DMPS Earns National Honors for Excellence in Financial Publications

Group of people pose with an award plaque.

The school district’s business and finance staff was honored by the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business Officials International.

Two national public financial organizations – the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) – have recognized Des Moines Public Schools for excellence in financial reporting and accountability. It’s the ninth year in a row that Iowa’s largest school district has been recognized by both organizations.

“When it comes to being transparent about the use of public funds, it is an honor to be recognized as among the very best by these two organizations, which monitor financial reporting by public entities across the country,” said Thomas Harper, chief financial officer for Des Moines Public Schools. “It is also testament to the fact that our staff and leadership are committed to the highest standards in accounting and reporting of the public’s tax dollars.”

GFOA awarded its Certificate of Achievement for the school district’s most recent comprehensive annual financial report. This is the GFOA’s “highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.” The award is made to organizations that demonstrate a “spirit of full disclosure to clearly communicate its financial story.”

ASBO presented the school district with its Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award, also in recognition of the most recent comprehensive annual financial report. The award “confirms the school business office’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency. Recognition through the COE program can help strengthen a district’s presentation for bond issuance statements and promotes a high level of financial reporting.”

Earlier this year, GFOA also presented Des Moines Public Schools with their Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, in recognition of its FY 2016-17 recent budget publication.

Four years ago, DMPS developed a newly formatted budget and financial statements book. The new format includes better organized information and a more descriptive narrative about the financial goals and objectives of Iowa’s largest school district.

According to the GFOA: “The award represents a significant achievement by the entity. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the entity had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation.”

The award guidelines assessed how well the DMPS budget book served as:

  • A policy document
  • A financial plan
  • An operations guide
  • A communications device

To access copies of the school district’s budget publications, CAFRs, and other finance-related information, visit