02/08/2014 – Budgeting Process

Board’s Role in the Budget Development Process

02/08/2014 Board Retreat

(Extracted from Realtime Blog)
Orson – I would like to see 0 based budgeting.
Coleman – Would like to pick a department or two to try 0 based budgeting.
Thurmond – Simple is better. Budgeting two different ways across the district will be challenging. I’ve learned not to over burden the system. In the past we’ve made decisions without considering the impact.
Graduation Rates and Academic achievement. That’s what we are going to focus on this year. As a board, we need to start thinking about the next 5 years.
[2:30pm – Orson left. He had prior engagements he had to attend to.]
McMahan – A board manager would alleviate some of the strain on the staff.
Coleman – I think we can find departments we can test 0 based budgeting in a cost neutral way.
Thurmond – We don’t have a recent history of success in DeKalb. What does that look like? How do we acknowledge success and build from that? It’s easy to be critical opposed to building positive policies.
Morley – We have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I come a top performing school in New York. When you come in and see something broken, there are also some parts that are working fine.
We have made some grand, GRAND improvements. As we begin to look at achievement, we have to look at what the students need. In New York, we had a 20 year plan. We can’t go in and disrupt things. The community and children drive the budget. We have to have goals. [She’s talking fast … going on about nothing material … talking about growing up … we’re the only species that does something … ]
We’ve been limping along for 10 years. I’d like to make policy that sticks and is not just a patch. We’ve got to stop teaching to the test. The students don’t learn critical thinking skills or respect. There is a holistic approach to education.
Coleman – Like Mr. Thurmond said, we have been focused on accreditation. Now we’re moving to student achievement. We need to think about the ways we think about academic outcomes. Tests are not the only thing we want to judge.
Integrity. One of our legacies should be increased trust in the district. I would like to see an operational and communications plan that doesn’t encourage improper behavior. If testing becomes the emphasis, the public might become concerned that we become the next APS.
Thurmond – I don’t want the neysayers to say we cheated. We will have to do exactly that to protect the integrity of the system.
Mayfield – I’d like to see us have a clear understanding of our fixed costs. With aborted Superintendents we’ve ended up with aborted Strategic Plans. The strategy must rest with the community.
Thurmond – This strategic plan is much more democratic and that’s why it’s different.
Carter – The flexibility decision is a subset of the strategic plan and is very important. I have received feedback that school councils are not hearing from their reps. The communications piece must be a part of the strategic plan.
Thurmond – Dekalb has not had a stregic plan, despite what others have said.
[2:56pm note: he looked at me when he said that. I’d like to point out Ramona Tyson spent millions on a strategic plan a few years ago which was put together by the same people putting this strategic plan together.]
Johnson – Progressive school district. We are going to be a progressive school district that affects the culture and teachers. This needs to start with us, the board. Every word we say and decision we make sends a message. If you have something negative to say, don’t do it in public. It sends a negative message.
The strategic plan needs to continue whether the board or Superintendent stay.
[Note: If we did that, Crawford Lewis and Beverly Hall would be Superintendents today.]
Zendra Bowie – You don’t represent the people that elected you. You represent the children. It must be about the children.
Thurmond – One year ago today I was sworn in. What you all have been able to accomplish is phenominal. Don’t underestimate the value of what you are doing. This is bigger than the DeKalb School Board. I thank you.
Johnson – I’d like to thank our facilitator and all the board members. This is a phenominal day for the DeKalb School System.
[3:07pm – Meeting is adjourned.]