(a) Incurring Obligations. - Except as set forth below, no obligation may be incurred by a local school administrative unit unless the budget resolution includes an appropriation authorizing the obligation and an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay in the current fiscal year the sums obligated by the transaction for the current fiscal year. If an obligation is evidenced by a contract or agreement requiring the payment of money or by a purchase order for supplies and materials, the contract, agreement, or purchase order shall include on its face a certificate stating that the instrument has been preaudited to assure compliance with this section. The certificate, which shall be signed by the finance officer, shall take substantially the following form:
"This instrument has been preaudited in the manner required by the School Budget and Fiscal Control Act.
(Signature of finance officer)"
An obligation incurred in violation of this section is invalid and may not be enforced. The finance officer shall establish procedures to assure compliance with this section.
(b) Disbursements. - When a bill, invoice, or other claim against a local school administrative unit is presented, the finance officer shall either approve or disapprove the necessary disbursement. The finance officer may approve the claim only if he determines the amount to be payable, the budget resolution includes an appropriation authorizing the expenditure and either (i) an encumbrance has been previously created for the transaction or (ii) an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay the amount to be disbursed. A bill, invoice, or other claim may not be paid unless it has been approved by the finance officer or, under subsection (c) of this section, by the board of education.
(c) Board of Education Approval of Bills, Invoices, or Claims. - The board of education may, as permitted by this subsection, approve a bill, invoice, or other claim against the local school administrative unit that has been disapproved by the finance officer. It may not approve a claim for which no appropriation appears in the budget resolution, or for which the appropriation contains no encumbrance and the unencumbered balance is less than the amount to be paid. The board of education shall approve payment by formal resolution stating the board's reasons for allowing the bill, invoice, or other claim. The resolution shall be entered in the minutes together with the names of those voting in the affirmative. The chairman of the board or some other member designated for this purpose shall sign the certificate on the check or draft given in payment of the bill, invoice, or other claim. If payment results in a violation of law, each member of the board voting to allow payment is jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the check or draft given in payment.
(c1) Continuing Contracts for Capital Outlay. - An administrative unit may enter into a contract for capital outlay expenditures, some portion or all of which is to be performed and/or paid in ensuing fiscal years, without the budget resolution including an appropriation for the entire obligation, provided:
a. The budget resolution includes an appropriation authorizing the current fiscal year's portion of the obligation;
b. An unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay in the current fiscal year the sums obligated by the transaction for the current fiscal year; and
c. Contracts for capital outlay expenditures are approved by a resolution adopted by the board of county commissioners, which resolution when adopted shall bind the board of county commissioners to appropriate sufficient funds in ensuing fiscal years to meet the amounts to be paid under the contract in those years.
(d) Payment. - A local school administrative unit may not pay a bill, invoice, salary, or other claim except by a check or draft on an official depository, by a bank wire transfer from an official depository, or by a warrant on the State Treasurer. Except as provided in this subsection each check or draft on an official depository shall bear on its face a certificate signed by the finance officer or signed by the chairman or some other member of the board pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. The certificate shall take substantially the following form:
"This disbursement has been approved as required by the School Budget and Fiscal Control Act.
(Signature of finance officer)"
No certificate is required on payroll checks or drafts or on State warrants.
(e) Penalties. - If an officer or employee of a local school administrative unit incurs an obligation or pays out or causes to be paid out any funds in violation of this section, he and the sureties on his official bond are liable for any sums so committed or disbursed. If the finance officer gives a false certificate to any contract, agreement, purchase order, check, draft, or other document, he and the sureties on his official bond are liable for any sums illegally committed or disbursed thereby. (1975, c. 437, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985, c. 783, ss. 1, 2; 1997-456, s. 27.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014