CSBA conference, day three

CSBA conference, day three

Day Three provided more great opportunities for personal growth as a new board member. Once again, I had a smorgasbord of breakout sessions to choose from in the morning, and CSBA had another incredible speaker in store for us at our afternoon general session. My first breakout session of the day was titled Governing for Student Achievement and was was incredibly informational. If you’re not afraid of some heavy reading, you may want to check out two of the publications referenced in the session: Governing to Achieve and Defining Governance: Engaging the Community. In short, the session outlined the three primary roles of all board members: Representative: We represent our constituents, listening to them and bringing their voices to the table. Instrumental: We are elected and have legal responsibilities to keep the district legally compliant to ed code and state law Fiduciary: We are chosen by the community to protect the district and treat its assets better than we treat our own Some of my takeaways from this morning’s session about interest-based bargaining include: Everyone takes ownership over the issues trying to be solved. Key principles of the approach: Mutual respect and professionalism Strong and straightforward communication Honesty and integrity Collaborative problem solving My second morning session was titled Best Practices for LCFF Community Engagement. If you’ve never heard of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) or Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), the California State PTA has a good primer that can be found here. In essence, the gist of the session was this: There is no such thing as too much community involvement. Parents and community members are a valued and integral piece in the LCAP process, and...
CSBA conference, day two

CSBA conference, day two

Day Two proved to be another excellent primer in board governance. I had the ability to choose from a handful of excellent breakout sessions in the morning, and settled on the two that I felt would be the most beneficial in my own education as a new trustee. Our afternoon general session was must-see TV. My first session was titled Enhancing Employee/Employer Relationships Through an Interest-Based Approach and was presented by Tustin USD; the speakers included a current board member, a former teachers association president, and the district’s Chief Personnel Officer. I found it very fitting that the three different levels of district leadership were able to speak together about interest-based bargaining—a feat which, alone, speaks volumes for the merits of the approach. Some of my takeaways from this morning’s session about interest-based bargaining include: Everyone takes ownership over the issues trying to be solved. Key principles of the approach: Mutual respect and professionalism Strong and straightforward communication Honesty and integrity Collaborative problem solving   My second morning session was titled Best Practices for LCFF Community Engagement. If you’ve never heard of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) or Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), California State PTA has a site that helps spell out the basics of this incredibly important new school funding law. This session highlighted the importance of including parents, students, and community members in the decision-making process. Some of the highlights of my second session include: Students, parents, and community members should be heard, valued, and reflected in school budget decisions Heard – Really listened to Valued – Their input should actually be used in decision-making Reflected – Feedback loop is...
CSBA conference, day one

CSBA conference, day one

First stop on my San Francisco tour was the California School Boards Association (CSBA) Orientation for New Trustees. Today’s orientation was titled Preparation for the First 100 Days, and covered a variety of key topics essential for new board members like myself. There were introductions to CSBA’s executive team, and then presentations that ranged from effective governance to financial and legal responsibilities, the Brown Act, and collective bargaining. Takeaways from Day One include: The five responsibilities of school boards: Set the direction Establish the structure Create a supportive environment Ensure accountability Demonstrate community leadership throughout Legal responsibilities and limitations (presented by representatives from the Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard law firm) The only power as a governing board member is to act as part of the board as a whole, no individual power to act on behalf of district. Board members do not supervise a district’s employees, just the superintendent. Confidential information cannot be leaked. Board members may not engage in political activities at schools or at board meetings. There is a limitation on gifts, and they must be reported. If a board member moves outside the jurisdiction of their district then they are immediately removed from the board by law. A board member’s spouse cannot be hired by the district while the board member is serving. The Brown Act This is the law that requires all meetings of public bodies to be “open and public.” It also protects the public from collusion or secret meetings. This is a very important law for board members, and it’s worthy of further explanation. I will be writing more about the scope of the Brown Act...

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