Friday, March 8, 2013

Supplemental Material for March 11, 2013 Board Meeting

Here are the supplemental materials for the School Board meeting to be held next Monday, March 11, at 7pm at Tharp Sixth Grade School.

There's a lot of meat in these materials. For starters, it includes the Monthly Financial Report prepared by the Treasurer. It's actually a collection of several reports, including a list of every Accounts Payable check written during the entire month. You'll see that there are some whoppers - like the checks for $millions to fund the payroll account, pay the health insurance bills, and send the contributions to the several retirement systems. But it also includes all the little checks - everything is there for inspection. I review this list every month, and frequently ask the Treasurer about items that catch my eye.

There is also a substantial report from the Board's Policy Review Committee, including a list of policy changes the Committee recommends be adopted. Some of this enanates from advice we receive from the Ohio School Boards Association. When the General Assembly passes a law dealing with the public education system, it often includes language like "The Boards of Education shall implement policies which..."  The OSBA monitors these changes to the law, and drafts model language for the local school boards. Our Policy Review Committee uses that input, and input from the Administration, to draft language specific to our school district. That's what you see in this report.

Over the course of three school board meetings, these policy changes are on the agenda for discussion, should there be any. On the third reading, it is customary to pass a resolution to adopt the policies, making them 'law' for our district.

Some very important policies are on the list this time around, notably a pair of policies which address the new evaluation processes for teachers and administrators. I'm asking that the Administration brief us on this. I'm particularly concerned about the additional workload this places on our administrators, from the principals who must evaluate the teachers, to the central office administrators who must evaluate the principals.

Policy IKA enumerates the changes to the graduation requirements which will be phased in over the next several years. I note in particular the requirement that all students, starting with the Class of 2014, must pass Algebra II to graduate. I'd like to understand more about this new requirement, both in terms of what it might mean to staffing, and whether we anticipate that it will have a negative impact on graduation rates. I'm just not convinced that being able to solve systems of quadratic equations is a skill necessary for each and every member of our society.

If it were up to me, I'd put a lot more resources into making sure folks understand basic economics and personal financial management - crucial skills in a capitalistic democracy, especially now that the relatively brief era of defined benefit pensions is all but over.

I encourage you to read the summary of the policy changes, and let me or another Board member know if you have any concerns.

1 comment:

  1. Capitalisitic democracy!? I hope you were trying to be funny!