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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Improved Oversight

On the Board schedule for this week is a work session specifically for management oversight of the Human Resources department.

As folks will recall, the June 2009 state audit revealed that the previous board completely abdicated their duty to oversee the management of the District. While I want to believe that they took this criticism seriously, the fact is that it was nearly two years before they took any action to address the failure. They didn't get around to their first management oversight work until the Spring of 2011. The first department they reviewed was Human Resources. Soon after, the "Chief Talent Officer" hired by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson out of Arne Duncan's camp, was fired. I guess that's what comes from oversight.

Since then, the Board has codified their (intended) practice into the new Policy 1010, Board Oversight of Management adopted this past summer. There is supposed to be a calendar of these management oversight work sessions. They were supposed to occur quarterly and, in the course of each year, the Board was supposed to perform reviews of every department that should get an annual review and half of the departments that are supposed to get semi-annual reviews. That's the Board's plan for management oversight. They took a very long time developing this plan and a very long time developing the calendar for the reviews. The review of HR scheduled for this week represents the completion of the first year's cycle. How did they do?



According to the policy "The Board will develop and use a District Annual Operations Data Dashboard for monitoring all Oversight Areas, which shall be separate from and in addition to the district academic scorecard." Here is this Dashboard. It was introduced to the Board in November. The policy listed the minimum reports that the Board should review. The policy also charged the Board Executive Committee with making a list of the annual reports to the Board required by other policies and putting together a calendar. I can't see that they ever did this. According to the policy these departments, at a minimum, should be subject to a bi-annual review in a management oversight meeting:


 Curriculum & Instruction
 Finance (will report annually), including:

  • Budget
  • Contracting
  • Accounting
  • Cash handling at schools

 Human Resources (will report annually)
 Athletics
 Nutrition
 Health & Safety
 Transportation, including:

  • Traffic education

 Facilities, including:

  • Facilities Planning
  • Custodial Services
  • Environmental Services
  • Maintenance Services
  • Property Management
  • Stanford Center Bldg Management


 Capital Programs
 Distribution Services, including:

  • Warehouse
  • Purchasing

 Business Systems
 Technology Services
 Enrollment & Planning
 Internal Audit
 Communications & Public Affairs
 Strategic Planning & Partnership
 Research, Evaluation & Assessment
 Policy & Government Relations
 Legal and Risk Management

The Board committed themselves, by policy, to review 17 departments once every two years and 2 departments annually. That works out to 10 or 11 management oversight review meetings each year. But that number is deceptive because it Curriculum and Instruction as just one review when it really should include separate reviews for Native American education, Special Education, bilingual education, alternative education, advanced learning, international education, math, literacy, science, arts, music, physical education, world languages, Career and Technical education, high school credit and graduation requirements, early education, Title I, and probably a half a dozen more that don't immediately occur to me.

There's also all of the other annual reports required by policy that aren't listed here. Reports on a number of these academic programs (such as advanced learning and the Native American education program), as well as annual reports on program placement, capacity management, school-family partnerships, and at least a half a dozen more of those as well.

Finally, there are supposed to be quarterly updates on the Strategic Plan. That's right. We still have a Strategic Plan. There hasn't been a quarterly update to the Board on it since June of 2011, but Board policy  1010 lists the adoption of a strategic plan as one of the Board's primary roles, along with approving the financial plan and annual district budgets and employing a Superintendent. The plan they adopted calls for quarterly updates to the Board.

This is the board's work.

They did eight of these reviews in the past year:
3/23/11 - Oversight Work Session on HR
8/17/11 - Oversight Work Session on Distribution Services
10/25/11 - Oversight Work Session on Finance
11/30/11 - Oversight Work Session on Athletics
11/30/11 - Oversight Work Session on Nutrition Services
2/1/12 - Oversight Work Session on Facilities
2/8/12 - Oversight Work Session on Transportation

In the list from the policy, I have indicated the completed oversight work sessions with boldface type.
There are a number of annual reports required by policy which they have not received. The annual report on program placements is just one of many.
And, as noted above, the Board has skipped the past three quarterly strategic plan updates.

This Board has made a lot of improvement over the previous Board when it comes to getting their work done, but they are not yet up to speed. As the third anniversary of the June 2009 audit approaches, that is a dismal record.

4 comments:

Wondering said...

Who does the principal evaluations? According to the Dashboard, the information isn't available for the 2010-2011 school year.

Dorothy Neville said...

I have attended most of these oversight sessions and they have been worthwhile and illuminating. Last Spring's HR session was fascinating. Steve Sundquist said later -at exec committee meeting - that it was terrible, worst staff presentation ever. Yes they are slow to get this organized but if they maintain the momentum this could significantly change culture. I am very sorry to miss this one and hope others will attend.

I agree completely with Charlie that teaching and learning requires many individual sessions.

dan dempsey said...

I agree completely with Charlie that teaching and learning requires many individual sessions.

Because teaching and learning is what school is about.

How classic that Steve found staff's teaching and learning presentation to be the worse staff presentation ever.

Guess teaching and learning just does not fit in that form that Steve prefers, so that Steve can move this right along.

Steve voted for Discovering Math at the high school.
Voted for $800,000 NTN Contract.
Voted for TFA contract.
Voted to extend MGJ's contract.

Good that Steve was moved right along to elsewhere.

StopTFA said...

I attended that HR oversight session. I thought it was no less terrible than others (did you attend the "work session" on SpEd? 1 3/4 hours of Marni Campbell drivel, than parents got to speak).

Methinks, with TFA, this year's HR session should be interesting. I especially want to hear how our ex-TFA teacher recruitment manager's doing with that "broadening the hiring pool" thing.