The 23rd Alliance Annual Meeting
— Excerpt from the November 27, 2013 Alliance News Flash
A record turnout of more than 220 Alliance member district board members, superintendents, treasurers and other important persons turned out for the 23rd Alliance Annual Meeting on Armistice Day, November 11, 2013.
And they got what they came for: good food; pleasant atmosphere; a glimpse of the new Alliance sponsored district quality profile; a brief business meeting; an informative, but troubling panel discussion and an opportunity to mingle with a diverse group of their peers.
It was the first annual meeting presided over by new Alliance chairman, Paul Imhoff, the first gathering at a new venue, the Hilton Columbus Downtown, and, based upon unsolicited comments both during and after the meeting, easily surpassed all of the previous 22, both in size and customer satisfaction.
Highlights of the agenda were a presentation by Gail Kist-Kline, superintendent of Mason City Schools and Steve Kramer, superintendent at Madeira, regarding the new district “Quality Profile” and a wide-ranging panel discussion featuring State Senator Jim Hughes, of Central Ohio’s 16th Senate District which includes parts of five Alliance member districts, and superintendents Tom Tucker of Worthington and Todd Hoadley of Dublin.
Gail and Steve described how a group of approximately ten superintendents from the Greater Cincinnati area came together more than two years ago to discuss the State’s proposed new district and building grading system and the impact it might have on community support. After quickly concluding that their residents wanted more from their schools than just high marks on state-imposed tests, the group turned its attention to methods for determining what their residents wanted from their schools and meaningful ways to report the district’s performance in those identified areas.
The result was a template involving ten broad categories of district involvement with the specific goals in each to be determined by a district survey. By conducting surveys each year, the district can update its profile annually, so that the template can provide year-to-year comparisons, but also allow for changes in voter priorities.
Further discussions of the “Profile” will be on the agenda at January’s regional meetings, with the hope that all Alliance districts will consider adopting it. Many non-Alliance districts have already expressed an interest and the Executive Committee is considering how the concept can best be made available and circulated to other districts around the state.
It was an informative, but far from optimistic dialogue, that should help shape conversations with legislators; starting now.
In summation, the 23rd Alliance Annual Meeting was a valuable gathering of a distinguished group of Ohio’s educators, and we hope that the 24th will be even better.
WINTER REGIONAL MEETINGS
As has been the custom of the Alliance, regional meetings will once again be held for all members as we begin the new calendar year.
The content and format for these meetings will focus on what to expect out of Columbus over the next several months, some thoughts about the new school funding formula, and an opportunity for members to discuss the statewide rollout of the “Quality Profile” and to prepare to develop one of their own. We anticipate both a question and answer session, along with a sharing opportunity so that members can not only learn from each other, but also develop regional cohorts for working together as they move forward. This process worked well in the Cincinnati region and we hope to replicate it in our other regions.
LEGISATIVE PLANNING UNDERWAY
Even though it seems that the most recent budget deliberations ended only a few weeks ago, the talk in Columbus is focused on an anticipated mid-biennium review bill (MBR) that the Administration is expected to release in late February. While no one can be certain what that bill might contain, the Alliance is already pursuing contacts with legislators and administration officials to discuss OTES; fund transfers triggered by open enrollment, charters and PSEO; TPP; guarantees; preschool and other pertinent issues.
The Alliance relies upon relationships developed by districts with their individual legislators to deliver consistent messages reflecting positions reached by the membership, so that a coordinated statewide effort can be achieved. The year 2014 will present challenging opportunities that will test that model.