An incumbent Board President often steps down as a new Head takes over. It is seen as a logical time for the transfer of power—allowing a long-term relationship to develop between the new Head and a new President. The next President is selected by the Trustees without the Head-elect’s input. (What input could be knowledgeably given?)
However, the new Head may well have been influenced to accept the job based on the “chemistry” demonstrated with the existing President and key Trustees on the Search Committee. A new President changes all of this. Moreover, if other leading Trustees move on at the same time, the team envisioned by the new Head is greatly altered.
The recent PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools indicates shifting attitudes concerning the value of higher education. According to the survey, fewer than half of the parent respondents (48%) considered college education as “very important.”
The budget is a chief responsibility of the Finance Committee, and budgetary activity is ongoing. Oversight of the current budget is simultaneous with development and approval of the next year’s budget. This duty alone calls for members with specific skills and backgrounds.
Start your school’s diversity efforts at the Board level. Here, diversity can be addressed without the kind of direct costs usually associated with achieving socioeconomic or socioethnic diversity in your student body, or diversity in your administration, faculty, and staff. As Board President, your starting point is in your planning document, every iteration of which should call for a Board profile to be developed to fit the strategic or long range plan. Open the way for a Board discussion of diversity, even for a broad topic like “Increase the socioeconomic and socioethnic diversity on the Board of Trustees.”
Some private schools today, looking for ways to alleviate budget demands, have turned to government vouchers to supplement tuitions. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice found that Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin are currently the top states in which private schools are accepting vouchers; 27 states have some variation of vouchers. Catholic schools serving inner-city and low-income neighborhoods comprise most of private schools participating in voucher programs.
As a Trustee, you are expected to carry out your due diligence roles—particularly when it comes to Board meetings. In your service to the school, your participation in Board functions is imperative. The Board acts as an entity, not as a collection of individuals. Your attendance and participation are vital to the success of the Board and its actions.
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