DISTRICT ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
This chapter reviews the district organization and management of the Rosebud-Lott Independent School District (RLISD) in the following sections:
- A. Governance, Policies and Procedures
- B. District Management and Planning
- C. Personnel Management
- D. Community Involvement Initiatives
A. GOVERNANCE, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Policy development is one of a school board's essential functions. The board's policies establish and define its vision for the district, allowing the administration to implement and manage daily operations. The process should be collaborative, even though the roles of the board and the superintendent clearly vary.
The board also hires the superintendent, approves the budget, monitors expenditures, sets the tax rate and calls bond elections. The board also considers and integrates community expectations when setting policies that guide district administration. Through its governance, a school board is ultimately responsible for the effectiveness of the school district. Education consultant James Wickenden describes exemplary governance in context of a school board's responsibility:...The best boards are constructive agents for change. They anticipate future demands and require the school's employees to meet them. They ask hard questions; they challenge the status quo. They set broad policies to accomplish the stated mission and then demand evidence that the policies are being followed. In short, a school board is accountable to parents, taxpayers, and the community for the district's effectiveness and efficiency.
Section 11.151 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) also delineates specific powers and duties of a school board, including:
- govern and oversee the management of the district's public schools;
- adopt such rules, regulations and bylaws as the board may deem proper;
- approve a district-developed plan for site-based decision-making and provide for its implementation;
- publish an annual report describing the district's educational performance, including school performance objectives and the progress of each school toward these objectives; and
- receive bequests and donations or other money coming legally into its hands in the name of the district.
By law, a district must post public notices for all board meetings. Board meetings are held to transact the business of the district and are open to the public in accordance to the state's Open Meetings Act. A district may close board meetings to the public only during executive sessions to discuss personnel matters, student hearings, real estate transactions and other specific legal matters.
With the exception of one board member, most RLISD board members do not meet the minimum number of continuing education training hours required by law under the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, Part 2, Chapter 61, Rule 61.1. Individual board members acknowledged in interviews that they have not earned the minimum continuing education hours required by law for the reporting periods from January 1998 through November 2002. Exhibit 1-3 shows each RLISD board member's earned training hours and length of service. Despite the fact the average tenure of RLISD board members exceeds nine years, most have not complied with the state's training mandate.
Exhibit 1-3Source: RLISD Board Secretary, November 2002.
RLISD Board of Trustees
1997-98 through 2002-03
Title Training hours
to comply with TAC
President 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 10.75 8.0 0.0 Vice-President N/A N/A 15.0 10.75 11.0 3.75 8.0 4.25 Secretary N/A N/A 0.0 0.0 25.5 0.0 8.0 8.0 Member 1 21.0 0.0 0.0 4.5 8.5 0.0 8.0 8.0 Member 2 N/A N/A N/A 10.0 3.0 0.0 8.0 8.0 Member 3 N/A N/A N/A N/A 3.0 5.0 16.0 11.0 Member 4 N/A N/A N/A N/A 11.0 2.5 16.0 13.5
* Note: Reflects board member training only through Fall of 2002-03.
The RLISD board consists of seven members elected at-large who serve alternating three-year terms. The board meets for regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month starting at 8:00 p.m. in the Rosebud-Lott High School and 7:30 p.m. during winter months. The board also schedules special meetings and work sessions as needed. As required by law, closed sessions are recorded in minute form. School board elections are held annually with either two or three members elected at-large for three-year terms.
TEA considers all district files as the official records of board member training. RLISD also is required to report board member training hours to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), which is done by the RLISD superintendent's secretary. TAC Chapter 61, subchapter A, reads: "Annually, at the meeting at which the call for election of board members is normally scheduled, the current president of each local board of trustees shall announce the name of each board member who has completed the required continuing education, who has exceeded the required hours of continuing education and who is deficient in the required continuing education. The president shall cause the minutes of the local board to reflect the information and shall make this information available to the local media." TASB also maintains a Continuing Education Credit reporting Service (CECRS) online for all non-TASB sponsored events.
Exhibit 1-4 provides an overview of TAC-required minimum annual continuing education requirements for new and experienced board members. TAC requires new board members to obtain a total of 16 hours of training annually. Under the same law, experienced board members must obtain eight hours of training annually.
Exhibit 1-4Source: TAC, Title 19, Part 2, Chapter 61, Rule 61.1.
TAC Continuing Education Requirements
for School Board Members
Local District Orientation Required within 60 days of election or appointment Not required Orientation to the Texas Education Code Three hours Not required Update to the Texas Education Code Incorporated into Orientation to the Texas Education Code After legislative session and of "sufficient length" to address major changes Team-building Session/Assessment of Continuing Education Needs of the Board-Superintendent Team At least three hours At least three hours Additional Continuing Education, based on assessed need and Framework for School Board Development At least 10 hours At least five hours Total Minimum Number of Hours Sixteen hours, plus local district orientation Eight hours, plus update to the Texas Education Code
Obtain the required amount of board training mandated by state law.
Each year, the superintendent and board president should survey individual board members to obtain input about the types of continuing education training they would like to attend to improve their effectiveness as board members. The administration should seek training tailored to specific training needs.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent and board president survey individual board members to obtain input about the types of continuing education training they would like to attend to improve their effectiveness as board members. June 2003
and Annually Thereafter
2. The superintendent provides the board with a list of training opportunities for board members. June 2003 3. The board meets and agrees to obtain the required training necessary to comply with the TAC. June 2003 4. Each board member attends training relevant to school district governance, team-building and other topics of interest. June 2003 and Ongoing 5. The superintendent coordinates 78th Legislative Session training for board members to coincide with the end of the session. July 2003 6. All board members attend 78th Legislative Session update "of sufficient length" (TAC) to address any legislative changes. August 2003 7. The superintendent informs board members of specific training opportunities relevant to individual board member requests and needs. September 2004 and Quarterly Thereafter
8. Board members continue to obtain training, including online offerings of interest to them and required to meet TAC requirements. Ongoing per
This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.
The RLISD board has not formally clarified its expectations, goals and objectives for the superintendent. The current superintendent started employment with the district in April 2002, following resignations of two superintendents who had served the district in a combined 18-month period. The two former superintendents resigned with little advance notice to the board. The current superintendent's annual contract is limited in content and does not offer specific guiding principles or expectations. For example, the contract includes a miscellaneous clause that "encourages" the superintendent to participate in community and civic affairs, including the chamber of commerce. However, there is no specific requirement for which the superintendent's performance may be measured by the board. In addition, the superintendent does not have performance goals.
The superintendent and the board participated in a retreat held in August 2002. However, there were no actionable outcomes from the retreat, nor were identified key issues subsequently communicated. During the review team's interviews, most board members did not communicate any superintendent expectations. One board member said he would like to see Latin introduced as a subject and have more essays required of students. However, the board member said that he had never communicated those preferences to the superintendent.
The superintendent said he had been focusing on improving the district's technology programs and daily operations; these are just some of the aspects of his job. Without strategic direction from the board or a defined vision, the superintendent can not ensure he is meeting board expectations.
Other districts meet with newly hired superintendents to discuss and agree upon expectations, which are then incorporated into the superintendent's contract. While a board should not interfere with a district's daily operations and management, a board's vision statement, expectations and comprehensive goals for the superintendent do enhance district efficiency and operations.
The Texas Business and Education Coalition promotes positive and productive board relationships with superintendents so that together they can be strong advocates of education in the community and work to obtain the resources necessary for the district to accomplish its mission.
Develop, document and communicate specific goals, objectives and standards of performance for the superintendent.
Under state law, the superintendent should be evaluated annually by the board. Prior to the evaluation date, the board should develop and communicate specific standards of performance to the superintendent and board expectations.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The board president and other board members develop goals, objectives and standards of performance for the superintendent. June 2003 2. Board members meet with the superintendent to discuss and implement the new standards for the superintendent. August 2003 3. The superintendent reviews and signs acknowledging receipt and understanding of assigned goals, objectives and performance standards. August 2003 4. Board members evaluate the superintendent's performance and the board president provides regular progress updates to the superintendent. February 2004 and Ongoing
This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.