By Dave Anderson, ISD 15 School Board Director
In the March-April edition of Journal magazine, published by the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA), there were numerous interesting articles. Because of some recent school board meeting discussions and a school board work session on April 16, I decided to revisit two of the articles again.
The first article that caught my eye was Explaining School Budgets to the Public. I had read this earlier in the month and was able to identify with several of the questions and concerns the school board has received from the public over a number of years.
Coincidently, the work session on April 16 had the school board focused on understanding the process of developing the preliminary budget parameters for the upcoming school year. During this session, answers to questions that came from the public during the course of a school year on why a budget may be designed for a specific outcome or goal were discussed. Seven ISD 15 administrators and program supervisors presented 11 specific topic areas within the budget building process. Each one of the topics had layers of information that helped in building those particular pieces into the total budget. To see how the district-wide information, planning of department budgets, revenue assumptions, expenditures, budget reductions and staffing are all woven together to create a final budget is truly a combined work of many people.
I believe I have a better understanding of the budget process and a clearer understanding of the involvement of those people who help determine the budget forecast. As board members, we may not always have the budget answers, but we should be able to identify the resource people within our district who can help us respond to those questions.
As I mentioned earlier, there were two articles that I found interesting in this edition of the Journal. The second article was the President’s Column, written by Kent Thiesse. This referenced school boards utilizing time during the board meetings or during work sessions to discuss items of interest from the Minnesota Leadership Conference this past January. The author went on to note that the workshop handouts are available for members to download and share. As we have just completed our first successful work session of the 2012 school board, this may be a start to more sessions to help the full board become better educated on topics that come from organizations such as Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA). We also have board members who have or will be attending board member training sessions. This information can be shared to help develop the full board’s knowledge of specific topics of interest.
As school board members we advocate for the training of our instructors to enhance student learning. By taking advantage of similar learning opportunities such as what MSBA provides, we can become more knowledgeable on areas that affect us the most in the board room and the community.
As I scan the Journal one last time, I see an article on none other than, A few basic questions about Parliamentary Procedure. Wow! That could be one complete work session all on its own, but that’s for another time.
Have a great May!