December 15-17, 2010 The Arizona School Board Association or ASBA held their 53rd Annual New Member Orientation and Training seminar wherein all newly elected school board members have the opportunity to attend an orientation seminar that includes but is not limited to, Open Meeting Law, School Policies, School Financing, and ASBA organizational details. The seminar was designed to address newly elected members on the first of three days, and then provide breakout sessions for all attendees over the next 2 days. Starting as early as 7:15am and running ’til 7:00pm can make for a long day.
New board member Shane Stapley was asked for comment. He said, “The ASBA is very well organized, provides a wealth of information that new board members need to know and understand, and is unabashed about having a specific legislative agenda. A great deal of effort is spent engaging new members and encouraging them to participate in lobbying the legislature for additional funding.”
When asked directly about whether or not he felt the time was well spent? He said, “I was able to meet with other board members from around the state and compare notes. Of course, all of us are new and the ASBA has done a good job of providing a good foundation for issues we will deal with on a regular basis.” What would you improve? He said, “While I feel that much of the time was well spent, I believe there could have been a better prioritization of topics and more time spent on practical application of what school boards deal with on a regular basis.”
Nearly every one of the 230+ school districts from around the state pay subcription fees for various services offered by ASBA. One of those services that is very helpful to school districts is that of policy making. When the Arizona State Legislature passes a new law or modifies an existing law, ASBA works diligently to structure policy language that is most likely to fulfill the legal requirements of the statutes. Without this ongoing effort, school districts would be required to track any law changes that affects them, and then structure language on their own for policy that hopefully meets the legal requirements of the statutes. The ASBA also offers legal counsel services, advocacy assistance on legislative issues, and so forth. The ASBA was once a branch of the state government as another of the many agencies that exist now. In the 1960’s the agency was cut out and made separate from the state government and as such lost it’s centralized funding. Thus, subscription fees from various school districts is largely how ASBA is funded now. For more information about ASBA, click here.