Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ensure Conference attendance transparency
by using sample policies, news releases

IASB encourages school boards that plan to attend the Joint Annual Conference to be pro-active in documenting their professional development experiences and expenses at Conference.

One way for a board to be pro-active in the area of professional development experiences may be to adopt a policy that addresses professional development for all school board members. More specifically, that means adopting a policy that permits and encourages ongoing leadership training for those who have volunteered to serve their community as unpaid school board members.

IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) has a sample policy (2:120, Board Member Development) on this issue. It provides sample text regarding issues related to setting parameters for board member training. School boards can use the sample text to set parameters on governance concerns (ensuring board members learn, understand, and practice effective governance principles and other best practices). Boards can use that sample text, as well, to set parameters on mandatory training, which means training mandated by state law (a list of such laws is contained in the sidebar at right).

The major purpose and function of the sample PRESS policy on the topic of board member professional development is to provide information to staff members, students, parents, and community. It paraphrases the mandatory board member training statutes and provides information to the community (see Policy background information below).

The Joint Annual Conference provides both mandatory and governance-related training to school board members and administrators through a Pre-Conference PDLT Workshop and myriad other panel presentations, workshops, General Sessions, and exhibits on school governance and leadership, education funding, student learning and achievement, school law and technology, as well as current education issues and best practices.

Also important at Conference are expenses. PRESS has two sample policies: 2:125, Board Member Compensation; Expenses (for board member expenses), and 5:60, Expenses (employee expenses). State law controls both policies’ content (105 ILCS 5/10-9, 5/10-10, and 5/22-1 (no compensation allowed, conflicts of interest prohibited); 105 ILCS 5/10-22.32 (expense advancements); and the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (ECA) 50 ILCS 150/10 (regulation of travel expenses)). The purpose and function of these sample PRESS policies on expenses are legal compliance (see Policy background information below).

Boards should review their existing policies or consider adopting a policy before attending the Joint Annual Conference, which is scheduled for November 16-18 in Chicago.

Watch for other material, including sample news releases, that are developed by the Association to assist those districts that want to pro-actively share what they will do and/or did at the 2018 Joint Annual Conference. Sample news releases are customizable and will suggest language that allows districts to specify who attended, how much the district spent, and how attendance fits into the district’s budget and professional development goals.