By David Baird
KSBA Interim Executive Director
A little more than a year ago, the Kentucky School Boards Association was in a transition period, with several significant questions on our agenda. There is no hiding the fact that we were experiencing some major challenges that needed to be managed effectively for the continuing health of the organization.
KSBA has a long and successful history of providing quality programs and services to our membership while maintaining a high profile in the education community of the state, and leading reform efforts around student achievement. Today, I am happy to report to you that the state of the association is strong and stable, and most of our challenges of this past year have been reduced or eliminated. Let me be specific:
• KSBA has been conducting a search for a new executive director for almost two years. While it took two rounds of advertising and interviewing to secure the “right fit” for this association, I think the board of directors got it right. We welcome Mike Armstrong to the executive chair on Oct. 1.
• The KSBIT insurance problem has plagued our association and you, the membership, for several years. It has been a long and winding journey to where we are today and while no one is pleased with this problem or the solution, we are experiencing some closure. Special thanks go to member boards and superintendents for your leadership toward reaching a solution.
• Balancing the KSBA budget this past year was a challenge for several reasons. Like in most of your districts, the cost of personnel and benefits continues to be the major area of concern. With a tentative start to the new budget year, we were able to produce positive revenue with membership dues (with no increase) and an increase in services provided, such as board trainings, policy and administrative procedures, and eMeeting. Legal trainings and Medicaid services also increased their revenue shares, all helping to produce a very positive year-end balance. Again, a special thanks to you, our membership, for your loyalty and willingness to participate in most services offered.
As I personally transition from the interim executive director position to a part-time associate executive director position on Oct. 1, I wish to thank several people for their assistance during this transition. First, let me tell you something that you already know. KSBA has an absolutely wonderful group of hard-working professionals that I have worked with throughout my 40 years in public education. They teach me something on a daily basis and their knowledge and expertise within their programs simply is amazing. Thank you, staff, for making my life and my job easier. Second, let me thank the hard-working and dedicated KSBA Board of Directors, who serve their local districts and then come back for more at the state level. They give us such great guidance and direction and set the example for what a board member should do. Last but not least, are the 867 local school board members and 173 superintendents who we know “have our back” when times are tough, and the feeling is mutual when you experience troubled times in your district.
Now let’s all get behind Mike Armstrong and give him the support to carry this association to greater heights during his tenure. Because, after all, we are constantly in transition and how we manage the transition is what defines us.