Welcome back! Come to a Fall Summit
I hope that your school year has gotten off to a great start! The beginning of school is always an exciting time, whether you are entering your first year of school or your last, your first days on the job, or your first year in the leadership chair of the board of education. We’re all involved in something very important – public education!
In my role as president of KASB, I have the opportunity to attend many workshops and meetings, some on the national level, and some closer to home. Do you know what I see everywhere I go? I see hard-working, dedicated individuals wanting to do what’s best for kids. I also see some groups who seem to want to discredit public education and weaken our system. What we are doing is too important to let them succeed.
A few weeks ago, KASB hosted a meeting of about 80 individuals representing many organizations and groups, including legislators, state board members, KNEA, state administrator groups and PTA. We spent the day discussing how our education goals based on the Rose capacities align with initiatives at the post-secondary, K-12 and early childhood levels, and what policies or decisions need to be made to move our schools forward. It was an exciting, energizing day, and I couldn’t help but wish every school board in every community across our state could have a similar conversation.
In fact, I believe everyone should have this conversation. Public schools and school funding will be on the agenda once the 2015 Legislative Session roles around in January. Before the state can decide how much money is needed to reach the Rose capacities – which is the new test for school funding decided by the Supreme Court last March – we have to find agreement on what the standards mean and how to assess whether or not students are meeting them. The education community should be ready to tell our legislators what needs to change and what resources are needed. This will only happen if we start talking now.
A great first step is to come to the KASB Fall Summits coming up the end of September and first part of October. You’ll get to hear similar information to what I heard this summer, and you’ll get to discuss what that means for your local community. I encourage every school district to bring a team of board members, staff and community members. There are a number of education-related agencies and organizations working to help our state and school districts understand and connect the new standards to the current public education system in Kansas. But this is a conversation for every community and every school board in Kansas. To see a detailed agenda and location information for the Fall Summits click here now
If you have any questions or comments, I hope you will reach out and let me know!
Where will you be August 5?
In less than four weeks, Kansans will have the opportunity to substantially shape the future of our state for several years to come. If this seems like an overstatement, think about the policies and laws passed in the last few years by both our elected state board of education and our Kansas legislators. Their actions have a direct impact on our local communities and our local public schools.
The primary election August 5 has a number of key races, both for state board and for the state legislature. Election season has always been marked by an increase in mail, phone calls and advertising. You add in social media, and it becomes even more tempting to just tune it all out. KASB created an election tracker
to provide information that can help clarify who is running for what seat.
But it is important to listen to what candidates are saying (or not saying!) during this election cycle, and it is even more important to do your own research and find out if they are “walking their talk.” Find out if their voting records and actions align with the direction you believe we must head.
The reality is that many races are already decided or will be decided on August 5. If candidates are running with no general election opponent, their election to the office is essentially decided. If two candidates from the same party are the only candidates, then whoever wins on August 5 has won the election. Independent candidates have until noon on August 4 to file, but this kind of challenger is almost never successful.
Whatever your political affiliation, whether or not you are happy or troubled by the direction our state is going, your vote matters. And it matters that you model the importance of voting and going to the polls on Election Day for your children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues.
Washington County USD 108 board member starts term as President of KASB
Rod Stewart, Washington County USD 108 board of education vice president, took over as president of the Kansas Association of School Boards July 1. Stewart has served as president-elect this past year.
"It is truly an honor to begin my term as president of KASB. I believe KASB is in a position to take the lead on a number of critical issues facing our state, and I ask my fellow board members to remain informed and involved,” he said.
KASB provides service and support to governing boards for unified school districts, community colleges, area vocational-technical schools and cooperatives, interlocals and regional service centers. The association serves a diverse membership base of close to 5,000 board members and educational leaders.
“KASB members have unique challenges and opportunities, but we are united in a common cause,” Stewart said. “We all want our students to be prepared for success, to accomplish their dreams and to become responsible citizens.”
Stewart has held numerous leadership positions at the local level. He served on the USD 222 board of education, president of the consolidation transition board, and is now in his second term on the Washington County USD 108 board, serving terms as president and vice president. He has been involved in the district’s negotiation committee, the superintendent selection committee, the curriculum committee and a several facilities planning and construction committees.
In addition to local leadership, Stewart served two terms on the KASB board of directors as regional vice-president. His involvement with KASB has included numerous committees for the association, including the convention credentials committee and the executive director interview committee. Stewart has been an active participant in both the KASB Governmental Relations and the Federal Relations networks.
Stewart holds a bachelor of science in agriculture education and a master of science in adult and occupational education, both from Kansas State University. He is a member of the Washington County Schools Booster Club and the school’s agriculture science department’s advisory committee. He is a member of the National Corn Growers Association, Kansas Soybean Association, National FFA Alumni Association, K-State Alumni Life Member and both the First United Methodist Church and the Washington County Historical Society.
Stewart begins his leadership of KASB at a time of renewed emphasis on local control brought about by recent legislative decisions.
“We must remain focused on and committed to what’s really important, and always ask ourselves ‘what is in the best interest of the students?' If we, both on our local boards and as KASB, will keep that as a guide, we can provide the kind of leadership our communities and state require.”