Preparing for Success
In this module you will learn some of the nuts and bolts to achieving accountability in your district. 

While the district may focus on the management of the capital investments and the personnel, you should be laser focused on how this organization operates. This includes how it could be more efficient, deliver better academic opportunities and outcomes as well as how it can be accountable and transparent to the community it serves.

A. Organizational Chart

In your respect for the district personnel, students and community it is important to clearly define levels of authority and proper channels of communication.  Within the district personnel should follow the formal lines of communication unless they feel threatened by doing so. 

For the students it is always helpful but not mandatory for them to follow the lines of authority and communication to resolve any issues. 

The community often asks who they should talk to about their topic of interest and this published chart can be very useful to them.  While this sample organizational chart shows lines of authority and communication, it is just a guide.  Remember you are at the top, you can choose to hear any member of the district, the students and the community.  In fact, it is your job to hear from them.

Download the sample Organization Chart for reference.
Download PDF

B. Communicating with Your Community

After being elected to a school board, many newly elected school board members get a bounty of “advice.”  This advice should be viewed with a skeptic’s eye.

What you may hear:

     “You speak with one voice.”

     “If a community member, staff or student reaches out to you, send the message to your superintendent or treasurer.”

Your life will be easier if you just show up and say yes to everything on the agenda and ask no questions. However, you must act with your principles and your conscience in mind.

Why were you elected?

  • To bring oversight to the district to which you were elected!
  • To communicate with your community all issues related to your district!
  • To ensure district academic and financial accountability, and transparency with all stakeholders!
  • Understand and respect the proper roles of the parents, community, and district personnel!
  • To insist on corrections of the academic and financial failures found inside your district, and report the deficiencies as well as the action plans to correct or improve the problems inside your district!
  • Protect the students from political ideologies, while insisting they get the best academic experience!
  • Protect students’ rights to privacy, fairness and safety!
  • Protect parental rights!

Review the additional documents to learn more...

Review the "Speaking to Your Constituents" PDF Document.
Download PDF
Watch the "Speaking to Your Constituents" Video.
Watch Video
Review the Sample Communication PDF Document.
Download PDF

C. What is "Transparency"?

The Ohio Department of Education has become the greatest source of proof that our Ohio government is hiding information from taxpayers. Before Ohio public school districts go on the ballot, important information about them is no longer available on our government websites.  INTERESTING accident?

Just one example.  Kenston School district is on the ballot for new money, but somehow taxpayers can no longer see their report card data.

When report cards were introduced, they contained a plethora of test, demographic, salary, staffing, and financial data. Over the years much of that has been omitted and much transparency has been lost.

Transparency Project:

Post typical questions on your district website.

  1. Financial Transparency
  2. District details and demographics.
  3. Curriculum
  4. Business
  5. Board Committees
Review the "Transparency Project" PDF Document.
Download PDF
Watch the "Bringing Transparency to Your District" Video.
Watch Video
Download the sample FOIA Request Document.
Download PDF
Review the article on the Transparency of the Ohio Dept of Ed.
Download PDF
Attached is an additional resource for Transparency Issues.
Download PDF

D. What is "Children's First" Budgeting?

Download the presentation and watch the video to learn more about the "Children's First" budget system and process.

Board Members who really put the student first, talk about this process as the way they work to manage the budget.  Many school leaders will call their way a student first plan when it is really about the employees and maintaining their standing - not improving the education of the student.  This process puts budgeting priorities where they belong - with the student!

Review the "Children's First" Presentation Document.
Download Presentation
Watch the "Children's First Budgeting" Process Video.
Watch Video

E. Understanding Your Negotiated Agreements

  1. District negotiates contract they can’t afford
  2. Contract terms create deficit
  3. Tax Levy
  4. Go to Step One

F. Legal Counsel and Memberships

Legal Counsel  

Your goal in choosing your board legal counsel should be to choose one that understands their role of assisting the board in managing, directing and protecting your school board.

Memberships or attending educational meetings  

At your first meeting of the year, called an organizational meeting, each district board votes to set aside funds for you to purchase memberships to education organizations and to attend meetings that aid you in the duties for your job.

Review the Understanding Your Legal Counsel Outline.
Download PDF
Watch the "Understanding You Legal Counsel" Webinar.
Watch Video
Download Sample Counsel Interview Questions.
Download PDF
Download a Sample Agreement for School Counsel.
Download PDF

G. Community Input at Board Meetings

Who can speak at your board meetings?

Who is in your “community” and who are “stakeholders”? Your board policy may define who can speak at board meetings.  Review the document to learn more about this topic.

Download the Quick Primer on Who Can Speak at a Board Meeting.
Download PDF

H. School Choice

What are the Pros and Cons of School Choice?

Should the government be involved in education?  Is ther profit in school choice?

Watch the panel discussion on school choice, its benefits, and its downfalls.

Download the Webinar Pros and Cons Outline.
Download PDF
Watch the "Understanding You Legal Counsel" Webinar.
Watch Video

I. Reasons to Avoid School Based Health Clinics

Schools have one job: academics. Housing, feeding, clothing, college, religious training and health care for children are responsibilities solely in the purview of parents / guardians.

School-based health clinics are the practical application of the high-risk “social emotional learning” fad and go way beyond the role of the typical school nurse.  They are a terrible idea.

Download the Top 10 Reasons to Say "NO" Document
Download PDF
Watch the video about the problems with school health clinics.
Watch Video

J. Real Estate Taxes

The document provided is a Real Estate taxes primer based on the State oh Ohio's property tax structure.

Download the Ohio based Real Estate Tax Primer Document
Download PDF
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