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Board Business or Staff Business?. An Agenda That Works. Good Morning. Please read the white handout: “Adviser” from the April 2006 American School Board Journal. Questions. What’s wrong with board meetings? What is board business? Staff business?

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Board Business or Staff Business?

An Agenda That Works

Good Morning.Please read the white handout: “Adviser” from theApril 2006 American School Board Journal


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Questions

  • What’s wrong with board meetings?

  • What is board business?

    Staff business?

  • What would an agenda prepared by the board look like?

  • How do we make the change?(from staff business to board business)


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First, Your Thoughts

From your perspective…

What’s wrong with board

meetings?


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Now Let’s Talk

What’s wrong with board meetings?


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Some Problems With Meetings

  • Time

  • Priorities

  • Relevance

  • Staff

  • The Public

  • Board Members


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Time

  • Not enough board time

    • 1 mtg/month @ 3 hours/meeting = 36 hrs/yr

    • 2 mtgs a month @ 4 hours/meeting = 96 hrs/yr

  • Compare with staff time

    • 40 hours/week x 50 weeks = 2,000 hrs


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Priorities

  • Whose priorities?

    Staff or Board

  • Misplaced board priorities

    Doing things right vs. Doing the right things

  • Unfocussed agenda

    Do agendas reflect board priorities?


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Relevance

  • Pareto principle

    80% of time/effort – 20% of work

  • Urgent crowds out Important

    “By the time we got to important items on the agenda, we were too tired to do the work that was needed.” - Board member

  • Trivial Pursuits

    Dominated by routines and procedure and personal agenda items


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Staff

  • Whoever prepares the agenda…

    …directs the directors

  • Staff work – staff reports

    Board’s primary conversation is with staff

  • Board work – reacting to staff

    Who is setting the priorities?

  • Public input – focus on plans, programs, resources, activities

    Staff Work


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The Public

Expectations about boards:

  • Politics and Politicians

  • Meetings are for airing problems, and board members are problem solvers

  • Every district issue is a board issue

  • Every issue is worked at board meetings


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Board Members

  • Input to the agenda

    • Abdication to superintendent (unintended)

    • Personal ‘agenda’ items

  • Ill-disciplined

    • Not easy to ‘think as one’

    • Over-reliance on consensus

    • Under-reliance on Robert’s Rules


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Agendas We’ve Seen

  • Call to Order/Flag Salute

  • Approval of Minutes

  • Consent Agenda – Hiring, Resignations, Voucher Approval

  • Special People – Recognition

  • Reports

  • Old Business

  • New Business

  • Announcements

  • Adjourn

Most Meeting Time


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Agendas We’ve Seen

  • Call to Order/Flag Salute

  • Approval of Minutes

  • Consent Agenda – Hiring, Resignations, Voucher Approval

  • Special People – Recognition

  • Reports

    • 1.

    • 2.

  • Old Business

    • 3.

    • 4.

  • New Business

    • 4.

    • 5.

  • Announcements – Board End-of-year Reception

  • Adjourn

Most Meeting Time


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Agendas We’ve Seen

  • Call to Order/Flag Salute

  • Approval of Minutes

  • Consent Agenda – Hiring, Resignations, Voucher Approval

  • Special People – Recognition

  • Reports

    • 1. DECA Business Club

    • 2. Host School Report

    • 3. Affirmative Action Report

  • New Business

    • 1. Course Approval

  • Announcements

  • Adjourn

Legal Mandate

Board Initiative

Staff Initiative


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Agendas We’ve Seen

  • Call to Order/Flag Salute

  • Approval of Minutes

  • Consent Agenda – Hiring, Resignations, Voucher Approval

  • Special People – Recognition

  • Reports

    • 1. Superintendent’s Conference

    • 2. New Principal Evaluation Form

    • 3. Budget Status

  • New Business

    • 4. Facilities Use Agreement

    • 5. Food Services Contract

    • 6. Textbook Adoptions

    • 7. Salary Schedules

  • Announcements

  • Adjourn

Legal Mandate

Board Initiative

Staff Initiative


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Agendas We’ve Seen

  • Call to Order/Flag Salute

  • Approval of Minutes

  • Consent Agenda – Hiring, Resignations, Voucher Approval

  • Special People – Recognition

  • Reports

    • 1. Host School Report

    • 2. State Special Education Monitoring Visit

  • Old Business

    • 3. Consider Recommendations of Facilities Advisory Committee

  • New Business

    • 4. Resolution to Authorize Superintendent to Request Bond

  • Announcements – Board End-of-year Reception

  • Adjourn

Legal Mandate

Board Initiative

Staff Initiative


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Your Turn

From your perspective…

What is board business?What is staff business?


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Now Let’s Talk

What is board business?What is staff business?


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Board Business

  • Set direction for the district

  • Monitor district performance

  • Concerned with identifying WHAT…

    …is to be accomplished:

    • Academic achievement

    • Character

    • Citizenship

ENDRESULTS


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Staff Business

  • Achieve results

  • Follow policy

  • Concerned with HOW…

    …to get the district where it must go:

    • Curriculum/Instruction

    • Schedules

    • Bus routes

    • Facility constr/maint

MEANS


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Definition of Board Business

  • Identify desired results

    ENDS the district should achieve

  • Monitor results

  • Set policy

  • Monitor compliance with policy

  • Link with the community

  • Board development


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Definition of Staff Business

  • Means – Anything that isn’t an End Result

    HOW the district achieves its ENDS

  • Means – ‘freedom with limitations’

    Means must comply with limits set in policy

  • Do Ends justify Means?

    • YES…Means success = ENDS achievement

    • NO…Policy identifies unacceptable Means

    • Any reasonable interpretation of policy is acceptable

It depends


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Ends/Means Distinction

  • Ends identify results for beneficiaries (What good…for Whom…at what Cost)

    • “All Students will achieve level 3 on the state test”

    • “All Students will demonstrate successful job skills”

    • BOARDS prioritize their work on ENDS

  • Means are everything else

    • “District budget will maintain 5% reserve”

    • “Instruction will not deviate from adopted curriculum”

    • “Transportation costs will not exceed state-funded amounts by more than 15%”

    • BOARDS only set boundaries on STAFF MEANS


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Focus on Board Business

  • An Agenda prepared by staff can reasonably be expected to orient on Staff business

  • An Agenda prepared by the Board should be expected to orient on Board business


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Your Turn

If the board prepared its own agenda…

What would it look like?


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Now Let’s Talk

What would the board’s own agenda look like?


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Preparing the Board Agenda

  • How can the board prepare its agenda?After all…

    • Part-time board, full-time staff

    • State-mandated agenda items

  • Limit the board’s scope

  • Extend the board’s vision

    • Annual (and longer-range) time frame

  • Each meeting – follow annual agenda


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Annual Agenda

  • An Agenda the Board can plan

  • Plan Monitoring of Ends/Means

    • For the staff…and the board

  • Plan Linkage with the Community

  • Plan Policy Review

    • Policies that guide staff

    • Policies that guide board

  • Plan Board Development




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Strategy for Board MeetingsThat do the Board’s Business

  • Use time to maximum advantage

  • Meet obligations

    • Representing the Community

    • Accounting to the Community

  • Primary board means

    • Policy – for #1 and #2

  • How do meetings address these 3?


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Strategy for Board MeetingsThat do the Board’s Business

  • Community – The real boss

    • Board ‘stands in’ for community

    • Listens to the community

    • A board is only a board when it meets

  • Accountability – Monitoring

    • “Organization does things the boss checks”

    • Monitor data as called for in policy

    • “Don’t ask how things are going until you’ve said how things ought to be”

    • Evaluate data against criteria for success


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Strategy for Board MeetingsThat do the Board’s Business

  • Policy – Board’s Means – Gives direction

    • Directs the superintendent thru policy

    • Directs staff thru the superintendent

    • Expectations

      • Achieve policy result

      • Comply with policy boundaries

    • Board gives as much guidance as needed – and not one word more


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Board-Controlled vs Staff-Controlled

  • Agenda Prepared by the Staff

    • Approval to repair a roof

    • Accept bids on a school remodel

    • Budget review and approval

  • Agenda Prepared by the Board

    • How are students performing?

    • What do ‘owners’ (taxpayers) think of our schools?

    • Does the curriculum need to change due to advances in technology? (re: The World is Flat)

Board Initiative

Staff Initiative


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Board Meeting Agendas

  • More time on key board issues

  • More time discussing owner’s opinions

  • More focus on Supt monitoring reports

Minutes

Issue #2

Issue #3

Issue #4

Issue #5

Issue #6

Issue #7

Issue #8

Issue #9

Issue #10

Issue #11

Issue #12

Issue #13

Issue #14

Issue #1

Before PG

After PG

Random Q & A

Issue #13

Issue #14

Minutes

Monitoring / Linkage / Ends Development

Structured Q & A

Consent Agenda

(Issues #1 to #12)

Board Initiative

Staff Initiative

GP 8


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Agenda Prepared by Board

  • Call to Order/Flag Salute

    • Approval of Minutes

    • Announcements/Comments

    • Consent Agenda

  • Assurance of Organizational Performance

    • 1. Superintendent’s Update

    • 2. Ends Monitoring – E-3 Citizenship/Character

    • 3. Board Response to Monitoring – EL-17

    • 4. Board Self-Monitoring – GP-3

  • Community Linkage

    • 5. Joint Meeting with City Council – E-3 Citizenship/Character

  • Policy Review

    • 6. Governing Style – GP-2

  • Announcements

  • Adjourn

Legal Mandate

Board Initiative

Staff Initiative


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Your Turn

If we want our board meetings to focus on“board business”…

How do we make the change?


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Now Let’s Talk

How do we make the change?


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Alternatives

Good

Fast

Cheap


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Policy Governance (PG)

  • A strategy for accomplishing board business by prioritizing board time/effort

  • PG distinguishes board business from staff business

  • PG principles support the board doing board business by systematically NOT doing staff business


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PG: Board’s Purpose

  • The Board stands in for ‘owners’

    It’s primary linkage is with ‘owners’ (not staff)

  • In meetings…Board links with ‘owners’ to learn community values and priorities


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PG: Board Job Description

  • The job of the Board is to ensure the district achieves what it should and avoids doing what is unacceptable

  • In meetings…Board does its job by linking with the community, setting policy, and monitoring to ensure performance


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PG: Monitoring Performance

  • The Board monitors district performance: achievement of ends written in policy, and compliance with policy limitations

  • In meetings…Board monitors district performance and compares data against policy criteria


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PG: Superintendent Evaluation

  • The Board monitors district (superintendent) performance data against written policy criteria

  • The only measurement of success:

    • Did the district achieve desired Ends?

    • Did the district comply with Executive Limitations?

  • In meetings…Valuable board-superintendent performance discussion is extensive and lasts all year long


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PG: Agenda Planning

  • Contents of Board’s annual agenda:

    • Linkages – Listen to the community

    • Monitoring – Judge district performance

    • Policy Review – Entire set reviewed each year

  • In meetings…Parts of meetings – planned linkages, scheduled monitoring, and policy review


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PG: Agenda Planning

  • Besides Linkage/Monitoring/Policy

    Board development

  • In meetings…Board schedules opportunities to inform its members and to improve its capacity to govern


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PG: The Chair’s Role

  • Chair is responsible for ensuring the Board follows its own policies

  • In meetings…Chair ensures the Board follows its agenda


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PG: Governing Style

  • The Board speaks with one voice

  • The Board directs only through policy

  • In meetings…Board acts by voting on policies –Board majority ‘speaks’ via policy


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PG: Board Self-Assessment

  • The Board evaluates whether it complies with its own governance process policies

  • In meetings…Board assesses its own performance at the end of each meeting


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Policy GovernanceEnsuring Effective Meetings

  • Time – More time for board business

  • Priorities – On board’s work

  • Relevance – What boards can do

  • Staff – Focus on responding

  • The Public – Is represented & consulted

  • Board Members – Do what they are capable of doing


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Old:

Link with staff

Receive staff reports

Approve staff work

Agenda prepared by staff, ad hoc items added by board

Q: “What’s going on?”

New:

Link with ‘owners’

Monitor performance

Revise policies

Agenda prepared by board in annual plan and written in policy

Q: “What’s important?”or “How did we do?”

Board Meetings: Board Business

Strategic


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In Summary

  • By taking control of the board agenda, you spend the board’s meeting time on board business, and…

  • …you produce an agenda that WORKS


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Take Another Look

  • ASBJ Adviser - April 2006

Board Business……or Staff Business?


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Questions?


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