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Change is constant for Brenda Rantz.
The longtime chief financial officer of Nixa Public Schools says she has to be ready for change at all times, whether it’s variations in state funding, priorities or resources.
“The thing about a CFO of a school is that there’s a lot of moving parts going on behind the scenes,” Rantz says. “A lot of the issues you run into is that funding is dependent on the state and what the state does. We’re reliant upon our local taxpayers and our property values. That’s probably one of the biggest challenges – making sure you have enough funding to support the programs the district wants to have.”
Rantz has worked with Nixa Public Schools for 35 years, where she started in a payroll and accounting position in 1984 until 1994. She’s since been CFO, finance director and treasurer of the district’s board of education. With a seat on the Superintendent’s Cabinet, Rantz also has worked with Nixa Public School’s last five superintendents.
“Our school boards over the years have had confidence in me and have allowed me to blossom into where I am. I’m very thankful they saw something in me to allow me to grow,” she says.
Rantz oversees the district’s $65 million-$70 million budget and manages payroll and employee benefits and all aspects of accounts payable and purchasing. She’s also managed almost $94 million in general obligation bond loans for the district’s construction projects.
“We try to get things going (for the district) as smooth as possible,” she says. “The main goal in public schools is the education of our children.”
For the last 12 years, the district has seen an average per student expenditure of $2,000 less than the state average student expenditure under Rantz’s direction and cost saving practices, including the implementation of LED lighting, a revenue share program and pay cards that eliminated time processing paper checks.
New ideas or suggestions are always encouraged, Rantz says.
“Those that I work with will hear me say, ‘I love to see things through your eyes,’ because we can grow from that,” she says. “I’ve never liked the saying, ‘We’ve always done it like that,’ because to grow, you have to change. Keeping that in the forefront helps everyone.”
Rantz’s entire career has been spent in the accounting and business world. Her interest in accounting stemmed from a teacher who shared the passion. In recent years, Rantz has made time to teach finance classes at Missouri State University. She says teaching is something that may be in her future.
Rantz also serves on the Missouri School Boards’ Association and the Missouri Association of School Business Officials, as well as MoASBO legislative committee.
In 2015, Rantz was honored with the MSBA’s Outstanding Board of Education in School Finance Award. She was also named Official of the Year by MoASBO in 2003.
Rantz has been asked to present on the local and state levels for the school associations and the national School Public Relations Association.
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