Education Study Update October 22, 2014

Education Study Update
October 22, 2014
About the League
The League of Women Voters
is a non-partisan political organization
encouraging informed and active participation
in government. It influences public policy
through education and advocacy.
LWVLA Education Study Goals
Public education is a special-interest government entity funded by tax dollars.
Like other government operations, it requires community involvement in order
to best serve the public. This study seeks to:
Encourage informed and active participation from the Los Alamos
community in significant K-12 public education issues;
Encourage a strong partnership between the elected School Board and
members of the community;
Encourage increased awareness and understanding of major issues facing
K-12 education in Los Alamos.
Study’s Guiding Principles
Focus on communication of high level issues -- this is not about classroomlevel or day-to-day information but rather district-wide issues
Focus on communication of information that citizens need in order to
actively participate in high level decisions, in particular the district’s
Strategic Plan, Budget and other financial information
Evaluate the effectiveness of communication delivery:
-- Is it easy to find and convenient for the public?
-- Is it presented in a format that the general public can understand?
Study Process
● Learn how School Boards communicate with their
● Research School Boards across the country
● Identify best practices
● Share information with interested groups in
Los Alamos like the Los Alamos School Board
● Develop position through League consensus process
Study Members
Ashley Mamula
Barbara Calef
Lynn Jones
Rebecca Shankland
Karyl Ann Armbruster
Naishing Key
Jody Benson
Katie Bridgewater
Mary Van Eeckhout
Ed Birnbaum
Julie Williams-Hill
Susan O’Leary
Role of the School Board
Center for Public Education
Defines the role of the School Board as:
● “First and foremost, School Boards look out for students ...
● When making decisions about school programs, school boards
incorporate their community’s view of what students should know
and be able to do.
● School Boards are accessible to the public and accountable for the
performance of their schools.
● School Boards are the education watchdogs for their community,
ensuring that students get the best education for the tax dollars
School Boards in New Mexico
Ensure consistency in local policies with NM PED rules
Create & implement student code of conduct
Define boundaries for enrollment
Hire Superintendent
Review & Approve School Budget
Acquire, lease, & dispose of property
Have the capacity to sue or be sued
Issue general obligation bonds of school district
Oversee property management of all facilities belonging to
school district
Our Focus Tonight
● Review the goals and objectives of the Education Study
● Share examples of our research that illustrate best practices in
communication between School Boards and the public
● Share high level learnings from the research
● Talk about next steps
Cheyenne Mountain School
District 12
Colorado Springs, CO
CMSD12 Similar in Size to LAPS
Total Enrollment 4600 (LAPS 3543)
Charter School
5 Elementary Schools
Junior High
High School
● Comprehensive Long Range Plan/ Strategic Plan
● Financial Transparency
● Ease of Website
Comprehensive Long Range Plan
The design and development of the
Comprehensive Long Range Plan
was led by the CMSD Board of
Education in order to “help guide
future governance, practice, and
decision making in the district.”
What drove the need to develop a
strategic plan?
● Preparing graduates to succeed in the workforce and higher
● Supporting a safe and healthy learning environment.
● Maintaining high levels of achievement and growth on
external measures of accountability.
● Adapting to an ever-changing future.
● Realizing the vision of being “a district of excellent schools
and establishing an excellent school district”.
Financial Transparency
● Leader in school district financial
● Maintains the highest possible
credit rating (Aa1) for any public
entity in Colorado.
Ease of Website
● How is important information made
● Is the website user friendly?
● How are the efforts and accomplishments of
the district showcased?
Pender County School District
Pender County, North Carolina
Similar in Funding to LAPS
NC & NM have similar per pupil funding
Larger school district in terms of # of schools
Rural community with pocket of affluence
Schools qualify for Title 1
● Strategic Plans
-- 5 year Strategic Plan
-- Facilities Plan
-- Improvement Plans by School
● Budget is available in PDF
● Board Resolutions
● Board Policies
Albuquerque Public Schools
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Strategic Plan with Action Items
Budget and other financial information
School Board meetings televised live
Weekly emails
Local Example of
Excellent Outreach
High Level Learnings
● Senior leadership drives communication strategy
● Website approach is cost effective and convenient
● Communication has to be timely to ensure that
community feedback is incorporated into decisions
● Information has to be presented in format that average
citizen can understand
● Most important thing about website is that it contain the
right information -- not that it be fancy
Next Steps
● League will develop a position through consensus
● Public presentation of League study and position in late
winter, 2015
Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
Pender County Schools
Albuquerque Public Schools
Los Alamos Public Schools
Champion Local Schools- Ohio
Mequon Thiensville School District- Wisconsin