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Rekindling Connections Between HR and Finance in Schools: Position Management

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Making sure that your people are being paid the right amount, consistently and on time is among the most critical responsibilities of a school business office. An unintended consequence in many districts, however, is that Finance and Payroll tend to be an island instead of working alongside Human Resources.

Those siloes often result in redundant data across HR and Payroll. It also leaves many Human Resources professionals trying to make finance-driven processes work for their purposes too. That might get you most of the way there… but it all starts to fall apart once team members resort to supplemental spreadsheets or manual paper-driven processes to track peripheral (but critical) parts of the HR function.

Any of this sound familiar?

One of the ways that schools are rekindling the connections between HR and Finance is to implement a comprehensive position management plan.

How Does Position Management Connect HR and Finance?

Position management and control in schools is more than managing the actual people staffing your schools. It requires attention and detail to be dedicated at the position level, not the person. You identify critical information that will be associated to that unique position, and that information follows that position code no matter which human is filling it at any given time.

Let’s look at an example.

You start with a position category like “Professionals: Instruction”; this encompasses all your instructional positions across your district. Let’s say you have 2,000 possible instructional positions that are categorized as “Professionals: Instruction,” then within you have sub-categories like English, Math, and Science Instruction or First, Second, Third Grade; whichever makes the most sense for your organization.

Beyond assignment details, like subject-matter and/or grade-level, in a position management plan you’ll also associate the following information at the position level:

  • Pay structure
    • Steps
    • Stipends
    • Grade
    • Cycle
    • Supplemental
  • Access to data
  • Reporting
  • Security permissions
  • And more

Without this type of plan, districts are often struggling to keep up with the unique designations for the array of position types in a school district. People are being hired in and out of positions and pieces can get missed during a manual/paper-driven hiring and onboarding process. When the errors are buried in the details of complex information without immediately recognizable consequences they can go unnoticed. Worse yet, this could present non-compliance issues with security and access to information. This results in timely, and often costly, measures to rectify missteps with error-prone processes.

Once all this information is designated at each category and position, it’s clear and concise what happens as personnel come in and out of your schools. If it’s so beneficial, then why are so many school districts struggling?


Well, imagine tracking all that intricate information across grades K-12 for 2,000 educators with varying years of experience and credentials. Sure, identifying broad strokes of common permissions for like positions is one thing, but as they say, the devil’s in the details. If you’re managing critical information like pay structures and security permissions on spreadsheets or on paper, it becomes almost impossible to scale this process.

That’s why so many school districts are relying on human resource management software, where HR and Finance are connected through embedded vacancy/approval conditional workflows configured specifically for the needs of K-12 schools.

“Because it’s all in one piece, it has allowed us to make good use of taxpayer money as it relates to employees – we can make sure that they spend the fruit of their work in doing what’s right for onboarding.” Rick Rodriguez – Assistant Superintendent of HR, Lubbock ISD

In case you’d like to read the second installment of this series, you can check it out here:

Rekindling Connections Between HR and Finance in Schools: Funding Distribution