Annual Fall clinics with DSBA for boards

This evening myself and many members of the states 19 districts met tonight in Dover at a fall clinic put on by the Delaware School Board Association to attend classes on topics ranging from School Security to The Delaware Courts’ Website for Education and Community Outreach. I attended two classes myself and thought I would share my thoughts on those two. First, I attended the School Security session which was taught by two fellow board members from Colonial District, Lee Magee and Ted Laws. The discussions centered on a crisis management tool called, Incident Command System. This tool is used in many industrial and commercial applications at present, but it is being considered now for schools as recent incidences have shown there vulnerabilities. The main premise of the tool is that schools have a plan that lays out both command responsibility and how interactions with outside safety groups will be handled so as the instructor says, “everyone goes home safely”. Both instructors were former firefighters who also worked in insurance so they wanted to drive home the point that monthly fire drills alone are not sufficient to cover all possible incidents. As board members who are responsible for district policies we need to look at these tools as ways to make the public feel our schools are as safe as we can make them.
The second class I attended was actually one I asked be presented. The presentor was from the DOE financial office, sorry but the name escapes me. She reviewed the Standardized Financial Reports that all districts are required to present three times a year to the state. She reviewed how the February 1st reports are simply the balances of the locally funded accounts to insure the district can meet its financial obligations until the unit counts and state dollars being to flow in by November. The second report due on or before May 1 represents the district balances after the state and federal dollars have come in, and again looks at meeting obligations through the end of the school year. The final report due on or before August 1st is the end of year reports that reports to the state how the district finished out the year, and whether it has the funds to “open” next year. The questions for the presentor were mainly about the forms to be used, and whether the districts working copies of the budget had to be in the same format? The answer is the districts copies are district specific, and a copy as they see it must be forwarded to the state for reference. However, the board members can ask for more information and more clarity from their district financial officers if they need it to understand the budgets. This was an important point made to all that the public wants to know board members are asking those tough questions, and are holding the districts administration accountable at all times! The evening contained much good information and those board members attending are those that I personally see wanting to be educated on there responsiblities so next time you attend a local board meeting ask or look to see if the members are attending continuing education just like we expect teachers to attend.

About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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