By Karen Daniels
At the May SMSD Board Meeting, Trustee Virginia Rosas asked that the continuing education and travel expenses for each board member be placed on the agenda. After it was explained by Dr. Hindt that as a new board member, a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education was required, and for existing board members, 5 hours, Ms. Rosas called for more prudent spending on attending these workshops and conferences. “We are an economically disadvantaged district. Under the circumstances we should minimize what we use. And I think the people should know where their money is going.”
At this time there is no limit of funds the board of trustees can use; however, Ms. Rosas would like to change that. She announced that after checking with several other districts, she learned their board members are given a flat amount of $3,000 per trustee to spend on continuing education courses. Additionally, she would like to take it one step further. “Personally, if I don’t use my $3,000, I don’t want anybody else to have the remainder. I want it to go back to the fund. When I ran, my platform was that I would be accountable for funds.”
After Trustee Rosas concluded her thoughts, a lively discussion ensued amongst the other board members. Trustee Cindy Hoelscher agreed and added, “This is a place where we can trim” so that money can go to other places like supplies and keeping taxes low. A counter-point was made by Trustee Etienne Zak that “Professional development is critical” adding that board members are unpaid volunteers and they “have to train ourselves to be fully informed.” Most of the trustees stated that they must “agree to disagree” on this topic and decided to table it for the upcoming workshop, but Virginia Rosas has a very good point – if the district is being asked to make a budget and stick to it, shouldn’t the same apply to the board of trustees?
*Both board members attended the National School Board Association (NSBA) conference in April. Their expenses have been finalized but the number of hours they earned are not recorded as of this date.