Rockwood Finance Director Says New Job Found Him
Rockwood School District Finance Director Scott Tate told Patch his resignation had nothing to do with upcoming state audits of the district, other colleagues' resignations or any concerns of Rockwood's future.
A little more than a month from now, Rockwood School District Finance Director Scott Tate will be working with 63 school/member districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area, rather than just Rockwood. That's when he leaves his Eureka-based post of three years to become chief financial officer for the Cooperating School Districts (CSD) of Greater St. Louis.
"CSD is a career advancement opportunity for me. A colleague suggested that it might be a good fit, I pursued it and it worked out fairly quickly just recently," he said.
Tate said he wanted to clear the air about any assumptions prompted Friday that his resignation has anything to do with the recent round of departures of other Rockwood administrators.
"My decision had nothing to do with anything else happening in Rockwood or any pending audits," he said.
In fact, Tate told Patch he had just worked with Missouri's auditing team last week regarding a statewide audit about debt financing for which Rockwood was selected to participate among 15 districts of various sizes throughout Missouri.
He said the state auditors are assembling information from school districts to press legislators to provide clearer guidance to school districts about debt finance elements. He said auditors requested copies of policies and procedures, and confirmed who served as school districts' financial advisers. He said auditors also discussed whether school-related bonds were privately placed or sold through public auctions.
"When the state auditors do come into Rockwood to audit just Rockwood, they will find things and offer suggestions to make things better—which is what happens in those type of periodic audits. That's what they do," said Tate.
"But I don't anticipate they will find anything inappropriate or embarrassing."
As the new CFO of the CSD, Tate will still work with Rockwood peers, along with other school officials. CSD provides members with administrative and business services, in addition to professional development, to nearly 550 schools in a nine-county region. Tate will be in charge of the CSD purchasing consortium and health insurance program school districts share, for example. "I'm looking forward to modifying some CSD offerings to make the services better and to help Rockwood save money to weather the current financial situation," he said.
Coming from a school participating in CSD programs, Tate believes he knows what objections school representatives have had and what can be altered.
"I truly enjoyed my three years at Rockwood, and if it weren't for those years, I wouldn't be CFO at CSD," said Tate.
With Tate's help, Rockwood earned the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International for its 2011-2012 annual budget. It was the twelfth year Rockwood received this award.
“I commend the finance department, under the direction of Shirley Broz, chief financial and legislative affairs officer, and Scott Tate, director of finance, for their commitment to professional financial management,” said Rockwood Superintendent Bruce Borchers at the time. “Rigorous criteria must be met to receive this award, and we are proud to once again receive recognition for our budget preparation.”
Tate's Rockwood position has been posted for candidates and closes June 10. He believes district officials might know where they stand on his replacement finalists by the end of June.
Tate said he already has begun working with the new, incoming Rockwood CFO Timothy Rooney, regarding a transition plan even before Rooney officially starts July 1. Rooney takes over Rockwood's finance department following the retirement of current CFO Shirley Broz.
"Tim has many years of school experience and knowledge. And I've also worked out an arrangement that I can assist Rockwood in July. Both Shirley and Tim want Rockwood to succeed, so I'm sure we're all help each other get settled," he said.