Candidate for Vice President
Executive Director of Finance
Rio Rancho Public Schools
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Randy Evans, RSBO, has over eighteen years of school business experience and has been an active member of New Mexico ASBO for over sixteen years. He has served on the NMASBO board of directors since 2002, was board treasurer from 2006 to 2009, and was named New Mexico school business administrator of the year in 2006. Randy has also been an active member of ASBO International since 1998, serving the association in various capacities such as on the Certificate of Excellence committee, as chair of the Professional Development committee and as a part of the development of the professional standards and ethics handbook.
Randy has been married to his wonderful wife for over 25 years, and they are blessed with two great teenagers.
Our role in school business continues to become more difficult in these times of declining revenues. As a result, we need our organization to deliver exceptional value to its membership because the value received by an ASBO member must clearly offset the annual cost of membership. We must develop a positive strategy of providing relevant professional development opportunities. New initiatives for members might include blogs on legislative issues and support to those districts that lack the size and resources for full-time staff.
ASBO must be the catalyst in bringing together its affiliates to promote uniformity in the educational systems of their states/provinces. I envision, through ASBO’s leadership, a consistent, generally accepted set of standards for evaluating educational programs and their fiscal impact. In collaboration with its affiliates, a means of comparing data across states or provinces could easily be done. Types of programs and their fiscal impact could be compared and evaluated to produce universally accepted “best practices”. ASBO, as the recognized expert and leader in school business administration, is the best organization to make this happen.
Schools today are serving a more diverse student population than ever before. There are increased expectations for educational reform, for raising student test scores, and for preparing students for a world that none of us could have ever imagined. At the same time, resources continue to decline. How best can school business officials help their school systems effectuate these changes?
First and foremost, we must make every penny count! As resources continue to decline, school business officials must be creative in ensuring that all dollars spent are directed toward their school district’s greatest needs. We must create a budget process and financial transparency that allows open and candid dialogue on the school system’s greatest needs. Input must be encouraged from the various stakeholders within our district about the programs that will most likely align teaching and learning with assessments. We should direct our limited funds to be spent on areas that will produce the greatest results. A prime example is adequately investing in the implementation of Common Core State Standards. We have to understand that the cost of doing nothing will greatly outweigh any short term savings that may be achieved. For instance, early reading intervention, like reading recovery, can have long-term cost benefits. A failure to make significant interventions early will result in long-term costs that might have been avoided. School business officials must be the initiators in supporting high yield strategies and insist on the data to support the programs that are being funded, whether they produce short-term or long-term returns.
The incredible responsibility of preparing students to compete and succeed on a global level must be shared by all and could be coordinated by the school business official because of his or her unique position in a school system. We can have a great impact in achieving the mission of a school district, because we know and see every expenditure, and in partnership with curriculum, can help ensure that every penny is used wisely.
All of these programs can be fiscally supported when the school business official helps promote efficiency at the district level. School business officials need to use their knowledge and skills to eliminate waste and be competent in safe-guarding the district’s assets. The days of increasing resources and money being spent on unproven programs are gone.
The American educational system is continually being compared to those in other countries. Comparisons include student achievement, length of student day, funding, and facilities. Looking at other countries to which we have been compared, is there any one country’s educational system, or bits and pieces from countries that seem to “get it,” that the United States could use as a model for educational reform?
Because of the wide variety of students that the American educational system is trying to serve, a comparison with other countries is not necessarily feasible. The numerous variables and diverse population make realistic comparisons very difficult.
Other countries view education as extremely valuable and the parents of students place a very high emphasis on results and achievement. Many other countries focus on year-round education and have limited extra-curricular activities available through the school system. Our culture and delivery system is considerably different than some of the countries to which we are being compared. We continue to base our educational systems on the agrarian society, in which children were needed to help with the farm in the summer months. Many other countries don’t have the summer regression of learning that is experienced in the American educational system. Year-round education, with its uninterrupted teaching and learning, allows for growth on a continuous basis without the need at the start of every school year to relearn much of what was covered in the previous semester. Unfortunately, the structure of the current American educational system causes lost productivity and costly inefficiencies.
Another key difference between our educational system and that of other countries is parental involvement. Even with the structure of the current system, a school district which succeeds in engaging parents all year long and encouraging them to place a high value on their children’s education is a district in which noticeable yearly progress is made. Schools helping parents continue the teaching and learning over the summer months may reduce the retention loss from the previous semester.
When comparing the American educational system with those in other
countries, the most significant difference is the diverse population of
the United States, the level of parental involvement and the importance
placed on education by the culture. If the American education
system could improve the partnership between schools and parents, we
would begin to see the student achievement gap shrink between the United
States and other countries.
The school business official typically wears a number of “hats,” having to be a generalist in educational support rather than a specialist in budget, as most would think. While budget and financial management are the main functions of the SBO, many SBOs spend a majority of their time dealing with a variety of other issues. Given the wide range of knowledge and expertise the SBO must have, how best can ASBO International prepare its members for the SBO “world of work?”
As I look at ASBO International, I see an association that has continued to improve and diversify its professional development to meet the needs of its membership. The certification program for School Finance and Operations has been a great effort to try and recognize the number of “hats” that a school business official wears. But there is a whole lot more to school business management than balanced books, maintained facilities, managed personnel or nutritionally satisfied students. We must keep our focus on the mission of education and our school districts.
The general knowledge of school business is a must, but the School Business Official of today must know even more, such as Common Core State Standards and how their implementation directly impacts a district’s ability to meet its mission. ASBO International must provide professional development beyond the normal “hats” worn by the School Business Official and help them to develop skills that will assist the School Business Official in building relationships with their superintendents, school boards and the community. ASBO can prepare its members to become change agents in the educational system by helping them stay focused on the overall mission of education. ASBO can facilitate that link between budget and financial management and achieving academic improvements by using its expertise and connections with other associations, such as the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Boards Association and the United States Department of Education.
ASBO can also work with its many affiliates in
North America and around the world to provide support for a generally
accepted set of standards for School Business Officials, regardless of
their state, province or country. Generally accepted school
business officials’ standards (GASBOS) would create uniformity in
a number of areas, which would greatly improve efficiency and
accountability. ASBO could be the conduit by which these accepted
standards become a reality. Who better than ASBO to be the
initiator in creating efficiency and accountability in our educational