JUNCTION CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS WORK SESSION

November 20, 2006

 

MINUTES

 

Board of Directors

 

Administrators

Mike Bonner, Chair

Randy Trummer, Vice-Chair

Denise Pratt

Judy Croce

Mike Brotherton

Jacque Gerdes

 

Kathleen Rodden-Nord, Superintendent

Wanda McClure, Business Manager

 

 

 

 

Staff

Staff

 

Staff and Others

Stephanie White

 

Jill Case

 

Betsy Miller-Jones, OSBA

Steve Lamb, OSBA

 

I.   BOARD LEADERSHIP TRAINING

 

Betsy Miller-Jones, Associate Director of Leadership Services with the Oregon School Boards Association, introduced herself and introduced Steve Lamb, a new member of the Leadership Services Department at OSBA, who was in attendance to observe Betsy’s presentation. Betsy had each participant introduce themselves and explain why they are on the board. Betsy then took the board through a presentation called “Governance, Roles and Responsibilities, and Meetings”.

 

Betsy Miller-Jones – Board members have the most important job in the world; you are in charge of the two most precious things that people have; their kids and their money. “A leader does not use a weather vane to gauge public opinion, but rather a compass to point the direction.” – Ehud Barak, Former Israeli Prime Minister. As a board, you serve as the educational leaders of the district. There is a tendency among boards to wave in the wind with every hot topic, every complaint, every upset group of parents, but to be reactionary and to blow in the wind rather than to plot a steady course of the values and beliefs of the community. It is important for you to think about your role as a leadership team in setting a steady course for your community, one that is based on something that doesn’t vary with the wind, that doesn’t change from day to day.

 

Organization Chart – A school board only has authority when you are sitting as a whole board at a properly posted meeting, and your authority is through the superintendent. In other words, you don’t tell the third grade teacher what to teach on Tuesday, or how to handle “Amy” who misbehaved on Friday. You direct the Superintendent through policies on how to operate. You really are a single body running the district and not seven individuals.

 

School Boards Govern….. Superintendents Manage…..

 

Board Governance is the act of transforming the needs, desires, beliefs, and values of the community into policies and goals that direct the community’s schools. Denise – Our policies tend to be vague for a reason and occasionally we get ourselves involved too much in the actual decision. Betsy – The idea behind policies being vague is that the policy is like a sandbox. Any place in that sandbox is valid, and you actually want your administration making all the decisions within that sandbox. Policies are intended to create guidance for the administration. I have included in the packets the ORS’s that pertain to schools. What you are going to find when looking through these is a lot of the use of the word ‘may’ and not ‘have to’. Finally, at the end of the rules is the word ‘shall’. It says, ‘Each district school board shall establish rules for the government of the schools and pupils consistent with the rules of the State Board of Education.’ The most important thing you do from the legal standpoint is set policy. I pulled out some of your policies that relate to what it is that you are supposed to do, as a board. Those policies can be found in your policy books and in the 3 rd section of this handout. We didn’t have your policy book electronically at OSBA, so that shows that your policies are a little old, but you are using the alpha system and that is good. Most of your policies are from 1997 and could use updating. It is a good idea to have your policies online since they are public record.

 

Roles and ResponsibilitiesRoles of the Board: What (set goals and policies); Why (legislative action, reduce drop-outs); How much (budget, time, volume); vote. The board can only act as a majority, voting in a public meeting. Roles of the Superintendent: How (goal activities, implement policy); When (set timelines, completion dates); By whom (delegate to staff); Recommendations to board. You should always ask, ‘Is this board work or is this administrative work?’ Most of the work that a school board does can be done when kids aren’t in school. Most of the work that administrators do can only be done when kids are in school. There are always grey areas though. Board goals should be specific in terms of an ends statement: ‘Improve all elementary reading scores by 15% over the next two years.’ The implementation and the action plan are administrative work: early intervention; more ESL teachers; change the curriculum; increase reading time per day; start school reading competitions; increase teacher professional development.

 

Governance – The board only has power as a whole, when sitting at a properly convened and posted meeting. The only direct employee of the board is the superintendent. Focus on common goals. Board = Governs = ‘Ends’. Superintendent = Manages = ‘Means’. Leaves of Absence should be done on the consent agenda.

 

Information Requests – Policy BBAA. Public – refer to the appropriate person and or the superintendent. Board member request – remember that staff time = money. Is there a simpler, easier way to get the information? Board requests should be made at a board meeting and action should be taken as a whole board.

 

Complaints – Policy shows the process for complaints. If a group of people come to the board with a complaint, listen, but do not cross-discuss.

 

E-mail – Like the telephone, but not like the telephone. Between board members is dangerous. Superintendent – board members = ok. Reporter – board member = ok, but be careful. When the superintendent queries the board via email, do not reply back to all, just reply back to the superintendent. The superintendent can cross-discuss with individual board members.

 

Adjourn at 8:33 p.m.

 

 

 

 

                                

Superintendent/Clerk             Chair, Board of Directors