Charles E. Linderman, RSBA
Director of Business Affairs
Great Valley School District
The two candidates for ASBO International Board of Directors positions presented their answers to three questions posed by the Board about the future of ASBO International and how the association can best meet members’ needs.
QUESTION 1: In February 2006, the ASBO Board was presented with the report from the Futures Task Force. As you study this report, what do you view as the foremost issue that the Board should address during the next year?
The Futures Task Force report provided the ASBO International Board with a great framework for the future of the Association. While many of the recommendations will take some time to implement, the report focuses on the important work of providing better services and representation for the members of ASBO International.
The ASBO International Board should start its work by prioritizing the recommendations of the Task Force. The first issues addressed should be those that make the most direct impact on the member. The best place to help the members is by providing more support for the ASBO International’s Affiliates. The state and provincial Affiliates are the backbone of the Association. The ASBO Board should concentrate on a plan that strengthens the Affiliates and their ability to provide services to their members. By strengthening the affiliates, ASBO will be able to concentrate on assisting the School Business Official in his or her day-to-day needs. Special emphasis should be placed on Affiliates who do not benefit from the services of a full time executive director. The members in these Affiliates need the support and resources that are capably offered by ASBO.
The Task Force Report also clearly focused on the image of the School Business Official. The issue of image has been discussed by ASBO and its Affiliates for many years. ASBO could better support its members by supplying them with tools designed to increase awareness of the importance of the School Business Official’s important role. Our members must become advocates for our profession. Having just attended the Pennsylvania ASBO Leadership conference in Pittsburgh, I heard Ronald Everett, former executive director of Illinois ASBO, speak on this very subject. He did an excellent job of inspiring the leaders of PASBO to be advocates. ASBO needs to focus additional efforts on finding members who can be advocate leaders and who can help enhance the image of the school business management profession.
QUESTION 2: Certification for School Business Officials is one of the issues that was addressed in the Futures Task Force and has been discussed by the ASBO Board in the development of the Strategic Long Range Plan. How should the Association approach the issue of certification?
Certification is a very important, but delicate issue for School Business Officials. Given the fact that a great number of states and provinces do not currently have any formal certification and the mandating of anything is usually frowned upon. ASBO would greatly serve its members by developing a standard certification process, which could then be shared with the affiliates. The affiliates could then take this ASBO developed program and work with their legislators to develop a viable and credible certification for School Business Officials in their state or province. The structure of the program should be one in which Affiliates could modify the program without jeopardizing the integrity of the certification. It is very important that any certification criteria be credible and certification should enhance the image of the School Business Official as a member of the leadership team in the school district.
QUESTION 3: Where is the greatest opportunity for ASBO to meet the needs of members?
The day-to-day needs of the school business official need to be a primary focus for ASBO. The Internet, printed publications, or regionalized workshops (local or teleconferencing) are all viable tools through which this support could happen. When real-life and consistent support becomes a valuable and easily accessible resource for ASBO members (even those who never attend an annual meeting), ASBO itself becomes ingrained in the role of the school business official. The return on investment will then outweigh the cost of membership.
I also think there is a tremendous opportunity for ASBO to be a proactive leader in governmental affairs. This transcends the solicited response. Rather, it means that ASBO acts as a leader when it comes to the operational implications of national legislation such as NCLB, federal funding, disaster response, and any issue which may be on the horizon. I feel that enhancing ASBO International’s status in the national arena is a key to the long-term success of our association. Such proactive leadership also increases awareness of our profession and builds the image of the school business professional.
Finally, ASBO also needs to continue to increase the professional development opportunities it offers to its members. We need to develop programs and resources that address the every day needs of the average member. We must also extend our recruitment efforts to grow our membership. All of these efforts will help to make ASBO International a stronger national level organization.