Articles tagged with school board

Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act introduced in U.S. Congress

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) praised today’s introduction of the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act in the U.S. House of Representatives that would protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Local school boards and local educators play a vital role in educating our nation’s schoolchildren which should not be eroded by unnecessary federal regulations,” said C. Ed Massey, NSBA President and member of Kentucky’s Boone County Board of Education. “The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act would ensure that local school boards have the ability to make decisions to create greater academic success for all students, efficiency, and responsiveness to the desires of local communities.”

This legislation, introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), would ensure that the U.S. Department of Education’s actions are consistent with the specific intent of federal law and are educationally, operationally, and financially supportable at the local level. This would also establish several procedural steps that the Department of Education would need to take prior to initiating regulations, rules, grant requirements, guidance documents, and other regulatory materials. The legislation is also supported by the American Association of School Administrators.

“In recent years local school board members and educators have become increasingly concerned that the local governance of our nation’s school districts is being unnecessarily eroded through over reaching federal policies and requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “Public education decisions made at the federal level must support the needs and goals of local school districts and the communities they serve. The U.S. Department of Education should not be imposing its rules and priorities to our nation’s more than 13,500 school districts by trying to by-pass Congress and input from the local level. “

Additionally, the legislation is intended to provide the House of Representatives and Senate committees that oversee education with better information regarding the local impact of U.S. Department of Education’s activities. The legislation is also designed to more broadly underscore the role of Congress as the federal policy-maker in education and through its representative function.

“As a former school board president, I believe that the combination of parents, educators, employers and the local community must work together to ensure all children develop the skills and acquire the educational tools they will need to become successful. I believe a big part of this is ensuring local school boards do not have their authority eroded by regulators in Washington,” said Schock. “Not all education regulations are misguided, but the ones that are need to be taken off the books. The focus has to be expanding the opportunity to learn; not tying the hands of local administrators with more red tape by federal bureaucrats. My legislation ensures this encroachment does not continue and restores the local authority school boards need.”

NSBA is encouraging school board members to contact their members of Congress to support passage of this legislation.

Alexis Rice|March 21st, 2013|Categories: Federal Programs, Federal Advocacy|Tags: , , , , |

School board success story: Improving graduation rates in Montana

Missoula County School Board Chair Toni Rehbein and Superintendent Alex Apostle.

Missoula County School Board Chair Toni Rehbein and Superintendent Alex Apostle.

January’s American School Board Journal (ASBJ) features the success story of the Missoula County Public School Board of Trustees’s goal of having 100 percent  of its students finish high school.

Examine how a superintendent, school board, and community leaders  in Missoula, Mont. banded together to identify the scope of the problem, develop strategies to improve the graduation rate, and then implemented a program that’s making a difference in student lives—and has inspired the Montana state government to start a similar program of its own.

This is a new feature for 2013 in  ASBJ  and each month an innovative school board success story will be profiled.

Alexis Rice|January 31st, 2013|Categories: Governance, High Schools, Board governance, Student Achievement, Leadership, Student Engagement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |

What would you do if parents lobbied your school board on adding athletic offerings

The August edition of ASBJ ‘s Adviser Poll poses this question to our readers:

A group of parents lobbied the school board to make archery one of the athletic offerings at the high school level. Their middle school children were very involved with the sport and they wanted them to continue in junior and varsity teams at the high school. The school board was hesitant because of the costs but the parents promised they would raise money to cover the expenses. What should the board do?

Vote and tell us what you think on our Facebook page.


Naomi Dillon|July 31st, 2012|Categories: School Boards, Athletics, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Is being a school board member more than a volunteer role?

BoardBuzz likes The Seattle Times editorial columnist Lynne K. Varner’s piece this week on the need for school board members in Seattle to be paid. In  “Time to pay school board members,” Varner noted:  

Everyone should occasionally rethink closely held convictions. In this summer of watching Seattle School Board candidates on the political hustings, here’s mine: It is time to pay board members.

I mean a salary, not the current per diem capped at $4,800 a year. In the past, I bought into the notion that community service comes gratis. You don’t get paid for giving back.

That rule may still hold true in small, homogeneous districts. But those vying for a seat on Seattle’s School Board are seeking responsibility for a large, complex, billion-dollar enterprise. While district watchers can be like the proverbial blind men feeling different parts of an elephant — knowing everything about the trunk, little about the legs — board members must understand the whole.

But too often they don’t. I recently called on the public to send me questions for board candidates. The breadth and depth of queries underscored a public expectation that board members deeply immerse themselves in policy and personnel issues. I agree. But that’s more than a volunteer role.

Varner also cited research from the National School Board Association’s School Boards Circa 2010: Governance in the Accountability Era in her justification that Seattle school board members should be paid:

Most of the country’s 14,000 school districts offer only small allowances for meetings and travel. Seattle should join the growing number of large and urban districts shifting to salaried positions, captured in a report by the National School Boards Association.

Share your comments! Let us know if you agree with Varner’s analysis.

Alexis Rice|July 29th, 2011|Categories: School Boards, Board governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , |

New year, new board, new attitude for Clayton County officials

As we move into 2009, it’s time to rehabilitate the reputation of the Clayton County Public Schools and its school board.

For most of last year, Clayton County was the nation’s poster child of a school board “gone bad.” Some board members interfered in administrative matters. They bickered at board meetings. They accused one another of wrongdoing and asked state officials to conduct investigations of their colleagues.

It was as dysfunctional a school board as existed. And ultimately, it paid the price. An outraged public demanded that board members resign. Those that resisted were removed from office by the governor. And the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools stripped the school system of its accreditation.

But that’s the past. And it’s important to make that clear. The old board is gone-all nine members swept from office-and a new board is attempting to pick up the pieces and rebuild public confidence in the school board and the school system.

They’re making progress. Very conscious of the need to break away from the past, the new board at its December meeting stuck strictly to its agenda, limited board member remarks, and followed parliamentary procedures to a degree I’ve seldom seen.

It was as dull a board meeting as I’ve intended in 30 years. And, given the sad drama of past meetings, that’s a compliment.

Why was I at the meeting? I visited Clayton County as part of my research into a “case study” of the old board and what went wrong it. The article will appear in the March ASBJ.

It’s not a pretty story. The old board talked a lot about the “needs of the children,” but when push came to shove, board members often succumbed to the personal animosity and suspicions that had grown between them. In the end, they could not simply shut up and get on with the business at hand.

(In my magazine article, I believe I chose more diplomatic language to make that point.)

Naomi Dillon|January 15th, 2009|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , |

Poster child of board dysfunction works to change image, status

The new school board in Clayton County, Ga., has quite a challenge facing it.

In January, the last of the newly elected board members will take their oaths of office-and the nine-member school board will be back at full strength after months of controversy and turmoil that saw the resignation or forced removal of every member of the previous board.

Any school board is going to have a tough time when its members are new and inexperienced-and there are no “old hands” to provide some institutional memory.

But those times are tougher when a school board must operate in the shadow of its predecessor, which lost the public’s confidence after public bickering, allegations of micromanagement and interfering in personnel decisions, and violations of the state ethics and open meetings laws.

In the end, several board members resigned, one was removed from office for living outside his district, and the rest were kicked out of office by the governor-all before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) delivered the coup de grace by stripping the school system of its accreditation.

Today, the Clayton County school board is very conscious of the need to do its job well in the coming months-and of the hard work facing it. This board of novices must, in just the next few months, decide on a possible superintendent’s search, develop a strategic plan for the school system, write a new budget in the midst of tough economic times, and deal with the politically sensitive issue of redrawing school boundary lines.

Oh, and of course, it must convince SACS to restore the school system’s accreditation.


Naomi Dillon|December 18th, 2008|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |
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