706R - Business Expense Charges and Reimbursement

Request for reimbursement from School Board funds will be honored only for business related trips approved in advance by the superintendent or his/her designee. Employees must obtain prior approval for any travel to be taken out of town or which will take employees away from their normal place of work. A conference approval form must be completed and approved by the school principal or supervisor before reimbursement can be authorized. Business expenses shall be limited to only those expenses that are reasonable and necessary for providing essential services to students of FCPS. Travelers must seek ways to reduce the cost of essential travel. 
 
A. Meal Expenses–when traveling 
 
The following amounts provide guidelines upon which to base charges or reimbursement requests for meals (including tips) when traveling on official school business:  
Breakfast.......................................................................................$ 10.00 
Lunch.............................................................................................$ 10.00                        Dinner............................................................................................$ 25.00
TOTAL (including tips).................................................................. $ 45.00  
NOTE:    1) Per diem proration may apply for one day conferences and travel days. 
              2) Reimbursable tips for restaurant service shall not exceed twenty percent.
              3) Reimbursement for meals for day trips (day trips are defined as travel away from the employee’s home not requiring an overnight stay) are                    taxable to the employee.
1. To permit travelers additional flexibility in managing travel meal budgets, a meal rollover policy is permitted.
 
Under this policy, each traveler may save all or a portion of the individual meal expense guideline amount allowed but not incurred during any one meal and spend that saved portion for another meal on the same day of travel. This meal rollover policy provides charging or reimbursement only for actual costs incurred by a single traveler up to the maximum amount allowed for the meals during a single day of travel.  
 
2. For travel conducted in support of sponsored programs, the superintendent or designee may authorize the use of meal guidelines stipulated by the sponsoring organization in the grant or contract.  
 
3. Itemized receipts for meals are required and must be attached to travel expense reimbursement vouchers when requesting reimbursement. Meal expenses charged to a Frederick County Public Schools credit card in excess of these guidelines must be reimbursed to Frederick County Public Schools.  
 
4. Meals will not be reimbursed if purchased in Winchester City or Frederick County. Exceptions to this guideline may include expenses incurred when conducting business with guests of the school division or serving as a representative of the school division.  
 
5. When a traveler is attending an approved conference where the meal is included at a specified price, it is permissible for the traveler to charge or be reimbursed for the amount charged by the conference.  
 
6. The following occurrences require prorating of per diem amounts.   
a. On a travel departure or return day, the 7 o’clock rule will be the guideline. If the traveler departs to a conference prior to 7:00 a.m., the allotment for breakfast will be allowed. If the traveler departs to a conference prior to 7:00 p.m., the dinner allotment will be allowed. Likewise, if the traveler returns home and arrives after 7:00 p.m., the dinner allotment will be allowed. Also, the 7 o’clock rule includes a reimbursable lunch allotment, unless lunch is provided by the conference. (This applies to out-of-town travel only.)  
 
The purpose of the 7 o’clock rule is to provide a reasonable guideline from which to approve partial days.  
 
b. When meals are provided at no cost in conjunction with travel events, the allowable per diem rate is reduced and the rollover policy does not apply.  
 7. Reimbursements for meals related to attendance at training, conferences, seminars, etc. in conjunction with local day travel are not allowed unless purchase of a meal is a prerequisite for participating in the function. The reimbursement is taxable to the employee.
    
B. Other Business Related  
 
Other incidental expenses related to business travel such as tips, parking fees, and/or tolls are reimbursable to the traveler. A receipt is required for reimbursement claims for incidental expenses greater than $10 each.  
 
When traveling overnight, one personal phone call is permitted and shall not exceed $2.00. All other personal calls are not reimbursable.
 
    
C. Use of School Board-Owned Vehicles  
 
The Assistant Superintendent of Administration shall be responsible for the supervision and operation of the motor vehicle pool.  
 
 
D. Mileage Reimbursement–Use of Personally Owned Automobiles   
1. Out of Frederick County Travel  
a. Use of a school board-owned vehicle is more economical to the school division in most cases and provides division insurance coverage to the driver and passengers.  
 
b. Employees are encouraged to request a school board-owned vehicle for out of town travel. The request to drive a school board-owned vehicle should be on either the Conference Approval form or the Permission to Use FCPS-Owned Vehicle form.  
 
c. Employees are permitted to use their personally-owned automobile when a school board-owned vehicle is not available, or when the use of a personally-owned vehicle is cost-beneficial to the school division. In these cases, the employee will be reimbursed at the approved mileage rate per mile. Employees electing to use their personal vehicle as a matter of convenience will be reimbursed for mileage at one-half of the approved higher rate per mile.  
 
d. The cost associated with the mileage reimbursement will be charged to the department’s budget if a school board-owned vehicle is not requested. If a car is requested and is not available, the cost associated with the mileage reimbursement will be charged to the divisionwide vehicle services account.   
 
2. Local travel (travel within the boundaries of Winchester City and Frederick County)   
a. Department directors may approve the use of a personally-owned vehicle for business-related travel during the regular day. If approved, the employee will be reimbursed at the approved rate per mile.  
 
b. Itinerant teachers using their personal cars within the division are responsible for providing, at their own expense, travel from home to the designated school or base-site and back each day. Any routine business-related mileage conducted during the regular day that exceeds this home-to-work or work-to-home travel will be reimbursed at the approved higher rate per mile. Itinerant teachers are not required to seek approval for the use of a personally-owned vehicle for business-related travel during the regular day.  
 
c. The cost associated with the mileage reimbursement will be charged to the department’s budget if a school board-owned vehicle is not requested. Exception: Itinerant in-county travel cost will be charged to the divisionwide vehicle services account. If a car is requested and is not available, the cost associated with the mileage reimbursement will be charged to the divisionwide vehicle services account. 
 
3. Reimbursement rates shall follow the Virginia rates published at the beginning of each fiscal year by the Office of Comptroller as set forth in their State Travel Regulations and shall be announced annually. 
    
4. Mileage to/from home and work is not reimbursable. Reimbursement shall be calculated from base location to other business site, unless mileage from home to business site is shorter.
  
5. Employees electing to use a school board-owned vehicle will be covered by Frederick County Public Schools’ insurance. Employees electing to use their personally-owned vehicle should realize that the employee’s auto insurance coverage will be in effect. Transporting other FCPS employees or students as passengers in a personally-owned vehicle is discouraged.   
 
E. Disallowed Expenses  
1. lost, stolen, or damaged articles
 
2. alcoholic beverages
 
3. movies/entertainment
 
4. personal phone calls over the one allowed on overnight trips
 
5. towing charges
 
6. all expenses related to personal negligence, such as fines
 
7. expenses for children, spouses, and companions
 
8. any other expense not necessary or directly related to the purpose of the travel  
 
 
F. Travel Advances  
 
Travel (cash) advances are not permitted.  
 
 
G. Payment of Reimbursements  
 
Reimbursement will not be made unless proper documentation as described in this regulation is provided using the Travel Reimbursement/Credit Card Detail form or approved Student Trip Request form. A properly computed form shall be submitted to the school principal or other supervisor for approval. All forms for the fiscal year ending June 30 shall be submitted to the finance department no later than July 10.  
 
 
H. Exceptions  
 
Should the superintendent, or designee, determine that circumstances justify charges or reimbursements in excess of these guidelines, an explanation justifying the higher amount(s), and the superintendent or designee's signature of approval must be included on the charge voucher or travel reimbursement form.  
 
 
I. Other Policy References  
 
Policy 723P, Operations and Finance–Use of Credit Cards  
Policy 568P, Personnel–Driver Eligibility
 
 
  
 
 
Approved: May 24, 1995  
Amended: August 14, 2001  
Amended: August 2, 2006  
Amended: April 15, 2009  
Amended: December 20, 2012
Amended: July 1, 2014