Too often the complexities of school district procurement processes compel teachers to pay out of pocket for necessary supplies. To combat this trend, Chicago Publics Schools (CPS) has come up with a plan to ensure teachers have the tools they need. According to Article 7-6 of the Chicago Teachers Union contract, “Each Fiscal Year, the BOARD shall appropriate sufficient funds to each school or unit to reimburse teachers, counselors, clinicians and speech-language paraeducators up to $250.00 per employee for instructional supplies and materials, classroom library books and therapeutic materials purchased by them for student instruction and support.” CPS will utilize EqualLevel’s MyFunds software to help manage supplemental funds accounts for teachers, including tracking spending and expediting reimbursements.
MyFunds is an optional feature of CPS’s existing procure-to-pay platform, EqualLevel. With MyFunds, each educator will have access to their own individual, pre-paid account. They will be able to make purchases within the district’s existing supplier marketplace or purchase outside of the marketplace and submit reimbursement requests. The mobile-friendly platform can route reimbursement requests and accompanying receipts to administrators for approval. Once approved, reimbursements will be deposited directly into instructors’ bank accounts.
Shortening the District’s Supplemental Fund Cycle
“We will have access to accurate, up-to-date spend data on transactions occurring both inside and outside of our online marketplace, allowing funds to be distributed responsibly,” said Charles Mayfield, CPS’s Interim COO. “The district will also have the ability to track line-item spend down to the individual shopper.” CPS believes that the automation provided by the new platform, coupled with its transparency, will shorten the district’s supplemental fund cycle.
The district is hopeful that the efficiency of the program will eliminate the need for educators to purchase time-sensitive supplies from costlier brick and mortar stores, and instead encourage them to order via approved suppliers at a significant savings. Nevertheless, if purchases outside of the marketplace are required, instructors will be reimbursed in a timely manner. Orville Bailey, EqualLevel’s CEO, said of CPS’s new platform, “By marrying policy with technology, Chicago Public Schools has made leaps and bounds when it comes to simplifying procurement and providing educators with the resources they need.”
Click here for more information about EqualLevel’s MyFunds software.