Editor’s note: Winfield public schools superintendent Dr. Nathan Reed asked to use the public forum to explain different aspects of how the school district operates.
This is a question often heard in the community, and it is usually followed with an opinion on how they are doing as a body of decision makers. I would like to shed light on the work these civic servants do on a yearly basis. It is a brief summary and not all-encompassing.
Board members expect to spend countless hours a month at meetings, functions, trainings, answering phone calls and emails, or listening to concerned patrons. They celebrate the accomplishments of students, staff, and community members. Accordingly, board members anguish over the pain and loss brought by tragedy in the community.
The board reviews and decides on policy for the school district. This includes all of the student and staff handbooks that hold expectations on protocols and practice. There are district-governing policies that are reviewed and updated at least twice a year. Currently, there are more than 400 pages in the district policy book. New challenges bring additional need for policy. The handbooks are reviewed and approved every year.
School boards set goals, both short term and long term. These goals reflect the priorities set for learners, staff, facilities, and budgets, to name a few. Congruently, these goals define the directives given to the superintendent each year.
The board is charged to evaluate the superintendent; reviewing the performance of the district on multiple measures, including the directives given each year and provides context for the evaluation. The district superintendent is the only staff member the board interviews and selects. It is up to the superintendent and the rest of the system to recommend the hire of all other staff members.
The school board is responsible for negotiating with the certified staff (teachers) in creating a comprehensive negotiated agreement. This agreement sets forth the rights and expectations for both the board and teachers as contracted professionals. The agreement includes items such as compensation, procedures, policies, calendar and evaluations.
The board prioritizes the resources of the taxpayers and directs the allocations of the budget when they review and approve the district budget. This includes the strategic planning of programs, staffing, and facilities that focus on lag and lead data to inform decisions.
Another question heard is “What do school board members make?” The answer nothing monetarily, however, it does pay intrinsic dividends to the individuals who serve and offers immeasurable benefit to the students, staff, families, and communities they serve.
School board members are vital to the success of a district. Be sure to go and vote on Nov. 5 for school board members!
Dr. Nathan Reed
Superintendent, USD 465