Non-Personnel Spending Guidelines


The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District’s (MSBSD) Non-Personnel Spending Guidelines are designed to assist employees in making wise spending decisions. All purchases must be made in compliance with existing purchasing guidelines, Board Policy, and the guidelines set forth in this document.

Non-Personnel Budgets

Non-personnel budgets, often referred to as discretionary budgets, are allocated by metrics equitably to schools and departments. The allocated funds are assigned to a specific location and all transactions are managed by an identified individual, typically a principal or administrator. It is this individual’s responsibility to ensure that the conduct of all purchases are in accordance with Board policies and procedures.

Purchases Should Demonstrate a Need Related to at Least One of the Following

  • Educational
  • Business or operational

Allowable Purchases

  • Supplies & materials
  • Equipment
  • Professional development
  • Travel, as permitted by Board Policy
  • Purchased services
  • Postage & shipping

Prohibited Purchases

  • Gift cards
  • Personal purchases
  • Donations
  • Fuel for personal vehicles
  • Alcohol or tobacco
  • Any purchase not clearly demonstrating a direct relationship to student educational or business operational need

Appearance and Reasonable Tests

Before making a purchase employees of the District should use the “appearance test.” Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the purchase necessary for a staff member, school, or department to do their job?
  2. Does the purchase have a School District/business need? Can I define it?
  3. How would the public feel about the purchase if they were aware of it?

Questionable Purchases Defined

Gifts and Awards
The District differentiates between gifts and awards. While gifts are generally disallowed, the District recognizes student and staff awards as allowable expenditures when they are tied to performance and support an educational purpose or business need. Awards should be non- monetary and should be of de minimis value. A de minimis fringe benefit is, “so small as to make accounting for it unreasonable or administratively impractical.”1 As a guideline, de minimis items should be valued below $99.

Gift Cards
Gift cards are not an allowable purchase as they are considered a cash equivalent (item which is easily converted to cash). Any gift cards provided to staff or students would be considered taxable income and is subject to withholding, regardless of amount.
*Some District grants specifically approve the purchase of gift cards to meet unique deliverables. Approval to pursue the purchase of gift cards utilizing specified grant funds must be approved by the Director of Finance prior to purchase.

Food Purchases for Staff
Snacks and coffee are allowable de minimis fringe benefits when they are occasional, infrequent in nature, and nominal in value. The District allows for the purchase of food to be provided to employees at trainings or meetings if attendees will be present for four consecutive hours or greater.


Alternative Funding Source

Sunshine Funds
Sunshine funds are funds contributed directly by the staff for non-business related purchases such as retirement parties, staff birthday parties, etc. Sunshine Funds are not District funds, and should not be deposited into Student Activities bank accounts or accounted for in District accounting software systems.

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Article ID: 60132
Fri 8/10/18 1:34 PM
Wed 1/3/24 2:51 PM