Let’s “tap” the school system
Any large bureaucracy needs, from time to time, a good “tapping” to get it back into adjustment. As a senior Air Force leader, whether out in the field leading airmen, or at a headquarters managing multi-million dollar budgets, I learned how to “tap” to adjust processes, and sometimes people, back into proper alignment. That’s my mission as a school board member – find the misalignments in the school system and “tap” them back into place.
Transparency – the school board must rebuild trust with the community by maximizing the transparency of school system operations and finances. I would like to see more citizen oversight of the school system’s finances, curriculum development, senior leader selection, and educational material selection – of most every aspect of the school system.
Accountability – the school board must first hold itself, and second, the school system, to the highest standards of financial and professional accountability. People given the privilege of holding public office and of spending of taxpayer money must demonstrate high ethical and professional standards – and they must be held accountable when they do not uphold these standards. An example of accountability: the school system should have a zero based budgeting exercise (as suggested to me by one voter) to ensure that the school system has a thorough and professionally developed planning, budgeting, and execution process for the school system financial plan. To a large degree, financial accountability comes from professionally figuring out “how much money do we need and how should it be spent?” – not just from “we spent the money like we said we would (basically an audit).”
Participation – the school board must do a better job of providing opportunities for all stakeholders in the community – parents, concerned citizens, teachers, school employees – to interact with the school board and to feel seen and appreciated when they speak at school board meetings. In my leadership education work, we say “people don’t trust each other because they don’t know each other.” More, and longer than 3 minute, interactions between school board members and the public will go a long way towards rebuilding trust between all the stakeholders in the school system and in the community. Additionally I, as a school board member, will be consistently out and about to build relationships with all community stakeholders.
Patriotism – the school board should encourage an ethos of a healthy amount of patriotism should permeate our school system, from the board to the employees to the curriculum. We should all be striving to be merely American, looking at each other through a lens of character and performance, not race or gender.
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