I often scratch my head at the bureaucracy in education and wonder why everything has to be so complicated.
The other day I was trying to help some teachers get some technology purchased through a grant that they had received from a local community organization.
First we couldn’t purchase anything because the district business office had not set up the budget in the county financial system.
After a day or so of emails, the budget was finally set up, but it was missing the necessary object codes to make the purchases. In California, every budget is composed of object codes. Object codes are for things like Technology under $10,000 or Technology over $10,000, etc. Everything you can imagine is assigned to a specific object code. If the object code isn’t set up, then you are not permitted to spend the money that is in your budget.
Imagine going to Target and then paying for your clothes, snacks, magazines, electronics, books, houseplants, and toilet paper at different registers using different gift cards. So complicated. So time consuming. Talk about a waste of energy and talent.
After getting the object code set up, we had to transfer money into that object code. You see just because the object code exists doesn’t mean you get to spend money from the budget, no you have to transfer money into that object code. To do that, you need to know how much you are going to spend in that object code.
To transfer money into an object code it requires one person to enter the change into the financial system. This doesn’t transfer the money mind you, it simply creates a print out that is printed at the district office for someone there to do exactly what you just did, but this time it actually happens.
Imagine going to Target to pay for each item at a different register with a different gift card for each item, and you need to know exactly how much you should have on each gift card.
Now, finally we had the budget set up, the object code in the budget set up, money put into the object code. We ordered the items by writing up a purchase order and gave it to our office manager. The office manager entered the purchase order, which gets printed at the district office and the items are shopped for by a person in purchasing.
By the time the purchasing department found the items, they were from a different vendor than we had originally looked at, and the price was different. Because of the price being greater, the purchase could not go through.
And guess what, we had to start all over again. Why is this so hard?
Blue Skunk blog nails it with this picture...