Sunday, August 11, 2019

School Board should direct, not manage

The Special Called Board Meeting on August 6, 2019 should prompt a reminder to board members of their own duties and powers.

The board directs. It does not manage the School District. That's the job of the Superintendent. He is the Administrator, and he alone tells staff what to do and not do.

During the nitpicking of the Meal Plan Debt segment of the meeting (which should have been a five-minute report), many requests were made to staff members; ex., copies of letters to be sent to parents; information about the debt per school, the age of the debt, etc.

The questions are fine, but they should have been directed to the superintendent.

A review of certain Board Policies might be helpful to some of the board members.

Policy BBA Board Powers and Duties reads, in part, 
The board will employ a superintendent to serve as the chief executive officer. In that role, the superintendent performs administrative duties for the board by virtue of the powers delegated to him/her. The board will hold the superintendent accountable for the proper and efficient administration of the district.

Policy BBAA Board Member Authority And Responsibilities reads, in part,

The board and its members will deal with administrative services through the superintendent and will not give orders to any subordinates of the superintendent either publicly or privately but may make suggestions and recommendations.

Policy BC Board Member Conduct reads, in part, 

It is the responsibility of each board member to do the following (in part):
  • Understand that the basic function of a school board is policymaking, not administration, and accept the responsibility of learning to discriminate intelligently between these two functions.
It may be necessary for the superintendent to run interference and "protect" his employees from Board Member requests. I'm confident that CFO Miley and Will Anderson are creating carefully-worded letters that should prompt responses from parents regarding the meal debt.

The original plan was to send three letters to parents. At the meeting it was explained that the superintendent directed the staff to send four letters, with the fourth letter informing parents that the debt would be sent to Collection, if a parent did not contact the District about the debt.

How many times do you have to ask for parents to step up to their responsibility? The three-letter plan was sufficient. If you continue to ask and ask and ask, parents actually learn that they don't have to respond, because you will just keep asking. Keep in mind that they had plenty of warning of the increasing debt through weekly phone calls and emails, which they must have ignored.