Skip to content

Preparing, shaping …

November 25, 2018

I spent several hours Friday and again Saturday (11/24/18) studying the school board bylaws and handbook. I have a printed copy and write copious annotations/questions as I read them, almost too many to track or even review. I have a few core issues I want to explore next week at the annual state school board members association conference, and I want to absorb as much as I can from the formal training as well. I’ve been told it’s overwhelming, so I want to be prepared to focus on the more important items (newly elected board member-related) and ignore much of the trade-show and vendor-related demands for attention. I’m told it’s also an important time for familiarity- and trust-building between board members, and as the newly-elected one, I need to get the benefits of that.

The other day I checked the Solano County Checked elections website and found that anyone can look up one’s own registration details and exactly when one voted. (I voted by mail, and it told me when my ballot was both sent to me and received back.) I’m impressed. During the campaign I had learned that it’s public record which community members voted in each election (although it’s cumbersome to obtain that info and involved a fee). For instance, I used that info to target my neighborhood walking and postcard mailing. But I didn’t know you could look up your own registration details in order to confirm that your vote was counted. You can also register or change your registration from the website. It feels empowering as an individual voter. I bet most people don’t know about that.

Ran into board member Joan Gaut when I got home last night; she was working with my wife on plans for a traveling choral group to provide a community concert next spring (details and publicity to come later). They gave me a few assignments related to the publicity materials and program, since I’m handy with basic graphics. This community group, “Music For Our Children,” meets monthly at Gordon’s Music and Sound and looks for ways to support public school music programs. I chatted with Joan about a few board member basics as I prepare for the conference. I often cross paths with Joan as a member of that group. (Come join us!)

Issues percolating in my mind include:

  • how to communicate with community members and fulfill the responsibilities to them outlined in the bylaws. There are a lot of issues that we act on; how keep the community informed? There’s almost too much. Not only issues; also existing information on structure, procedures and programs – too much for even me to master, much less communicate broadly. (This website probably plays a pathetically small role in that, but I’ve got to start somewhere …)
  • How to balance being an advocate/representative of the general public with my role as advocate/representative of the school district (when there’s a conflict, whose side do I take, fundamentally?).
  • How to balance the board’s role as an oversight entity for the superintendent with the board’s role as a collaborator with the superintendent to make progress toward district goals. How maintain proper boundaries for those two roles?
  • How to satisfactorily submit to the will of the board as a whole (I’m only one of seven, and have no authority as an individual) while also developing initiatives and looking for ways to influence them for changes I think would be valuable.
  • How to balance behind-the-scenes work with the need to “do our business in front of the public.”
  • How to project and build confidence as a representative of the public while also revealing/acknowledging the complexities of the system and its need for constant improvement.

#informal #reflections

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: