Business Director receives service award, department again recognized for budget presentation

Tom Wall

Tom Wall, Dearborn Public Schools Director of Business Services and Operations, was recognized on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 with a Distinguished Service Award.

Mr. Wall was presented the award by the Michigan School Business Officials during the group’s annual conference in Grand Rapids.

MSBO’s Distinguished Service Award was established in 1987 to pay special tribute to exemplary current or former MSBO members. It is the highest award given to a member and denotes a member who provided inspirational service to MSBO and the school business management community.

“I am humbled to receive this award, and I want to thank MSBO for the support they continue to provide to school officials across the state,” Mr. Wall said.

The Michigan School Business Officials was founded in 1937 as a nonprofit organization to serve the multifaceted interests of education.  The group provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and opportunities for members to expand their professional horizons in the public education sector. 

This year also marked the fifth year in a row that Dearborn Public Schools was recognized for excellence in how it presents its budget.

The Association of School Business Officials International awarded the district a Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for the current 2022-23 fiscal year.  The group’s MBA and Pathway to the MBA promote and recognize the best budget presentation practices in school districts.  

The budget is handled by Tom Wall and his staff.

“We are grateful to receive this recognition. While financial information for such a large district is inherently complicated, we work to make our information and processes understandable and available to our community, including the Board of Education,” Mr. Wall said.

Dearborn Public Schools has an annual budget of $395 million and 20,000 students.  An overview of the district’s financial records is always available on the district website at under Transparency Reporting near the top of the page. The Transparency page includes items like budgets, audits, employee benefit plans, purchasing policies and much more.  

Earlier this school year, the district again received an “unqualified” audit report, which means the outside auditors at Plante Moran did not find any significant issues with how the district handles its finances.  “Unqualified” is the highest type of audit finding.

Meritorious Budget Award participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents.  

“Districts that apply to the MBA or Pathway to the MBA programs recognize the importance of presenting a high-quality, easy-to-understand budget internally and to the community,” ASBO International Executive Director David J. Lewis said. “By participating in the programs, not only do districts have access to the tools and resources they need to communicate the district’s goals and objectives clearly, they demonstrate their commitment to upholding nationally recognized budget presentation standards.”

Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. ASBO International is committed to providing programs, services, and a global network that promote the highest standards in school business.