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Debra Jacoby

Debra Jacoby, CPA
Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer  / Biography

The Finance Division is actually divided into several departments. These departments include Accounting, Payroll, Treasury, Financial Reporting, Federal Programs, and Human Resources, as well as the Adult Education program and Student Data and Assessment.

The Finance Division develops and monitors the district’s budget, classifying revenues and expenditures correctly, and preparing all financial reports and statements. Staff also coordinate the annual audit and maintain compliance with all state and federal regulations and reports pertaining to the fiscal operations of the district.

Cynthia Solomon

Cynthia Solomon
Senior Executive Director
of Human Resources / Biography
Jackie White

Jackie White
Senior Executive Director
of Federal Programs / Biography
Gail Easterling

Gail Easterling, CPA
Director of Accounting / Biography

Cathy Smart

Cathy Smart, CPA
Director of Financial Reporting /Treasury / Biography

Christine Bunyard

Christine Bunyard,
Director of Payroll / Biography

The district’s finances are classified within several funds, including the General Fund, Building Fund, Child Nutrition Fund, the debt service fund, and Bond Funds. The largest of these, the General Fund, is used to pay salaries of teaching and support staff members, purchase classroom supplies and textbooks, and utility and insurance costs. On average, salaries and benefits make up more than 80 percent of general fund expenditures.

The Human Resources department manages employee relations and benefits.. Pupil Accounting coordinates enrollment and manages student statistics, working closely with Teaching and Learning.

Union SchoolsBudgets

Economic Condition and Outlook

Union Public Schools is located within the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a seven-county area whose population exceeds 946,962 or 25 percent of the population of the state of Oklahoma. The Tulsa Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce reports Tulsa’s major industries as aerospace; transportation, distribution and logistics; electrical equipment manufacturing and aviation; and health care. The Chamber estimates the value of all goods and services produced in the Tulsa MSA as $42.9 billion, or 30.7 percent of the Oklahoma economy.

In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Tulsa eighth among the largest U.S. cities for growth in manufacturing jobs. Due to a stronger energy sector, the Tulsa economy grew faster than the U.S. in 2012 in both employment and in the production of goods and services. Tulsa continues to be a prime location for employers looking to relocate or expand due to a low cost of doing business at 15 percent below the U.S. average; a skilled and reliable workforce; and a friendly community in which to live and work. According to the Tulsa Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, employment grew 2.5 percent in 2012 and prospects for 2013 are positive as businesses continue to relocate to Tulsa and existing businesses add additional jobs.

Many publications have praised the Tulsa MSA for strong economic rankings, including:

  • #8 – “Ten Best Cities to Find a Job” – The Fiscal Times
  • #10 - “American Cities of the Future” – fDi Magazine, a global investment publication
  • Top 10 – “City in Which To Retire” – AARP
  • Top 10 – “10 Best Cities for Newlyweds to Live and Work In – Forbes
  • #47 – “Best Places for Business and Careers” – Forbes
  • Top 50 - “Best Places to Live” - Business Week
  • Top 100 “Best Places to Live” - CNNMoney Top 100 Cities – Relocate America

The area’s economy has continued to remain strong in the national and international financial markets. The Office of the State Treasurer maintains reports that the state ended fiscal year 2013 with more than 2 percent higher revenues than the prior year. The increase is attributed to various economic indicators such as gross income tax (up 7 percent), motor vehicle tax, gross production tax (up 6.2 percent), and sales tax (up 4.1 percent). The Tulsa housing market has not been as negatively affected by the mortgage/housing crisis compared to the rest of the country. reported that the median home sales price increased 11.1 percent compared to the same period one year ago.

The unemployment rate in the Tulsa MSA was 6.7 percent in 2011, and then decreased to a 2012 level of 6.1 percent, with a 2013 rate of 5.9 percent, 1.8 percent below the U.S. average. The Tulsa Chamber projects the unemployment rate will continue to decrease through 2017 as the economy improves in Oklahoma.

Union Public Schools contributes to Tulsa’s workplace initiatives by offering community programs for both adults and children such as:

  • Adult Basic Education – classes for adults who need basic instruction in reading, writing, math, and lifeskills,
  • Workplace Education – links education goals to the employer’s desire for high performance work and product quality,
  • GED Preparation – instruction to prepare adults to take the Tests of General Educational Development (GED),
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) – instruction to non-English-speaking adults to help them be productive citizens of our community. 

The Adult Education program exceeded its goal of 3,000 students in 2013 by serving more than 3,200 students. Due to program expansion that includes six Northeastern Oklahoma counties and 50 classes, the program continued phenomnal growth in 2014. In addition to helping many adults, the program has formed many relationships with Tulsa area programs including:

  • Asbury Learning Center
  • Children’s Aid Society - The Carrera Program
  • Community Action Project (CAP)
  • Early Childhood Collaborative of Oklahoma (ECCO)
  • GRACE Community Services
  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma
  • Green Country Event Center
  • Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League
  • Northeastern State University
  • South Tulsa Community House
  • Tulsa Community College
  • Tulsa Technology Center
  • Workforce Muskogee and Workforce Tulsa

Union SchoolsUnion Public Schools continues efforts to provide superior healthcare to the district. A collaborative effort between University of Oklahoma Bedlam Community Health Clinic and Union Public Schools produces state-of-the-art services for the Union community. The Union Public Schools Bedlam School-Based Health Clinic operates at both Roy Clark Elementary School and Rosa Parks Elementary School.

These clinics provide a convenient way for students and their families to receive a wide range of health care services, and they operate at no cost to the school district. The primary goal of the clinics is to serve families of all children in each of the schools, including those who qualify for Medicaid or have no health insurance. The clinics provide at least one full-time physician’s assistant or a resident physician. In addition, a pediatrician visits each clinic as part of a rotating schedule. The physicians work with and assist school nurses.

In addition to student health care, Union partners with the University of Oklahoma Physicians-Tulsa to provide low cost medical services for employees through an employee clinic. This unique partnership provides access to quality health care while controlling escalating health care costs. The clinic is staffed by a fully-licensed OU physician, a physician assistant, and a licensed practical nurse. Limited pharmaceutical services are also available at the clinic.

Union has experienced significant growth in the past decade. During the 2002-2003 school year, the district recorded total enrollment of 13,819. In 2012-2013, enrollment reached 15,299. Administration projects enrollment in the 2013-2014 school year to reach approximately 15,526 students with the continuation of the four-year-old program to every elementary site and the three-year-old program serving approximately 1,303 students. Additional enrollment details may be found in the Statistical Section of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

To accommodate this growth in student population the district maintains more than 2.8 million square feet of facilities, including 13 elementary schools (grades pre-kindergarten-fifth grades), a 6th/7thGrade Center, an 8th Grade Center, a 9th Grade Center,  an Alternative School serving high school students, a High School (grades 10-12), and an Education Service Center. The district’s newest construction includes the addition of a new fine arts win at the 6th/7th Grade Center and construction on Union Collegiate Academy at the High School, which opened in 2012. Please refer to the Statistical Section of this Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for additional facility details.

Bond Funds 

On February 12, 2014, district voters approved a $21-million bond proposal  to build a new gym and a fine arts wing at the 8th Grade Center, buy new textbooks districtwide and make upgrades for the district’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, program. Within that total, $2.17 million was to be used to buy eight regular school buses, four special education buses and two activity buses.

Grants/Federal Programs

Union SchoolsDuring the 2012-2013 school year, Union received more than $8.09 million in federal grant money. The elimination of Federal ARRA stabilization funding resulted in a loss of $4.94 million from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2013. ARRA provided funding for various programs designated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Homeless, Title I and Federal Education Jobs Act, which allocated additional funds for educational positions.

Major Initiatives - See Legislation Page

Internal Control

Management of the district is responsible for establishing and maintaining an internal control structure designed to ensure that the assets of the district are protected from loss, theft or misuse and to ensure that adequate accounting data is compiled to allow for the preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).  The internal control structure is designed to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance that these objectives are met.  The concept of reasonable assurance recognizes that 1) the cost of a control should not exceed the benefits likely to be derived; and 2) the valuation of costs and benefits requires estimates and judgments by management.

Long-Term Financial Planning

The Board of Education of Union Public Schools, in conjunction with the Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer, establishes a system of sound financial planning and management to assure that the district’s objectives are addressed and that funds are expended in accordance with plans expressed through the Board budget.

The financial management system components include:

  1. a planning process that consists of a review of state statutes, Board policies, concepts, ideas, problems, constraints, approaches, and systems before dollar amounts are established in the budget; and
  2.  a budget that is the expression of the plans of the Board through three main budgets
    – the General Fund, a Special Revenue Fund, and the Child Nutrition Fund.

Budgetary Controls

The district utilizes budgetary controls to ensure compliance with legal appropriation limitations and to provide an operating plan for the district’s resources.  The annual appropriated budget includes activity of the General, Special Revenue Funds, and Child Nutrition Funds.  Capital projects activity is controlled with approval of project-length financial plans.  Initial budgets are adopted at the beginning of the fiscal year with periodic amendments approved by the Board as necessary.

The level of budgetary control is maintained by fund, project, and function.  Individual line items may be adjusted without Board action, but total budgeted expenditures may not exceed appropriations at the major fund level without Board approval.  The district utilizes an encumbrance system as a technique of budgetary control with encumbered appropriations lapsing at year end.

Independent Audit

Oklahoma state statutes require an annual audit by independent certified public accountants.  The accounting firm of Cole and Reed, PC, was selected by the Board to conduct the audit.  In addition to meeting the requirements set forth in state statutes, the audit was also designed to meet the requirements of the Federal Single Audit Act of 1984 and related OMB Circular A-133.  

The auditor’s report on the basic financial statements is included in the financial section of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.