Articles tagged with school board members

NSBA urges action to prevent across-the-board federal cuts to education

Federal funding for education faces significant across-the-board cuts of an estimated $4.1 billion on January 2, 2013 unless U.S. Congress takes action. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging Congress to rescind the across-the-board cuts (sequestration) to education. Impact Aid would face cuts during this school year, and other education programs would face cuts beginning in July of 2013, affecting the 2013-2014 school districts’ budgets. See the U.S. Department of Education’s letter that details the timing. NSBA is encouraging school board members to contact their members of Congress, pass board resolutions, and send a letter to the editor about these drastic cuts to education.

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011 across-the-board cuts of 7.8 percent or more to education and other domestic programs will happen through a process called sequestration (the cancellation of budgetary resources), unless Congress intervenes.

Cuts would include:

  • A 7.8 percent cut to programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students would mean a cut of more than $1 billion, affecting nearly two million students.
  • Special education grants would be reduced by more than $900 million, impacting nearly 500,000 children with disabilities.
  • English Language Acquisition grants would be cut by approximately $60 million, affecting an estimated 377,000 students.
  • Sequestration’s budget cuts to these and other education programs would mean increased class sizes and less access to programs for children with special needs, as well as summer school, college counselors, early childhood education and after-school programming.

Most school districts have experienced significant budget cuts already in recent years, resulting in fewer course offerings, thousands of teacher and staff layoffs, four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, and reduced transportation services, for example. If further budget cuts from sequestration were to occur, several school districts would be forced to cut even more essential services over the long term.

As a school board member, utilize these talking points and background information and take a moment to customize this sample letter and send it to your senators and representative. Also consider customizing and adopting the sample board resolution, take the survey, and edit and send a letter to your local newspaper editor.

Please send NSBA a copy of your adopted resolutions on sequestration along with any published opinions that will help illustrate why Congress should reject sequestration and preserve funding for our schools.

Alexis Rice|September 12th, 2012|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |

NYSSBA: “Let’s try a little bragging”

The following commentary is written by Rebecca Albright, a school board member in New York, and was originally published by the New York State School Boards Association.

In the beginning I had just two children. When my son and daughter were five and two, respectively, I adopted 1,200 others between the ages of 5 and 21.

Other school board members know the feeling. When I was first elected to the Wilson school board in Niagara County in 1986, I felt like I became “mom” in a much broader sense of the word. These were all my kids!

In 1994 I was elected to Orleans/Niagara BOCES and my brood grew to 37,000, give or take. I don’t remember their birthdays and they will never get my car keys, but they are mine nonetheless! I fret over them, I advocate for them, and I brag about them every chance I get.

I feel fully entitled to brag. It’s what moms and dads do.

There is a distinct difference between advocating and bragging. Advocating is speaking up for public education and the resources we need. I do a lot of that when I visit legislators, but bragging is bringing attention to what these kids are actually doing.

You don’t like the term “bragging”? How about “broadcasting success”? As school board members, we’re privy to lots of information that average community members don’t have. I think it’s our duty to share the good news. People rarely hear it anywhere else!

In the current economic and regulatory climate, I think we all find board work stressful. But when I brag, I light up. Bragging brings a thrill to these old bones. It’s exhilarating and energizing.

Is there anything better than seeing the faces of kids when you talk in a way that lets them know that you think they are special and that you are proud of them? Do you notice how they sit up straighter, maybe even smile a bit? Ever tried that with their parents? Have you tried that with community members who aren’t parents or whose children have grown?

One of the biggest contributions we can make as school leaders is expressing appreciation for the hard work and good results that occur every day in our schools despite all the issues that we grapple with in our boardrooms.

Recognizing accomplishments is not only good for kids, it’s good for you. When you see students, staff or community members puffed up with a sense of accomplishment, that feeling of well-being is infectious. It can easily outweigh all the other concerns that trouble us.

So here is Bragging 101: talk about students as if they are your own flesh and blood. In the same way parents are quick to open their wallets (or smart phones) and show photos of their kids, you ought to have something handy to show people or brag about. Ask your superintendent for a “cheat sheet” of facts – maybe in graphical form – on student achievements, graduation percentages, student athlete teams, the scholarship monies earned. When someone asks you how the kids are  doing, give them an answer that they’ll remember and repeat to others!

Of all the duties that come with being a school board member, this is one you will truly enjoy. And it will be good for the students and the district, too. So, brag a little. After all, they really are your kids.

Rebecca Albright is president of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES board and host of “Your Public Schools” on LCTV public access television in Lockport.

Joetta Sack-Min|August 24th, 2012|Categories: Board governance, Public Advocacy, School Boards, State School Boards Associations, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |

September issue of ASBJ now online

It’s goes without saying that school board members are public education’s greatest advocates. But just in case you needed more evidence, thumb through the pages of the September issue of ASBJ, which is devoted to the many and powerful ways school board members influence and fight for schools and students.

Included in the package are examples and profiles of local governance  at its best. Prepare to be inspired and invigorated by the great work that can be accomplishished when people have the heart, the will and the tools to make a difference.

Naomi Dillon|September 2nd, 2011|Categories: American School Board Journal, Board governance, Leadership, NSBA Publications|Tags: , , |
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