BOARD NOTES AND ORGANIZATION
During the first meeting of January, the School Board goes through a reorganization process. With three new school board members, quite a bit of change happened within the school board committee and leadership assignments. I would like to use space within this article to review some of the duties and assignments.
The start of the reorganization process is the installation of new board members. Jason Wesenberg was installed to office shortly after the election in November as he was elected to complete the term of Richard Bohannon. Sunny Hesse and Shannon Humbert were sworn in as new members in January and Lynn Schurman returned to her seat on the School Board.
Kara Habben was elected by the members to serve as School Board Chair. Lynn Schurman and Lisa Demuth continued in their roles as Vice Chair and Clerk of the Board. Jason Wesenberg was selected for the role of Treasurer. Sunny Hesse and Shannon Humbert serve as Directors.
One of the important elements to the function of our School Board is the work of various committees. Our committee structure has several different levels to it.
Some of the assignments are “committees of the School Board.” These committees, essentially, have been established to help carry out the work of the School Board. These committees include assignments such as negotiations, policy review, facilities and grounds, and district finance.
Other committees include district-wide work to which board members are assigned but the work of the committee is more in the nature of district responsibility rather than focused on the School Board. These “major” committees include our Staff Development, Response to Intervention, Curriculum and Instruction, and Technology committees. The majority of the members of the committees are drawn from school staff but a School Board member is also assigned to the group.
In other cases, the board members serve as representatives of the district but the organization is primarily “located” outside district direction. These assignments include roles such as the liaison to the Booster Club, the Schools for Equity in Education organization, the Benton-Stearns Education District, and other responsibilities.
BOARD MEMBER PORTFOLIO
Each School Board member carries a number of duties and responsibilities. We refer to these as the board member “portfolio.” The portfolio represents the duties assigned to each school board member.
The portfolio includes the duties within the School Board Committees, District Committees, and representative assignments both in and out of the district.
An example of a portfolio would be to look at the assignments of an individual board member. Member Habben, as described above, serves as the Chair of the School Board but also is assigned to committees and representative responsibilities. Kara’s portfolio, then, includes the Facilities and Grounds Committee, the Board Finance Committee, School Assignment Appeals, Booster Club Liaison, ECFE Advisory Council, Media Reevaluation of Resources and Schools for Equity in Education.
Included in the submission to the Record is a full list of the School Board member assignments as well as a summary of the School Board member portfolios.
The importance of the portfolio is that community members and staff should be able to connect with Kara on any of these particular assignments as she represents the district on these topics. Again, each board member has a unique combination of assignments and responsibilities.
UPCOMING BOARD MEETING
On February 13, the School Board will conduct its next meeting. As has become our custom, we expect to have a brief “regular” meeting to complete any formal action that needs to come before the board. Many of the expected items will be action in relation to personnel assignments and requests.
The second meeting is a “work session.” During a work session, the board reviews information, plans and topics without taking formal action. There is much discussion about ideas and opportunity is provided for board members to learn about issues, ask questions about topics, or request additional information about issues. The work session’s purpose is exactly as the term implies—it is to work through ideas and issues but without taking formal action.
At the work session on the 13th, the School Board will hear from the Secondary administration about strategic plans and initiatives that are underway at the site.
For much of the spring, another major topic during monthly work sessions will be information related to the development of the budget for the next fiscal year. The board will see, in budget discussion, some of the direct implications of budget assumptions along with projections on enrollment and staffing.
The leadership roles within the School Board are important elements in helping the district move forward. The work of committees and representative assignments are critical to the successful work of the district.
The spring of the year is very busy as we shift from implementation of issues within the current year to planning for the upcoming school year. Budget development, along with the background information to get to the budget, is a topic that engages a great deal of time, attention and discussion throughout the spring.