FILE:  DJD-R

Cf:  DJD

 

EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT REGULATIONS

 

 

Pursuant to the authority extended by the Natchitoches Parish School Board (NPSB), the following travel regulations have been established.  The regulations, allowances, and standard mileage from the Central Office and other locations to the various schools and/or selected cities are herein set.  These regulations apply to all employees of the School Board authorized to travel in line with the performance of official business.  These regulations shall be effective October 1, 2019.

 

SECTION I:  DEFINITIONS

 

For the purposes of this policy the following words have the meanings indicated.

 

Authorized Persons

 

Advisors, consultants, contractors, or other persons who are called upon to contribute time and services to the parish who are not otherwise required to be reimbursed through a contract for professional, personal, or consulting services.

 

Conference/Convention

 

A meeting for a specific purpose and/or objective which requires payment of a registration fee.  Documentation required is a formal agenda and/or program.  Exception for the registration fee requirement can be approved by the Director of the funding source on a case-by-case basis.  Participation as an exhibiting vendor in an exhibit/trade show also qualifies as a conference.

 

In-State Travel

 

All travel within the borders of Louisiana or travel through adjacent states between points within Louisiana when such is the most efficient route.

 

International Travel

 

All travel to destinations outside the 50 United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.

 

Out-of-State Travel

 

Travel to any of the other 49 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.

 

SECTION II:  GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

  1. AUTHORIZATION TO TRAVEL

 

  1. All travel must be authorized and approved in writing by the Superintendent and the Director or Supervisor from whose funds the traveler is paid.

  2. Mileage shall be computed by one of the following options:

 

  1. Based on odometer readings from point of origin to point of return

  2. By using a website mileage calculator.  Employee is to print the page indicating the mileage and attach it to the travel expense report.

  3. District Mileage Chart

 

  1. An annual authorization for routine travel shall not cover travel between an employee’s home and workplace, out-of-state travel, or travel to conferences or conventions.

  2. Itinerant in-parish teacher travel applies between schools as indicated on the approved teacher schedule.

  3. Requests for Out-of-State travel need to be added to the NPSB agenda and approved by the School Board 30 days in advance.  Telephone polls of School Board members are not permitted.

  4. When two or more employees are attending the same meeting, employees are encouraged to ride together.

 

  1. FUNDS FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES

 

  1. Persons traveling on official business will provide themselves with sufficient funds for all routine travel expenses.

  2. If requested by the traveler through proper requisitioning and purchasing procedures, registration may be paid in advance by the school system for the traveler (s).

 

Prepayment may be allowed for the following if proper purchasing procedures are followed:

 

  1. employees who accompany and/or are responsible for students on group or client travel.

  2. registration for seminars, conferences, and conventions.  If the requesting party does not attend the proposed conference, seminar, or convention, they shall make full reimbursement to the school system for the prepaid registration not later than the 15th day of the month following the event.

 

  1. EXPENSES INCURRED ON PARISH BUSINESS

    Traveling expenses of travelers shall be limited to those expenses necessarily incurred by them in the performance of a public purpose authorized by the parish and must be within the limitation prescribed herein.

 

  1. NO REIMBURSEMENT WHEN NO COST INCURRED BY TRAVELER

    No claim for reimbursement shall be made for any lodging and/or meals furnished by any other party at no cost to the traveler.  In no case will a traveler be allowed mileage or transportation when he/she is gratuitously transported by another person.

 

SECTION III:  CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT

 

  1. All claims for reimbursement for travel shall be submitted on forms provided by the parish and shall include all details provided for on the form.  It must be signed by the person claiming reimbursement and approved by his/her immediate supervisor.  The purpose for extra and unusual travel must be stated in the space provided on the front of the form.  In all cases the date and hour of departure from the return to domicile must be shown.

  2. Except where the cost of registration is invoiced directly to the parish, all expenses incurred on any official trip shall be paid by the traveler and his travel expense report shall show all such expenses in detail to the end that the total cost of the trip shall be reflected by the travel expense report.  If the cost of air transportation and/or registration has been previously paid directly by the parish, a notation will be indicated on the travel expense report indicating the date of travel, destination, amount, and the fact that it has been paid by the parish.  The traveler’s copy of the passenger ticket shall be attached to the travel expense report.

  3. In all cases, and under any travel status, the cost of meals, lodging, airfare, registration, etc., shall be paid by the traveler and claimed on the travel expense report for reimbursement, except where the cost of registration is invoiced directly to the parish.

  4. Claims will be submitted within 30 days of the return following the travel.

  5. The parish shall reimburse travel in an expeditious manner.  In no case shall reimbursements require more than thirty (30) days to process from receipt of complete, proper travel documentation.  (Exceptions: Requests held by Louisiana Department of Education)

  6. Any person who submits a claim pursuant to these regulations and who willfully makes and subscribes to any claim which he/she does not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter, or who willfully aids or assists in, or procures, counsels, or advises the preparation or presentation of a claim which is fraudulent or is false as to any material matter shall be guilty of official misconduct.  Whoever shall receive an allowance or reimbursement by means of a false claim shall be subject to severe disciplinary action as well as being criminally and civilly liable within the provisions of state law.

 

SECTION IV:  METHODS OF TRANSPORTATION

 

  1. COST-EFFECTIVE TRANSPORTATION

    The most cost-effective method of transportation that will accomplish the purpose of the travel shall be selected.  Among the factors to be considered should be length of travel time, cost of operation of a vehicle, cost, and availability of common carrier services, etc.

  2. AIR

 

  1. Common carrier shall be used for out-of-state travel unless it is documented that utilization of another method of travel is more cost-efficient or practical and approved in accordance with these regulations.

  2. Commercial Air Travel

 

  1. The parish encourages, but does not require, use of lowest-priced airfares where circumstances which can be documented dictate otherwise.

  2. The policy regarding airfare penalties is that the parish will pay the penalty incurred for a change in plans or cancellation only when the change or cancellation is required by the parish.  Certification of the requirement for the change or cancellation by the traveler’s supervisor is required on the travel expense report.

 

  1. A lost airline ticket is the responsibility of the person to whom the ticket was issued.  The airline charge for searching and refunding lost tickets will be charged to the traveler.  The difference between the prepaid amount and the amount refunded by the airline must be paid by the employee.

 

  1. MOTOR VEHICLE

 

  1. No vehicle may be operated in violation of state or local laws.  No traveler may operate a vehicle without having in his/her possession a valid state driver’s license.

  2. If available, safety restraints shall be used by the driver and passengers of vehicles.  All accidents, major and minor, shall be reported first to the local police department or appropriate law enforcement agency.  An accident report form should be completed as soon as possible and returned to the Purchasing Department, together with names and addresses of principals and witnesses.  Any questions about this should be addressed to the Purchasing Department.  These reports shall be in addition to reporting the accident to the Department of Public Safety as required by law.

  3. Parish-Owned Vehicles

 

  1. All purchases made on parish gasoline cards (Fuelman) must be signed for by the approved traveler making the purchase.  The license number and the unit price and quantity of the commodity purchased must be noted on the delivery ticket by the vendor.  Items incidental to the operation of the vehicle may be purchased via parish gasoline cards (Fuelman) only when away from official domicile on travel status.  In all instances where a Fuelman card is used to purchase items or services which are incidental to the operation of a vehicle, a copy of the credit ticket along with a written explanation of the reason for the purchase must be attached to the monthly report mentioned in this subsection.  Parish fuel cards will not be issued to travelers for use in the operation of privately-owned vehicles.

  2. Unauthorized persons should not be transported in parish vehicles.  Approval of exceptions to this policy may be made by the traveler’s supervisor if he/she determines that the best interest of the parish will be served and if the passenger (or passenger’s guardian) signs a statement acknowledging the fact that the parish assumes no liability for any loss, injury, or death resulting from said travel.

 

  1. Personally-Owned Vehicles

 

  1. When two or more persons travel in the same personally-owned vehicle, only one charge will be allowed for the expense of the vehicle.  The person claiming the reimbursement shall report the names of the other passengers.

  2. A mileage allowance shall be authorized for travelers approved to use personally-owned vehicles while conducting official state business.  Mileage shall be reimbursable on the basis of the School Board-approved rate.

  3. An employee shall never receive any benefit from not living in his/her official domicile.  In computing reimbursable mileage to an authorized travel destination from an employee’s residence outside the official domicile, the employee is always to claim the lessor of the miles from his/her official domicile or from his/her residence. If an employee is leaving on a non-workday or leaving significantly before or after work hours, the Director of the funding source may determine to pay the actual mileage from the employee’s residence if the required odometer readings from the residence are submitted.

  4. When the use of a privately-owned vehicle is for out-of-state travel for the traveler’s convenience, the traveler will be reimbursed for in-route expenses on the basis of 50 cents per mile only.  The total cost of the mileage may not exceed the cost of lowest logical air rate.  The traveler is personally responsible for any other in-route expenses to and from the destination, which is inclusive of meals and lodging.  If a traveler, at the request of the parish, is asked to take his/her personally-owned vehicle out of state for a purpose that will benefit the parish, then the Director of the funding source may, on a case-by-case basis, determine to pay a traveler for all or part of in-route travel expenses.  File should be justified accordingly.

  5. The traveler shall be required to pay all operating expenses of the vehicle, including fuel, repairs, and insurance.

 

  1. Rented Motor Vehicles

 

  1. Written approval of the Superintendent prior to departure is required for the rental of vehicles.  Such approval may be given when it is shown that vehicle rental is the only or most economical means by which the purposes of the trip can be accomplished.  In each instance, documentation showing cost effectiveness of available options must be readily available in the reimbursement files.  This authority shall not be delegated to any other person.

  2. Only the cost of rental of a compact model is reimbursable, unless (1) non-availability is documented, (2) the vehicle will be used to transport more than two persons, or (3) the cost of a larger vehicle is no more than the rental rate for a compact.

  3. Personal accident insurance when renting a vehicle is not reimbursable.  Employees are covered under worker’s compensation while on official parish business.

  4. Any personal mileage or rental days on a vehicle rented for official parish business is not reimbursable and shall be deducted.

 

  1. PUBLIC GROUND TRANSPORTATION

 

  1. The cost of public ground transportation, such as buses, subways, airport limousines, and taxis, is reimbursable when the expenses are incurred as part of approved parish travel.

  2. If using Uber or Lyft type services, only a standard size vehicle is reimbursable with an itemized receipt.  Premium or larger vehicle sizes are not reimbursable.

 

SECTION V: LODGING AND MEALS

 

  1. ELIGIBILITY

 

  1. Official Domicile/Temporary Assignment – Travelers are eligible to receive reimbursement for travel only when away from “official domicile” or on temporary assignment unless exception is granted in accordance with these regulations.

  2. Single Day Travel:  Meals are not eligible for reimbursements on single day travel.  This means that when an authorized traveler of the district is in travel status where no overnight stay is required, no meals are eligible for reimbursement.  If a Director of the funding source determines that Single Day Meals will be provided for, they must adhere to the following allowances:  To receive any meal reimbursement on single day travel, an employee must be in travel status for a minimum of 12 hours.  The maximum allowance for meal reimbursement for single day travel will be $51.00.

 

  1. Breakfast & Lunch:  ($22.00) The 12 hours travel duration must begin at or before 6:00 a.m.

  2. Lunch:  ($13.00) Requires 12 hours duration in travel status.

  3. Lunch & Dinner:  ($42.00) The 12 hour travel duration must end at or after 8:00 p.m.

 

  1. Travel with Over Night Stay:  (minimum of 12 hours in travel status)  Employees, while on overnight travel status, may be allowed the approved reimbursement rate for meals only (including tips) authorized by the Natchitoches Parish School Board.  Travelers may be reimbursed for meals according to the following schedule.

 

  1. Breakfast:  When travel begins at or before 6 a.m. on the first day of travel or extends at/or beyond 9 a.m. on the last day of travel, and for any intervening days.

  2. Lunch:  When travel begins at/or before 10 a.m. on the first day of travel or extends at/or beyond 2 p.m. on the last day of travel, and for any intervening days.

  3. Dinner:  When travel begins at/or before 4 p.m. of the first day of travel or extends at/or beyond 8 p.m. on the last day of travel, and for any intervening days.

 

  1. Alcohol: Reimbursement for alcohol is prohibited.

 

  1. EXCEPTIONS

    Fifty percent (50%) Over Allowances – The Director of the funding source may allow employees to exceed the lodging provisions of these regulations by no more than fifty percent (50%) on a case-by-case basis.  Each case must be fully documented as to necessity (e.g., proximity to meeting place) and cost effectiveness of alternative options. Documentation must be readily available in travel reimbursement files.  This authority shall not be delegated to other persons.

    Reimbursement requests must be accompanied by receipts.

 

  1. TRAVELER’S MEALS (including tax and tips)

    Travelers may be reimbursed the following amounts for meals:


    Breakfast 

    $ 9.00

    Lunch

    $13.00

    Dinner

    $29.00

    Total

    $51.00

 

Receipts are not required for routine meals within these allowances.  The number of meals claimed must be shown on the travel expense report.

 

  1. CONFERENCE LODGING

    Travelers may be reimbursed actual expenses for conference hotel lodging at single occupancy rates if the reservations are made at the actual conference hotel.  When reservations are not available at the conference hotel and multi-hotels are offered in conjunction with a conference, traveler shall seek prices and utilize the least expensive. In the event all conference hotels are unavailable, the traveler is subject to making reservations within the hotel rate set by the conference.

 

SECTION VI:  PARKING AND RELATED EXPENSES

 

Tips for valet parking not to exceed $2 per day.

 

SECTION VII:  REIMBURSEMENT FOR OTHER EXPENSES

 

  1. The following expenses incidental to travel may be reimbursed:

 

  1. Charges for storage and handling of equipment (receipts required)

  2. Tips for baggage handling not to exceed $1 per bag for a maximum of three (3) bags.  For in- state baggage handling the above allowance may be paid one time upon arrival of each check-in and one time upon departure of each checkout where handling is applicable.

  3. Registration fees at conferences.  Meals that are a designated integral part of the conference may be reimbursed on an actual expense basis with prior approval by the Director of the funding source.

  4. Taxi and bus fares.

  5. Personal memberships in organizations are not reimbursable.

 

SECTION VIII: SPECIAL MEALS

 

  1. Reimbursement designed for those occasions when, as a matter of extraordinary courtesy or necessity, it is appropriate and in the best interest of the parish to use public funds for provision of a meal to a person who is not otherwise eligible for such reimbursement and where reimbursement is not available from another source.

 

  1. Visiting dignitaries or state-level persons for other governmental units, and persons providing identified gratuity services to the parish.  This explicitly does not include normal visits, meetings, reviews, etc., by federal or local representatives.

  2. Extraordinary situations are when parish employees are required by the Superintendent to work more than a twelve-hour weekday or six-hour weekend (when such are not normal working hours to meet crucial deadlines or to handle emergencies).

 

  1. All special meals must have prior approval from the Superintendent in order to be reimbursed, unless specific authority for approval has been delegated to the Director of Business Affairs for a period not to exceed one fiscal year.

  2. All of the following must be submitted for review and approval of the Superintendent or his/her designee prior to reimbursement:

 

  1. Detailed breakdown of all expenses incurred, with appropriate receipts.

  2. Subtraction of cost of any alcoholic beverages.

  3. Copy of prior written approval from the Superintendent or designee.

  4. Receipts.

 

Revised:  April, 2005

Revised:  September 5, 2019

 

 

Ref:    Board minutes, 11-12-87, 2-9-88, 1-13-05, 9-5-19

 

Natchitoches Parish School Board