The Lakeland Union High School Policy Committee continued discussions about the possibility of instituting the Coherent Governance model into the school board system. The idea behind the model is to make proceedings more efficient.
The committee heard a pitch on Coherent Governance on March 23 from Linda Dawson, of the Aspen Group International. The model was developed by Dawson and her partner Dr. Randy Quinn. The April 12 meeting saw committee members sharing opinion on moving forward with the $50,000 program.
With that price tag and the basic principles of the model understood by the LUHS board, committee member Barry Seidel brought up the possibility of making changes independent from the Coherent Governance model.
"Our priorities lie in goal setting, role definition, turf staking, if you will, and accountability," he said. "If we're going to approach that model on our own, we need to determine which branches we're going to attack first."
Seidel went on to say it would be in the best interest of the board to begin approaching their in place policies with the Coherent Governance mindset. One of the primary aspects of Coherent Governance is having the board act in a legislative and judicial body, rather than administrative.
Committee member Barb Peck questioned the need to have the Aspen Group involved in the process.
"It's extremely costly," she said. "I'm not sure we can make all these changes by ourselves, but we can start. There are four areas in the governance model, one being how we govern ourselves."
Seidel said he is in fact in favor of having the Aspen Group facilitate the process. He believes it will "save us a lot of time and effort."
"I'm willing to temper that, with the idea that it's $50,000," he said.
Another option is researching different school board governing models from WASB (Wisconsin Association of School Boards), which can potentially come at a lower cost, but in less detail than Aspen's Coherent Governance model.
Should the Aspen Group's Coherent Governance model be chosen, three to five meetings would take place with the board to get new policies - governance, operational expectations, board superintendent - in place. The Aspen Group would be heavily involved over the first three months of transition.
Committee chair Tom Gabert said he's concerned there would initial energy for the new policies, before returning into old habits.
"Especially when there is a change of board members," Peck said.
It was suggested to speak with other districts who have implemented the Coherent Governance model to give their input on the system.
Financial burden remained a strong concern among board members, but there was a common sentiment that a change in their governance model needs to be made for continued improvement.
Coherent Governance is expected to be discussed at the April 24 LUHS School Board meeting.
Evan Verploegh may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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$50,000 to implement the latest corporate governance fad? Please. There is no shortage of better ways to improve education at LUHS with that much taxpayer money. How about the board members just do the jobs they've been elected to do with the focus on improving educational outcomes, holding employees accountable for results, and doing both with an eye toward financial efficiency and cost control?