Like there’s not enough going on with PERS changes, now changes are coming from STRS too! Beginning in July 2012, STRS will be introducing new regulations on assessing penalties and interest for late reporting. Based on a request from Anne Castleberg at the Ventura County Office of Education, Escape held a conference call yesterday for all of our customers to discuss how they will be handling these new requirements. I was amazed at the turnout; we had a combination of county office and district staff attend: Ventura, Sonoma, Shasta, Tehama, Alameda and San Joaquin County Offices and Fairfield and Sacramento City Unified districts. During the call we addressed some specific questions from Ventura and also discussed if any changes would need to be made to Escape Online 5. The software changes discussed would make our STRS reporting more dynamic which would in turn allow districts more time to submit preliminary files and correct errors more quickly, thereby reducing any penalties they may be charged. Escape will be discussing the suggestions internally in order to come up with a final solution. Stay tuned for more on that!
During the call there definitely seemed to be many different interpretations about the regulations so we all found the attached FAQ from STRS to be helpful, and both Fairfield and Tehama County indicated that STRS will be doing onsite training for them. You can contact STRS directly if you’d like to schedule something similar for your office.
Keeping everyone on the same page about upcoming changes is a great way to start the year. Thanks for the suggestion Anne!