Looking back at year one
Kentucky School Advocate
By Allen E. Kennedy
This column is taken from remarks prepared for delivery Feb. 28 during the KSBA annual conference’s brunch session.
Mr. Winston Churchill once said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president and for your commitment to the kids of Kentucky and your community. There are approximately 869 school board members in the state of Kentucky and 71 of these board members have 20-55 years of service for a total of 1,881 years of service.
I would like to thank Kerri Schelling, the planning committee, the local school districts, KSBA staff, sponsors and vendors who are the responsible parties that have made this conference a tremendous success.
I want to thank all 173 districts for your unwavering support of KSBA.
Last year, as the incoming president, I shared a glimpse of my past, an update on the present and a few thoughts to ponder concerning the future.
Well, it’s a year later and my life’s focus is still on continuous improvement, and I’m proud to say KSBA’s staff is focused on the same objective. What can we do to better serve our partners?
What about that new KSBA app to keep track of your activities here at the conference? KSBA’s Director of Board Team Development Kerri Schelling and Technology Manager Matt Wells led the way on this innovative idea.
As many of you that were able to attend know, the format at our regional meetings was changed. We didn’t teach or preach, but instead requested your valuable input on a number of issues such as a new board member self-evaluation timeline, content and process, and you replied. I encourage you, if you weren’t able to attend one, the regional meetings are fantastic. The regional directors of the board do a fantastic job and I appreciate what the directors-at-large and the regional directors do in support of KSBA. You answered the questions we had during the regional meetings and I got a glimpse of basically the finished product. We’re hopefully going to roll that out to the districts later on this year. With your input we’re going to have, I think, about 10 standards. We’re going to look at ourselves to see how we as a group of board members can continuously improve to help the kids in Kentucky.
We also asked during the regional meetings for your assistance on the Board of Directors’ priorities for 2015-2016 and you answered the call.
• Better educate the public on the role of a school board member.
I hope you read my article in the February 2016 Kentucky School Advocate, “Educating the Public on the Role of a School Board Member.” I have met with local library staff and requested the book The Art of School Boarding by Jim Burgett be placed in the library. That has been done. I am also working with the local paper to publish an article about the subject. I would encourage you to do the same.
• Expand eMeeting functionality and promotion to users beyond school boards. Katrina Kinman and her Policy Services/eMeeting group have added 10 districts, seven site-based decision making councils, one co-op, and one association – KMEA.
• Expedite the development of the KSBA Online Learning Center.
• Conduct a needs assessment to determine what members need in the way of training and other services.
• Increase connections between boards and their communities, i.e., continue to invite community partners to speak at annual conferences.
We requested your thoughts and positions on legislative priorities and you replied. KSBA Director of Governmental Relations Hope McLaughlin and many of you are very engaged and doing a yeoman’s job in fighting for legislative priorities affecting school boards.
There are many other examples of the ongoing work at KSBA.
Some would say we have some tough financial issues facing the districts for the next few years.
The effect of Senate Bill 1 is said to offer more local control for the districts but at a tremendous cost, something we call, with all due respect, more “UNFUNDED MANDATES.”
SB 50, the calendar bill, has had everyone’s attention. A compromise solution may be in the works.
Other budget cuts are possible to family resource centers, which are near and dear to my heart.
I truly believe there are many other issues affecting our kids that we could discuss; but, with dedication to the process and teamwork, we will persevere.
Theodore Roosevelt knew about tough times and he once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
If you will pardon the expression; my dad used to tell me, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” and that is so true.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is it only comes one day at a time.” And that’s how we have to deal with it; we deal with it one day at a time.
To be successful in tough times it will take a tremendous amount of focus, planning and teamwork.
You can be assured KSBA is ready, willing and able to continue to be a member of your team to address these critical issues.
Thank you again for your service and for the opportunity to serve. I look forward to this next year and being able to close my tenure out at this very conference next year.