The School Board of Miami-Dade County
Bylaws & Policies
Unless a specific policy has been amended and the date the policy was revised is noted at the bottom of that policy, the Bylaws and Policies of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools were adopted on May 11, 2011 and were in effect beginning July 1, 2011.
 

6550 - TRAVEL AND PER DIEM

These travel policies apply to employees and authorized individuals eligible to be reimbursed from either tax funds or an Internal Fund account for travel-related expenses. Authorized individuals include School Board members, Board administrative assistants, consultants, Title I parents, and chaperones of student travel. If the person to be reimbursed for travel expenses from tax funds is a Board employee, the Payroll Department will process the reimbursement. Individuals who are not Board employees (no employee number) will be reimbursed by the Accounts Payable Department.

The Payroll department shall have the authority to deny travel advance privileges to individuals or departments that fail to properly or promptly submit Travel Expense Reports. The Payroll Department shall have the authority to disallow any and all expenses not consistent with Florida law and Board policies.

Procedures relating to Travel are contained in the Travel Procedures Manual issued by the Office of the Controller – Payroll Department.

All requests for reimbursement of travel expenses shall be reasonable, customary, and ordinary for the type of trip taken. The greatest possible economy shall be obtained by avoiding unnecessary travel and joint travel by authorized travelers in a single vehicle whenever feasible.

The Superintendent shall develop regulations providing the conditions and requirements under which payment of travel expenses shall be made to implement this policy, according to Florida statutes, Florida Department of Education rules, Internal Revenue Regulations, and Board policies.

Classification of Eligible Personnel

The following classifications of personnel shall be eligible for reimbursement for travel expenses:

A. Board members, Superintendent, and Board Attorney;

B. administrative, supervisory and all other employees;

C. employees representing the Superintendent and/or the Board on official school business or employees whose regular assignment necessitates travel from their official headquarters or post of duty on school business;

D. employees authorized to attend conferences and conventions of official educational agencies and of professional organizations;

E. authorized persons who are not employees of the school system.

Eligible Travel

Travel expenses will be approved for the following kinds of travel:

A. Travel within Miami-Dade County when it is part of official duties.

B. Travel outside of Miami-Dade County when:

1. The authorized traveler has been assigned to perform official duties or Board business elsewhere; or

2. The authorized travel is attending conferences and conventions of official educational agencies and of professional organizations.

Expenses for Travel within Miami-Dade County

Employees whose duties for the school system require them to travel within the county from their official headquarters or post of duty to other locations (Class C travel) shall be reimbursed for travel in a privately owned vehicle on the basis of a mileage allowance approved by the Superintendent.

Board members shall be reimbursed from the members' residence for travel incurred in the performance of a public purpose authorized by law to be performed by the Board, including, but not limited to, attendance at regular and special Board meetings.

A. Mileage Allowance

Mileage allowance shall be computed at the Internal Revenue Service Standard Mileage Rate effective upon publication by the Internal Revenue Service for distances traveled on official business. The rate per mile will be published by the Payroll Department annually, or as deemed necessary.

After travel has been completed, the employee must prepare and submit the necessary forms for reimbursement.

B. Per Diem or Meal and Lodging Allowance for approved Travel on Official Business within Miami-Dade County

Per diem or meal and lodging allowances may be paid as prescribed in this policy when the traveler is assigned on official business outside of regular office hours and away from regular places of employment where it is considered reasonable and necessary, meal allowances are involved and overnight lodging is required and it is approved by the Superintendent.

Expenses for Travel Outside of Miami-Dade County

A. Reimbursable expenses for authorized travelers are shown under the heading, "Travel expenses - computation guidelines". Employees authorized to travel outside of Miami-Dade County shall be reimbursed in whole or in part from Board funds in accordance with Board-adopted travel expense computation methods, and when paid from the Internal Fund accounts, shall be subject to all provisions set forth in the school, and in the Manual of Internal Fund Accounting for Elementary and Secondary Schools, Internal Fund/School Activities – Specific Procedures, incorporated by reference in policy if:

1. the employee is assigned to perform official duties elsewhere, e.g., travel to recruit teachers;

2. the employee is authorized to attend conferences or conventions of official educational agencies and of professional organizations.

B. The following general regulations shall be applicable to travel of employees:

1. Temporary Duty - Any employee in order to be eligible to have expenses paid for travel shall have completed in advance of such travel an approved Electronic Travel Approval/Reimbursement Request (TRVL).

2. Representative of the Superintendent - Travel of an employee as the representative of the Superintendent shall be approved only by the Superintendent.

3. Maximum Expenses

a. Board members and the Superintendent, or designee, may approve travel expenses up to a maximum of $3,500, excluding registration fees and tuition.

b. Administrators reporting directly to the Superintendent may approve travel expenses for personnel under their jurisdiction up to a maximum of $2,500; however, the Superintendent retains the sole authority of approving the reimbursement of actual expenses exceeding the $2,500 limit to the maximum of $3,500, excluding registration fees and tuition.

c. Out-of-county trips estimated to exceed $3,500 must be approved by the Superintendent and the Board before travel commences if reimbursement is expected for the full amount.

d. If the business of the school system requires the employee to visit more than one city, such as with District recruiters, the total travel expense reimbursement shall not exceed the maximum allowed per trip for each city visited.

4. Approval Requirements

Travelers must obtain the proper approval prior to the occurrence of the actual travel.

a. Board members: Individual Board members may approve their own Request for Travel Expenses or that of their administrative assistants.

b. Superintendent and Board Attorney: The Superintendent and Board Attorney may approve their own Request for Travel Expenses.

c. Assistant Board Attorneys: Approval by the Board Attorney is required.

d. Cabinet Members: Approval by the Superintendent, or designee, is required.

e. Senior Staff: Approval by the corresponding Cabinet member is required.

f. Principals: Approval by the Regional Center Superintendent is required.

g. Non-school site employees: Approval by the immediate supervisor and the corresponding administrator at the Assistant Superintendent level is required.

h. Assistant Principal/School site employees: Approval by the Principal is required.

5. Maximum Number of Employees

a. The Superintendent may establish annually the maximum number of administrative, supervisory, or other employees to be approved to attend the same national or regional professional conference or convention.

b. One teacher is each teaching subject-area may be selected by each Regional Center Superintendent to attend a national meeting of the teacher's subject-area field.

6. Reimbursement of Expenses by Other Agencies

Employees who are requested or directed to attend conferences or conventions sponsored by the Florida Department of Education, or by other institutions or vendors, may be approved for full expenses when such entities agree to reimburse the Board in full.

Reimbursement of Expenses

Reimbursable expenses will not be paid from Board funds until after the authorized traveler has returned from the trip, completed, and submitted to the Payroll Department an approved Electronic Travel Approval/Reimbursement Request (TRVL) with required supporting documents attached. Expense reports must be filed within ten (10) days after travel is completed.

The following exceptions related to cash advances, direct payments to vendors for meals and lodging in connection with travel and required advance registration fees, shall be used infrequently and only with the express approval of the Superintendent:

A. Cash Advancements

Cash advancements to authorized travelers on official business in an amount not to exceed the estimated out-of-pocket reimbursable expenses, which may not exceed the approved maximum, may be authorized by the Superintendent. Authorized traveler shall submit a final accounting with all necessary supporting documents within ten (10) working days following return from official travel status. The traveler must refund the amount of cash advancement exceeding the approved actual expenses. Any balance due to the traveler will be paid in the normal course of auditing and reimbursement procedures.

If the traveler fails to comply with the ten (10) working days requirement to submit a final accounting, the Payroll Department is authorized to collect the cash advancements from the employee’s regular bi-weekly payroll payment.

B. Travel Reimbursements to Non-Board Employees

Direct reimbursement to non-Board employees (referred to as "vendors" by Accounts Payable) for authorized Class A or Class B travel, for meals, lodging, transportation and necessary incidental expenses (excluding tips and gratuities), may be authorized by the Superintendent not to exceed the established per diem or meal allowances allowed by State law and Board policy. A final accounting with all necessary supporting documents shall be provided by the non-Board employee within ten (10) working days of return from official travel status. Non-Board employee reimbursements are paid by the Accounts Payable Department through the issuance of a purchase requisition.

C. Advance Registration Fees

Required advance registration fees for authorized travelers attending seminars, training sessions, conferences, conventions or other similar meetings requested by the administration may be paid from Board funds, and a final accounting shall be made within ten (10) working days following the return from official travel.

D. Travel Arrangements

Required purchase of airline tickets for authorized travelers on official Board business may be paid from Board funds. Travel arrangements will be made by the employee utilizing existing Internet providers, the employee’s own travel agency, or the Board approved travel agencies. When other than the Board approved travel agencies are used, and before a reservation is made, the employee must obtain two (2) complete lists of available airfares from different sources, indicating the departing and destination cities, as well as the cost of the airline ticket. The listings must be attached to the reimbursement request. Acceptable listings can be obtained from a travel agency or Internet providers.

Travel Expenses Not Authorized

Travel expense reimbursement shall not be authorized for:

A. Any employee who received college credit for work done while in attendance at a workshop, seminar, conference, or similar meeting.

B. Classroom teachers to attend subject-area meetings or conferences unless the classroom teacher is authorized to attend such meeting by the school principal.

C. Any employee to attend the annual convention of state professional organizations, unless requested to attend by the administration for work related business.

D. No tips or gratuities of any kind.

Travel Expenses Paid from Grant Funds

For travel paid with Federal funds, the travel authorization must include documentation that demonstrates that (1) the participation in the event by the individual traveling is necessary to the grant award, and (2) the costs are reasonable and consistent with the Board’s travel policy.

Travel Expenses Paid from School Internal Fund Accounts

Travel expenses paid from school Internal Fund accounts may be authorized under the following conditions:

A. The Board approved method for transportation and per diem or meal expenses/allowances shall be used in computing reimbursable expenses for all such trips.

B. Principals and other school administrators may attend any recognized national, regional, or state professional group meetings which deal with their respective school level, provided such travel is authorized by the Regional Center. Any such travel expenditures will be subject to all provisions in the Manual of Internal Fund Accounting for Elementary and Secondary Schools, Internal Fund/School Activities – Specific Procedures, incorporated by reference in policy.

C. Coaches may attend out-of-state coaches' meetings. Only one full reimbursement may be obtained by any one coach per fiscal year for expenses. One other reimbursement for a similar approved trip during the same fiscal year may be paid to any one coach provided that the coach pays one-half of the expenses.

Travel Expenses of Other Authorized Persons

As provided by Florida statutes, travel expenses may be authorized from Board funds for:

A. A person who contributes services as an advisor or consultant; or

B. A person who is a candidate for an executive or professional position.

To be reimbursed for travel expenses, such persons must have been approved by the Superintendent or designee and travel documents must be submitted to the Accounts Payable Department which reflect a complete explanation and justification of such expenses, in accordance with this rule.

Computation Guidelines

The following guidelines shall be used in computing reimbursement of travel expenses for authorized travelers of the Board.

A. Transportation By Privately Owned Vehicle

1. The amount shall be the maximum provided by law for round trip according to a current map of the Florida Department of Transportation. Necessary local vicinity travel shall be shown separately on the voucher.

2. Necessary parking and storage fees; bridge, road, ferry, and tunnel tolls (original receipt required).

3. Private vehicles should be shared whenever possible to minimize travel costs. However, no traveler shall be entitled to mileage or transportation expense when he/she is gratuitously transported or transported by another traveler who is entitled to mileage or transportation expense.

4. Reimbursement for use of private vehicles must not exceed the most economical airfare when adequate air service is available.

B. Transportation by Common Carrier

Reimbursement is authorized for necessary travel accomplished by a usually traveled route on common carrier (train, bus, commercial airline operating scheduled flights, or rental car from an established rental car agency) at the most economical rate, necessary taxi and bus fares, and set charges for baggage handling (original receipts required for all items mentioned). No tips or gratuities of any kind shall be reimbursed.

When expenses for airline tickets are being paid, an invoice or statement clearly indicating the amount paid by the employee must be attached to the reimbursement request.

Under no circumstances is an employee authorized to travel using a private aircraft or a non commercial/non-registered seagoing vessel while on official Board business.

C. Per Diem or Meals and Lodging Allowance for Out-Of-County Travel

1. For travel period extending overnight:

a. Class A travel - continuous travel of twenty-four (24) hours or more away from official headquarters. Travel periods are for a calendar day (midnight to midnight).

b. Class B travel - continuous travel of less than twenty-four (24) hours which involves overnight absence from official headquarters. Travel period starts with time of departure and ends with time of return.

c. The maximum reimbursable amount provided by law for per diem for meals and lodging will be published by the Payroll Department annually, or as deemed necessary. When fractions of days are involved, there shall be allowed one-fourth of that amount for each quarter day or fraction thereof. Six-hour periods starting at midnight for Class A travel and time departure for Class B travel shall count as quarter days.

d. For travel period overnight to a convention or conference or out of State:

On official school business, the authorized traveler may be allowed actual expenses for lodging at single occupancy rates, substantiated by a lodging receipt, plus the maximum amount provided by law for each day for meal allowances. Total reimbursement shall not exceed Board approved maximum.

2. Class C Travel

Travel for short or day trips where the traveler is not away from official headquarters overnight, for which expenses for meals are allowed, shall be reimbursed at the maximum amount provided by law.

3. Meal Allowances

Meal allowances are governed by Florida statute. The Payroll Department will publish the current allowable amount annually, or as deemed necessary.

Breakfast allowance is when travel begins before 6 a.m. and extends beyond 8 a.m.

Lunch allowance is when travel begins before 12 noon and extends beyond 2 p.m.

Dinner allowance is when travel begins before 6 p.m. and extends beyond 8 p.m., or when travel occurs during nighttime hours due to special assignment.

Meal reimbursements for non-overnight, out-of-county travel (use Voucher for Reimbursement of Meals for Travel Not Requiring an Overnight Stay - FM- 4557), are considered taxable compensation to the employee or other authorized traveler.

4. Reimbursement by a State or Local Institution

When meals or lodging are to be reimbursed by a state or local institution, the traveler shall be reimbursed the actual costs of such items, not to exceed the maximum amounts otherwise permitted.

5. Registration Fee

Where a registration fee is charged for attending a conference, convention, seminar, or similar type meeting, the expense of such fee shall be allowed and shall be excluded from the computation of the maximum allowable travel expense.

If the cost of any meals is included as part of the registration fee the allowance for meals must not be claimed or must be deducted if the per diem method for meals and lodging is used.

When attending a conference, convention, seminar, or similar type of meeting, an agenda must be included with the reimbursement request.

6. Communications

Reasonable and necessary communication expenses for official business while on authorized travel status, such as telephone, fax, mail, and other similar items, shall be reimbursed when properly documented and supported by paid receipt.

7. Car Rental

The car rental must be an economy-sized vehicle (i.e., compact car). If other than an economy-sized vehicle is needed, written justification must be submitted.

The employee’s supervisor should consider the following guidelines before approving the use of a rental car:

a. A rental car is more cost-effective than other means of ground transportation.

b. The amount of materials/equipment transported precludes use of other ground transportation.

c. No other transportation is reasonably available at the time(s)/location(s) required.

Use of a rental car shall be reimbursed when properly documented and supported by paid receipt.

Administrative Procedures

The Superintendent is authorized to develop and implement a Manual of Travel Procedures that describes the processes to implement this policy.

F.S. 112.061, 1001.39
F.A.C. 6A-1.056
2 C.F.R. 200.474

Revised 10/5/16

© Neola 2016