August 2021


that promote continued constructive discussions and generate positive community interest in its schools’ educational efforts.


5. Forge consensus. Public school trustees frequently confront issues that invite a diversity of strong opinions and passionate beliefs. Their goal should, however, remain ever consistent: to pursue consensus, to reconcile differences and to reach compromise—all in the service of their students. 6. Employ and evaluate the superintendent. One of the most crucial responsibilities of a school board is the selection of a superintendent. The superintendent, as chief executive officer of the district, implements policies set by the board and is the person held accountable for the smooth and successful operation of its schools. While the board’s focus is oversight of management, policymaking, planning and evaluation, the superintendent’s focus is on implementation and managing day-to-day operations. Through yearly written performance evaluations and ongoing discussions, the board assesses the superintendent’s progress toward district goals. 7. Adopt a budget and set a tax rate . Perhaps the least popular, yet most necessary, responsibility of the school board is to manage the district’s finances. The superintendent and staff formulate the school district budget and present it to the board for approval. If the board has revisions, the superintendent makes those changes. After conducting a public hearing to receive comments, the board adopts the budget and approves a tax rate to ensure the budget is adequately funded to attain those goals identified and prioritized by the trustees considering any input shared by their district constituents. Trustees must exercise good stewardship as they marshal district resources to achieve the highest outcomes at reasonable costs. Now in my fifth three-year term as a TISD trustee, I consider myself a lucky guy to have been associated with like-minded and equally yoked friends to serve in this unique position of public trust. It is not now, nor has it ever been, a responsibility taken lightly, and candidly, it has not always been fun. Serving as a public-school trustee carries a much greater burden than simply being a representative. It requires fortitude of mind and spirit and the prescient sense to lead transformational change in educational methodology and student performance achievement, anticipating today what our students will need tomorrow. That is a challenge which piques my interest, requires creative thinking and keeps me engaged. As a product of TISD myself, and with three TISD-graduate sons who were well-prepared by their teachers to successfully navigate the rigors of higher education, I know first-hand the power of public education and the opportunities it affords the youth of our community who choose to avail themselves of all it offers. For me, there could be no better reason than that to serve on a public school board.

LEISD 2,282* PGISD 2,233* TASD 3,880** TISD 7,654*

*Texas Education Agency for October 2020 **Arkansas Department of Education for 2020-21 school year

federal and state laws and regulations. Important decisions are made based on district policies, where trustees influence nearly every aspect of school operation. District policy also provides a record of the decisions the board has made. 3. Demonstrate accountability. School trustees share responsibility for the performance of the district’s schools and students. This requires maintaining high academic standards, transparency and accountability, and it is a responsibility shared with a number of parties: teachers, administrators, support staff and parents. That’s right—parents. More often these days than one might suspect, some parents expect their children’s education to depend solely on the actions of educators and activities which take place on school campuses. Successful students require more, and many school districts find they are required to expend a disproportionate number of resources on student populations where parents either refuse to accept accountability for their students’ performance or do not understand the necessity to do so. 4. Provide community leadership. Board members lead the community as advocates for public schools, serving as the link between the school system and the public. To build trust between the district and the community, trustees must listen to and hear their constituents and explain the district’s priorities established to meet the community’s needs and expectations. As public education advocates, they help build support and report district progress by communicating with the community, students, staff, parents and the media. Once the board makes a decision, its role is to engage its district’s patrons in ways


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