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ASBO '22: 3 Ways School Business Stakeholders Build Relationships with Board Members

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PORTLAND, Oregon — For Michael Juk, assistant superintendent of operations for Wisconsin’s Howard Suamico School District, district leaders should encourage board members to “look outside and look up” as they envision the district’s future. Getting an education is important.

With this vision in mind, Juech shared Wednesday how he’s been building lucrative relationships with district board members. I gave a talk at the session of International Annual Conference & Expo.

Board members are often elected officials, so political ideologies can emerge. That’s why some members find it difficult to trust school officials at first, Juech said.

Juech’s district has board members who often oppose the governor, he said. When dealing with these hurdles to building trust, it is important to reassure board members with facts.

“Let’s spread the ideology. Let’s talk about them,” Juech said.

Juech shares three ways that school administrators can develop meaningful relationships with board members.

help them understand school finances

School board members want to have a firm grasp on school finances, but they often lack the expertise, he said.

To help them better understand the system, district officials provide monthly expense reports, arrange meetings with school finance or business departments, and onboarding meetings for new school board members. can be held.

Setting the agenda for these meetings with the finance department and making sure to use the time to build relationships is key, he said. If these meetings are arranged, they should also be informed of the procedure if the supervisor does not attend.

During onboarding, Juech said she likes to ask board members and school business people about their expectations of each other. This orientation helps parties get to know each other better in a more informal way, he said.

show how their decisions affect students

Finding subtle, subtle ways to show board members how their decisions affect students is helpful, he said.

For example, Juech’s school district has a $98 million referendum project that the school board is excited to participate in, he said. So he brought some officers to the construction site.

“We built a relationship. We had to talk about it — ‘Hey, this is what you helped,'” Juech said.

The opportunity gave board members and school business leaders a chance to think “about the importance and power” of how their collaboration helped make the referendum project possible, he said. .

Visit other districts with board members

The Howard Suamico Board of Education also visited the Denver school system to learn about the innovations underway there. And members of the board were excited to go.

The purpose of this trip was to encourage board members to think about the potential and future of their district.

“It refocused their work,” Juech said. “We’ve gone from talking about masks and talking about virtual learning to talking about ‘what the future of education looks like.'”

But such a shift in conversation cannot happen unless the groundwork for building such a relationship is laid, he said.

“If they are informed and educated, they can make real change, which ultimately affects us all and, more importantly, our students. I will give,” Juech said.