Tackling Challenges Head On
Killeen ISD takes finance management to the next level with Frontline ERP.
Killeen Independent School District at a Glance:
- Killeen, Texas
- K-12 Enrollment
Sheila Ham, Director of Financial Services, has a long list of responsibilities — primarily keeping an eye on the bank balances and making sure funds are available for the district. She came to the district as a payroll coordinator with a background in accounting and payroll management in the business world. It was quite a learning curve to master payroll with four different pay cycles common to school districts.
“Whenever we created TRS files to upload in the system, we would have to correct errors, especially around TRS eligibility.”
When she stepped into her new position as Director of Financial Services, Sheila knew it would take time to learn the job. She needed financial and payroll software that could help her master new skills. One of Sheila’s responsibilities was to make sure anyone eligible to participate in the Texas Retirement System (TRS) is correctly documented in Frontline ERP. Financial reporting for TRS is incredibly demanding. There are so many variables that she and her staff spent a great deal of time correcting errors in files that had to be uploaded to the state.
Frontline Texas ERP proved to be a game changer.
Frontline Texas ERP proved to be a game changer. It had recently been implemented when Sheila moved into her new position. She found it to be the solution that helped her succeed. With Frontline’s help, Sheila has mastered the nuances of TRS reporting and a complex payroll system.
Recognizing the challenges districts had with the TRS system, Frontline created templates for users to eliminate those errors before files were uploaded. Districts can use built-in tools to create custom reports and avoid making manual adjustments knowing that Frontline Texas ERP will grab the correct data.
“Since Frontline made a change to the supplemental import template, we don’t have to correct before we build our files, and we have less corrections to make once we load the files.”
“In order to have teachers be productive and be happy, they have to have confidence that their pay is correct, and that they’re going to get paid on time.”
The success of any school district depends on teachers and the staff that supports them. Payroll makes up the largest chunk of Killeen’s budget — about 85%. Making sure everyone gets paid on time and correctly is a tremendous responsibility.
Sheila’s team runs frequent payroll trials to review, edit, and make corrections before the final payroll is generated as scheduled. How do they find errors? That seems like an enormous task for such a large district. Frontline ERP, affectionately called “FERP,” gives Sheila the confidence to know that all employees are paid correctly and on time. If an error keeps the payroll calculating correctly, the user can’t move on to finalize the paycheck until it has been corrected.
The KISD HR department has a substitute center dedicated to managing all substitutes and making sure they get paid correctly. It can be complicated to figure out eligibility for TRS based on the classification of each substitute and the position they are filling. After a TRS audit uncovered an error Killeen was making because of multiple classifications for substitute teachers, Frontline stepped in with program adjustments to prevent those errors. The updates to Frontline Texas ERP will generate warnings if there are errors, making them much easier to correct before the reports are submitted.
Anytime an employee wants to check their pay stubs or benefits, the data is easily accessible through the ERP portal. They can view or update their information from any computer or smartphone.
Killeen is a large district and still growing. They opened a new high school just before school started this year. Fortunately, Sheila and her team are up for the challenge.
Sheila said, “[Frontline ERP] is a user-friendly program. As we build new schools and add more staff, it hasn’t slowed us down. And we haven’t had to add additional staff.”
The go-to team
It’s not always easy to learn how to use new technology. It helps to have someone walk you through it. When Sheila first started using Frontline ERP, the support team was there to guide her. Over time, the KISD Information Services Team has gained enough experience using Frontline ERP to become the go-to resource. They can usually find answers to any questions Sheila has. If they need more assistance, Frontline is quick to respond to help requests. In addition, the online information library available through Frontline makes it easy to find instructional guides for users 24/7.
“Our payrolls have been very smooth sailing, and it’s rare that we have an error that keeps us from finalizing on time.”
Some of the most challenging issues have been with TRS reporting because there are so many details users need to be aware of. And as anyone who works in finance knows, the rules and regulations tend to shift from year to year. Frontline makes necessary program adjustments in advance and offers guidance on how to set up function codes and workflows, allowing KISD to stay current and maintain accurate records.
Frontline support doesn’t stop at the office door. They hold an annual conference in Texas for Frontline users across the state. Informative sessions are offered to share updates, demonstrate how to use new program features, or for Q&A to give users opportunities to ask questions and get live help. One of the nicest perks of attending the conference in person is the chance to see familiar Frontline faces.
The true strength of Frontline Texas ERP is in capturing information. Programming is baked in, not added after the fact. Because users can generate reports as needed, knowing they will be accurate, Sheila and the Killeen ISD Finance Team remain confident in their ability to live up to their reputation as careful and efficient users of taxpayers’ money.
About Frontline Education
Frontline Education is a leading provider of school administration software, connecting solutions for student and special programs, business operations and human capital management with powerful analytics to empower educators. Frontline partners with school systems to deliver tools, data and insights that support greater efficiency and productivity, enabling school leaders to spend more time and resources executing strategies that drive educator effectiveness, student success and district excellence.
Frontline’s broad portfolio includes solutions for proactive recruiting and hiring, absence and time management, professional growth, student information systems, special education, special programs, Medicaid reimbursement, school health management, inventory control and asset management, payroll, benefits and financial management, and analytics solutions that help district leaders tap into their data to make more informed decisions for the benefit of their students and communities. Over 10,000 clients representing millions of educators, administrators and support personnel have partnered with Frontline Education in their efforts to develop the next generation of learners.
Frontline Education corporate headquarters are in Malvern, PA, with offices in Roseville, CA; Salinas, CA; Andover, MA; Walled Lake, MI; Rockville Centre, NY; Williamsville, NY; Brecksville, OH and Austin, TX.
Learn more at www.FrontlineEducation.com