financial Management FAQs

by Virginia Department of Education Staff

Purchases made with federal and state funds must be allowable, reasonable, and necessary to the activities of the adult education program. This article contains frequently asked questions from the field and answers with key considerations as you complete spending for the current fiscal year and begin constructing budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. For further clarification, contact the Adult Education Coordinator or the Grants Manager for your specific grant at OAEL@doe.virginia.gov.

What is the process to amend a budget within and between OMEGA object codes? (OMEGA, or the Online Management of Education Grant Awards, is the web-based financial grant management system operated by the Virginia Department of Education. See the most recent object code classifications.)

Approval is required for all budget amendments. The process to amend a budget within an object code is to send an email to both the Adult Education Coordinator and the Grants Manager for the specific federal or state grant in question stating a justification for the budget amendment in order to receive a written approval. The process to amend funds between object codes is to request a budget transfer through the OMEGA system. For paper reimbursements, contact the Grants Manager for the specific federal or state grant for approval. You may contact the state office to discuss budget transfers in advance of submitting the request.

When can professional development (PD) be charged to Instructional funds and when can PD be charged to Administrative funds?

All professional development must be charged to Administrative funds except for activities associated with professional learning communities (PLCs). PLCs should be focused on understanding, problem solving, and planning for local instruction and service delivery, and should be charged to Instructional funds. When staff time or travel is used in support of attendance at local, state, or national meetings and conferences, expenses should be listed as PD and charged to Administrative funds. Please refer to Director’s Memo 003-17.

Can programs choose to charge staff time for PLCs to Administrative funds?

Yes, this would be allowable.

Should the cost of classroom space be submitted for reimbursement under object code 3000 or object code 4000?

Payment for classroom space should be reimbursed according to the agreement held between the two parties. If the fiscal agent is a community college and the college is billing itself for an internal cost, it would be billed under object code 4000. If the space is rented from an outside entity, the cost would be billed under object code 3000.

Should Administrative or Instructional funds be used to pay for classroom rental space?

Expenses for rental spaces used for student services should be charged to Instruction-al funds.

Where do we find per diem rates?

Use the calculator at this link for lodging and per diem rates; type in your state and city or zip code to find local rates.

What is the minimum number of miles from an employee’s base point to an event site that determines whether a person can be reimbursed for lodging and per diem?

Lodging and per diem may be reimbursed when an individual is traveling overnight on official business outside his or her official station. The location of the hotel or other facility that will provide lodging for the event or conference must be 25 or more miles from the employee’s designated base point (i.e., outside the employee’s official station).

NOTE: If an employee does not stay overnight, per diem cannot be requested even if the event is outside his or her official station. See CAPP Topic 20335 – Cardinal: State Travel Regulations.

When attending a conference or a one-day event within an employee’s official station (not in travel status), can registration (if applicable) and costs for meals and travel be reimbursed?

Registration is an allowable expense because the employee is on official business. A receipt for registration fees must be provided. Generally, meal expenses must involve an overnight stay to qualify for reimbursement. However, individuals who are not in travel status (outside official station) are eligible for meal reimbursement if they participate in a business meal. This meal reimbursement must meet the following criteria: 1) the meal occurs while the individual is on official business and involves substantive and bona fide business discussion, 2) prior approval has been received from the Adult Education Coordinator, and 3) reimbursement is for the actual expense up to the amount shown for the applicable meal in the M&IE Rate Table, excluding the incidental allowance, and includes the original, itemized receipt. An adult education program can request prior approval to submit a reimbursement request for a business meal if an agenda can be submitted to the Adult Education Coordinator that clearly states that it is a working meal. If the agenda says “Lunch on Your Own” or follows the conclusion of the meeting or conference, then a reimbursement would not be allowable.

Travel can be reimbursed only for the miles exceeding the number of commuter miles traveled daily.

Are adult education programs allowed to send representatives to conferences outside of the state?

This is allowable if prior approval is received from the Adult Education Coordinator.

Are Internet service and hotspots allowable?

Yes, Internet service and mobile hotspots are allowable costs that can be billed as telecommunication costs under OMEGA object code 5000.

Can hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes be purchased for classroom use?

Yes, these classroom supplies are allowable in situations with shared equipment (such as laptops or headphones), but they cannot be purchased as general office supplies.

Is there an annual deadline to purchase technology?

There is not a state-imposed deadline, but many fiscal agents have a process for technology purchases which imposes internal deadlines, so be sure to check with your fiscal agent. Also, consider the timeline for ordering, receiving, and paying for the purchase in terms of reimbursement request deadlines.

What is the last day in this fiscal year to submit a reimbursement request for state and federal funds?

The last day to submit a reimbursement request for state funds in both OMEGA and on paper is May 15, 2019, and the last day to submit a reimbursement request for federal funds is July 17, 2019. Reimbursement requests must be submitted by a level three approver by these dates.

Can federal funds be used to pay for assessments leading to certification and/or certificates?

The purchase of credential assessments is not allowable with federal dollars, state or local dollars used as match, or program income. The purchase of credential assessments and certificates is allowable with PluggedInVA and Race to GED® funds. See Director’s Memo 006-18 on the non-allowable use of federal funds for credential assessments (Training Category narrative). Always refer to the federal Uniform Guidance UG 2 CFR Sec 200 Subpart E or the state office to check allowable and unallowable costs for your program.

This article was prepared by the staff of the Virginia Department of Educations’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education.