Florida Association for District School Superintendents

Florida Education Investment Trust Fund  

Websitehttps://www.feitf.com/

Rationale: The Florida Association of District School Superintendents and the Florida School Boards Association have created the Florida Education Investment Trust Fund (FEITF) to serve as an Internal Revenue Code Section 115 qualified trust. The purpose of the FEITF is to provide school districts with an alternative investment option to the State Board of Administration’s Local Government Investment Pool for a district’s surplus short to medium term cash assets.

The FEITF is, therefore, a cooperative effort designed to assure safety of principal, protection of liquidity and attainment of competitive yields for the cash assets of the public school districts of Florida. The FEITF is professionally managed, including governance by school district officers. A key component of the management of the FEITF is transparency of operation.

The FEITF is designed to provide the most qualified Investment Advisors/Money Managers to meet the needs of participating school districts by adhering to the following prioritized objectives:

  1. The preservation of principal;
  2. Maximum liquidity; and,
  3. Competitive yield net of fees.

Purpose: The FEITF addresses the specific needs of the Florida K-12 School Districts, which receive funding from two primary sources; from the state as general revenue and from property tax. Districts receive state funding semi-monthly. Property taxes are primarily collected November through February but have to be available for use over 12 months. School districts’ payrolls are primarily concentrated in the months of August through June. School districts are also required to maintain a small percentage of funds in reserve and to hold funds in accounts for other requirements such as self-insurance. The percentage of funds from property taxes varies from 10% to 90% in districts across the state with the more rural property poor districts at the lower end of the scale. To meet the unique needs of participating districts to invest short to medium term cash assets, the FEITF will consist of three different accounts:

  1. Immediate liquidity for daily cash flow needs using, for example, AAA money market funds;
  2. Working capital for operational needs, for example, Tax Anticipatory Notes with a duration of deposit from 1 to 12 months; and,
  3. Capital reserves for specified purposes such as self-insurance or providing a reserve contingency with duration of deposit from 1 to 3 years.

Governance: A key factor that separates this initiative from other investment options is a commitment to governance of the FEITF by school district officers.

Eight school board officers, four district superintendents and four school board members make up the Board of Trustees of the FEITF. The current members of the Board of Trustees are as follows:

Kurt Browning
Superintendent
Pasco County School District

Mike Grego
Superintendent

Pinellas County School District

Walt Griffin, Chair
Superintendent

Seminole County School District

Bobby James
School Board Member

Marion County School District

Chuck Shaw, Vice Chair
School Board Member

Palm Beach County School District

Hazel Sellers
School Board Member

Polk County School District

Lori White
Superintendent

Sarasota County School District

In addition to the Board of Trustees, the organization of the FEITF includes an Investment Advisory Committee made up of finance officers from each trustee’s district. Additionally, there are two finance officers from districts who have advised the FSBA/FADSS partnership from the beginning of this joint endeavor.

The current members of the Investment Advisory Committee are as follows:

Jo Ann Clark
Director Accounting Services
Brevard County School District

Steve Compton
Senior Administrator, Treasury Services
Orange County School District

Mitsi Corcoran
Chief Financial Officer

Sarasota County School District

Michael Degutis
Chief Financial Officer
St. Johns County School District

Theresa Boston-Ellis
Executive Director, Business Services

Marion County School District

Leanne Evans
Treasurer
Palm Beach County School District

Bill Kelly
Executive Director, Finance & Budget
Seminole County School District

Robert Moll
Deputy Superintendent For Financial & Business
Volusia County School District

Mike Perrone
Associate Superintendent, CFO
Polk County School District

Judy Preston
Associate Superintendent Financial Services
Brevard County School District

Kevin Smith
Associate Superintendent, Finance & Business Services

Pinellas County School District

Olga Swinson
Chief Finance Officer

Pasco County School District

 

Conclusion: The problems with the State Board of Administration and the Local Government Investment Pool and the challenges created by the financial environment have created the need for school districts to become active fund managers. This is a requirement that many districts large and small are not equipped to assume. Although it is not the intent of the FEITF to become the sole investment vehicle for school districts in Florida, it is our goal to provide a viable option. School districts will more than likely not place cash assets with any one investment option in the future as was the case previously, nor should they be encouraged to do so. The FEITF because of its unique governance structure and fundamental adherence to transparency of operation is designed to be a strong, viable investment option available to districts.

FEITF Trust Agreement: This is the official authorization for the FEITF to conduct business as a Local Government Investment Pool.

Investment Policy and Guidelines: This document outlines the investment policy of the FEITF. It is a living document that may change based on financial circumstances and the advice of the Investment Advisor.

Signatory Public Agency Addendum: In order to participate in the Investment Fund, a district is required to sign-on as a Signatory. This does not bind the district to participate but simply creates the inter-local agreement as contemplated by Florida Statutes.