May 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

School board resource center offers unbiased information for board members

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The Kansas School Board Resource Center, an information source for school board members and taxpayers, was introduced in Topeka before an enthusiastic crowd of board members from around the state.

The website, ksbrc.org, offers no-cost, unfiltered research directly from its sources, such as the Kansas State Department of Education. KSBRC Executive Director Ward Cassidy and Kansas Policy Institute CEO Dave Trabert hosted the event and introduced attendees to some of the resources available. KSBRC, like The Sentinel and Kansas Justice Instituteare subsidiaries of KPI.

The KSBRC is intended to help school board members make better decisions as they lead their districts with the ultimate goal of advancing student achievement.  A lengthy discussion with school board members identified several areas in which they need help, including how to fulfill their legal obligation to conduct annual needs assessments in each school.

Among the board members in attendance was Carla Wiegers of Lansing USD 469, who welcomed the information available:

“Thank you for the valuable information to consider as I continue to serve my community on our school board.

“I’m not perfect, but in my opinion, many things were left undone over the years by previous boards serving our district. People were hesitant to ask the difficult questions, not wanting to make waves.  Then when questions were asked by the current board, the board was scrutinized and dismissed as politically charged.

It is an awkward position to be in.  The parents, stakeholders, and sometimes the staff doesn’t know what they don’t know.  And these have been my neighbors, my fellow scout leaders, for years.  And unfortunately, the students are watching how the adults cannot seem to solve issues in a civil way; they echo what they hear, and they are not being served.  Issues like room displays eclipse the attention that should be given to crumbling district property or advancing school achievement and student performance.”

The KSBRC will host training sessions around the state to educate board members on a variety of topics, including:
            • How to read a budget
            • Preparing for labor negotiations
            • How to be effective in the philosophical minority of board members
            • How to hire a superintendent

Executive Director Ward Cassidy, a longtime educator and former Kansas legislator, is excited to be working with school board members and helping them become more effective advocates for students.

“The Kansas School Board Resource Center will be a very valuable resource to all school board members.  They will have ready access to data that will help them make decisions based on facts.  They can also look at great policies that have already been developed.”

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