Every year, normally in spring, although it seems to happen at any time of year our office receives urgent calls from a board seeking a process or an instrument to conduct a job performance evaluation of the school director. In those conversations it turns out more often than not (probably 80% of the time) we learn the board’s plan is to do the evaluation in a matter of days – although it’s not been unheard of that the board plans to conduct the evaluation that very evening.
Let me just say that for a board to implement and conduct a job performance evaluation in such a haphazard and callous manner of a school director, or anyone for that matter, is not just poor governance – it is unethical.
A board has a duty to act in both a legal and ethical manner.
The law requires that “a charter school board adopt personnel evaluation policies and practices.” Ethics require that the board create those policies and practices in an orderly and fair process which includes seeking input from the person(s) who will be the subject of the evaluation policy.
The charter school law requires ‘that a board shall establish qualifications for administrators, and that then it outlines the areas qualifications must at least cover, and then states that those qualifications are to be used for job descriptions, hiring, and job performance evaluations.’
Ethics requires the board to have established a job performance evaluation process and instrument well before the evaluation so the person whose performance is being evaluated knows the criteria and process.
If a board does not have a job performance evaluation policy and/or process, now is the time to develop one, not days or hours before the job performance evaluation. If a board does have a job performance evaluation policy and process, now is the time to review it, before it is time for the next performance review.
Words and our individual understandings of the meanings of words reveal a lot about our beliefs, values, experiences, and how we translate words into actions. In organizations, we often assume that everyone defines and understands the meanings of words in the same way as we do. So, it
is important for people in organizations to take time to share and reflect on the meaning of the words we use to convey our collective beliefs and aspirations.
Over the last couple of meetings, the MACS Board of Directors has dedicated a significant portion of those meeting to sharing and discussing what the words Equity and Equitable Opportunity in Education mean given that the board amended the Association’s mission statement to say that
an aspect of our mission is “…to promote equitable opportunities and excellence in education for students.”
The conversations began with each board member sharing their definition and understanding of equity and equitable opportunities. Based on the board’s discussion, input from school directors who responded to the equity definition survey earlier this summer, and other sources, the Association staff was charged with drafting a statement for board consideration.
At its September meeting the Board reviewed and amended the proposal the draft presented by the staff. Upon adoption of a statement at its in November meeting the statement will be used to guide our public policy positions and the Association’s programs and activities.
The goal of this work is to ensure that our commitment “to promote equitable opportunities and excellence in education for students” has a common basis and is always at the heart of the Association’s work.
In July, The Charter School Facility Center at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools published an analysis of state policies relative to Per-Pupil Facility Funding.
According to the analysis there are 18 states that provide per-pupil funding for charter school facilities. Of those 18, 12 states – including Minnesota – provide supplementary funding beyond the overall per-pupil funding formula for schools. (6 states embed any funding for facilities in the general formula).
When one looks closer at the 12 states that provide supplementary per-pupil funding for facilities, Minnesota provides the largest per-pupil funding by statute for facilities, except for Washington DC. In terms of the average per-pupil funding Minnesota ($1,232.94) is twice as high as the next state, New Mexico, and six times higher than Pennsylvania and Texas.
All 12 states have either some eligibility criteria or restrictions on the use of facility funding. For example:
- 3 states differentiate on how much per-pupil funding a school is eligible for based on the ownership of the building,
- 4 states preclude virtual schools from receiving facility funding,
- 5 states connect eligibility to academic performance,
- 4 states restrict use of the funds to Lease reimbursement costs (including Minnesota)
While Idaho, New Mexico, and Washington DC provide funding simply based on average daily attendance whereas Minnesota is based on adjusted pupil units, the per-pupil amount in their statutes is lower far lower than Minnesota, with the exception of Washington DC.
When one looks at the statutes of all 18 states that provide facilities funding, only Washington DC, and Arizona have a higher amount in statute than Minnesota. New York cannot be compared to any state since it has a hybrid model of facilities – including no cost district space.
So, when you look across the landscape across the country – Minnesota is a top tier state in terms of providing per-pupil facility funding in both statute and in real dollars.