By Madelynn Coldiron
School boards that get local training outside of KSBA now have to do more legwork before getting training credit for it from the Kentucky Department of Education.
A revised state regulation governing this type of training requires districts “to jump through a hoop or two” in winning approval from KDE, said KSBA Board Team Development Director Kerri Schelling.
“I think some applicants feel (these hoops) are very onerous, but they’re designed to make sure that anything boards are participating in as professional development really is professional development,” she said.
Despite KSBA’s efforts to get out the word about the new process, she said, a few districts have moved ahead and had their local training, only to find out later that because KDE did not approve their application in advance of the session, board members could not receive credit toward their mandatory training requirements. In the past, boards held their local training sessions, approved them after the fact and then submitted the bare-bones documentation to KSBA to record credit hours.
The revisions, reflecting the state Board of Education’s interest in school board training, require districts using non-KSBA training to apply to KDE at least 30 days prior to the training event; the agency then decides whether the training passes muster, based on how the three-page application scores on a special rubric. (see chart below)
“It mirrors the process for EILA (Effective Instructional Leadership Approval) and school finance officer training,” Schelling explained. “It professionalizes the process.”
Middlesboro Independent Finance Officer Ava Wilder conducted a two-hour training on finance and budgeting for her board May 28. The original date had to be rescheduled because “it took longer than expected to receive approval” from KDE, she said, though the application was submitted well before the 30-day requirement.
Wilder, a member of the board of Kentucky Association of School Business Officials, advises districts to allow ample time for the approval process.
With the new regulation, some districts mistakenly think that KSBA is the organization that is rejecting their application for local training provided by entities other than the association.
“Districts are still really confused about our role and the extent of our authority, and we need to clear that up,” Schelling said. “KSBA has never had approval authority and our role has not changed.”
Part of the confusion may stem from the process itself; KSBA collects the applications before they go to KDE, since the association maintains the official record of training hours for all board members and needs to be aware of the outside training so the credits can be recorded later. KSBA also is the authority on board training.
“When the applications come in, we try to work with the districts to strengthen them, to give them their best chance for approval. Once they’re in the pipeline, we try to keep tabs on where the proposal is and how the approval is going and if something is going to be denied, then I have the opportunity to work with the district to try to shore up whatever the shortcoming was,” Schelling explained.
The initial stop at KSBA does not hold up the approval process, she added.
To help districts fill out the application form, KSBA has created a KDE-approved technical assistance manual along with the provider application. Because the manual was not completed until this past spring, KDE gave retroactive approval to any non-KSBA board training prior to March 31, Schelling said.
Additional state-mandated board training has resulted in an increase in requests for local training, whether by district experts, outside entities or KSBA. Finance is the most common topic for non-KSBA local training, Schelling said, probably because new board members are required to get three credit hours annually in that topic in each year of their first term.
“That’s the most common type of proposal we’re getting,” she said, “Districts want to get their finance officer or other district employee approved to provide some of the training for the board. Much of it is the same type of training that districts have been providing for their boards all along, but now they have to go through this process.”
Like Middlesboro’s Wilder, Schelling cautioned districts to allow enough time in submitting training applications so board members can fill any holes in their requirements by the end of the calendar year.
“They’re going to have to apply for it in October if they have any hope of delivering it before Christmas,” she said.
to access the training manual and application form online.
From the School Board Training Provider Proposal Form:
• Identify the school board member/team standards addressed by this program.
• How will the program contribute to a board member/team’s development as it relates to the standards?
• What research-based principles of adult learning are embedded in the program’s delivery?
• Describe the measurable skills, knowledge and/or new capacity participants will gain as a result of program participation.
• How is the new learning expected to be applied?
• Presenter’s experience working with/training school boards.
• Attachments to be included: presenter’s vita/resume, complete training agenda, samples of materials to be used during the session, evaluation instrument.