Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"We Can Do Better"
The following information is quoted from the Georgia School Boards Association Brochure entitled "All in Favor."
"Cast your vote for student success.
Your local school board makes the decisions that determine how your community's children are educated and how your tax dollars are spent. Voting for school board members is a simple but powerful way to support student success and strengthen your community.
You have Everything to Gain or Lose!
Everyone - not just parents - has a stake in the success of public schools. When schools are strong and students are successful, everyone in the community benefits.
  • Good Schools are good business. They attract employers, strengthen the local economy, and enhance property values.
  • Good schools ensure our students will be prepared to keep our nation competitive in a global economy.
  • Good schools keep the American Dream alive with an opportunity for every child to receive a world-class education.
  • Good schools keep the quality of life in a community high by producing citizens who pay taxes and obey the law.
  • Good schools teach students from all backgrounds how to live and participate in our democracy.

Voting in a school board election is an investment in the future of all children, of your community, and of the nation.

Every child enrolled in your school district is a reason for you to vote in school board elections. Local school boards can impact the overall quality of your local schools, both now and in the future. You want the most qualified people in charge.

The Power to Pursue Excellence

The decisions made by the school board affect virtually every important aspect of local schools from boundaries to bus schedules, curriculum to clubs, and funding to field trips.

The Georgia Constitution requires that an elected school board oversee each school system. Members of a local school board are to "manage and control" and to make decisions on almost every aspect of public school operations. Each school board - as a whole - serves as the governing body. Individual board members have no authority outside of the board room.

Many of the day-to-day responsibilities for which school boards are responsible generally are delegated to the superintendent. However, responsibilities of a public school board also include, but are not limited to some duties that cannot be delegated, such as:

  • Buying and selling school property (including the power of condemnation),
  • Calling elections to authorize a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and bond elections to authorize the issuance of bonded debt,
  • Making the policies and rules necessary to govern the school system,
  • Reorganize and consolidation of schools within their control, and
  • Authority to hire employees on the recommendation of the superintendent.

More About Duties of School Board Members

For more information about what Georgia law says about local school boards, their roles, and their responsibilities, please refer to the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) website: The Center for Public Education also provides important information about school boards and school board candidates.

The Right Person Makes a Difference

What qualities, skills, and experience should you look for in a school board candidate? Here are some questions to consider:

  • What are the candidate's vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students?
  • Does the candidate inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools?
  • Does the candidate understand that the school board's role is about the big picture - setting the direction for the district and providing oversight and accountability - rather than day-to-day management?
  • Does the candidate focus on one issue or discuss a broad range of school district concerns?
  • Does the candidate's approach make it likely that he or she will be able to work effectively with the rest of the board to get things done?
  • Will the candidate enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community?
  • Does the candidate have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition?

Qualifications for School Board Membership

In Georgia, there are actually very few qualifications for school board membership. Board members should be willing to serve and must reside within the school system's political boundaries.

In many instances, local laws prescribe additional qualifications such as residing within a particular war or election district. Check with the local board of elections for details. Beyond that there are few requirements for school board membership.

Georgia law actually provides more criteria for ineligibility for the office of local school board members than it does for eligibility. A person is ineligible to hold the office of school board member if the individual is:

  • Not a resident of Georgia.
  • Under the age of 21.
  • Not a resident in the county in which the individual is seeking office for 12 months prior to the election or appointment.
  • Employed by or serving on the governing body of a private educational institution.
  • Employed by the Georgia Department of Education.
  • Employed by the board of education the individual is serving on.
  • The holder of another county office.
  • A holder or receiver of public money that has refused to, or failed to, account for it or pay it over when asked.
  • A convicted felon who has not been pardoned and is not the subject of a restoration of rights.
  • Of unsound mind or unable to discharge the duties of the office because of advanced age or bodily infirmity.
  • A publisher of schoolbooks, an agent of schoolbook publishers, or someone with financial interest in the sale of schoolbooks."

I know that this is a rather long post, however I publish it in the interest of informing all voters that our Georgia State School Boards Association has developed valid and appropriate information that we all should be aware of. Public Education is the backbone of our Economic Future here in Bibb County, Middle Georgia, the State of Georgia and the Nation. Within the State of Georgia 92 percent of our scholars are the product of public education. Thank You!!!

Published by Alan Thiese

Candidate for Post 8, Bibb County Georgia School Board

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"We Can Do Better"
I attended the Called School Board Meeting on June 3, 2010. During that meeting I addressed the Board with these comments:
"As you press on with the task of:
  • Coordinating with the Search Firm to find a new Superintendent, and
  • As you conclude the FY 2011 Budget process

I remind you that the new principals for the 4 Grant High Schools need an effective monitoring system by the management staff to insure that they are 'thinking outside of the box' in an effective manner and also leading appropriate efforts as the Bibb School System is involved in 'The Race To The Top' program. I would hope this can also be done without an increase in the management staff. Thank You!!"

The State of Georgia is awaiting the announcement of which states will receive the "The Race To The Top" funds. The planned announcement date for Phase 2 applications (of which Georgia is one) is scheduled for September 2010.

During the 3 June 2010 meeting it was announced that the board anticipates information from the Transportation Department regarding possible budget cuts so that the board could adopt the FY 2011 Budget during the Scheduled Board Meeting on Thursday, June 17, 2010. I understand that the Board has conducted work sessions to wrap up the proposed budget.

I understand the the Search Firm for the next Superintendent has now established a "Web Site" so that citizens can submit their input regarding the Search. I also understand that this information will be published within the next day or two.

On Monday, June 14, 2010 I attended the Education Policy Forum sponsored by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) at Central Georgia Technical College. This event had a very informative agenda and I am glad I attended.

The highlight of the Meeting was a presentation entitled "What I Wish I'd Known Before I Ran For the Board." Mr. Albert Abrams (currently holding Post 8) made an excellent presentation. All three of the Bibb County Candidates for Post 8 attended this afternoon event.

During this Forum I also learned that some of our elected leaders to the General Assembly feel that Public Education is a lost cause. During this Forum I learned that 92% of our Scholars in Georgia attend Public Education Schools in grades K through 12. It was pointed out that as Citizens we all should support Public Education simply because the citizens of the future will be those who we will rely on to provide our health services, retail services, and the list goes on. I understand this information, which points out quite dramatically that we all depend on the outcome of Scholars who are in the Public Education System should be a valid reason for broad base support of Public Education in Georgia. Think for a moment, 92 out of 100 citizens of the future certainly means that as we all mature and interact with service providers in 2015 (or any other year) we will place our fate on citizens that were educated in the public system. To state this concept briefly, "We all have a stake in the results of Public Education" no matter where our own Children are educated. Thus we all have a responsibility to support Public Education as we "Race To The Top." I look forward to your vote in November 2010. Thank You!!

Published by Alan Thiese

Candidate for Post 8, Bibb County Georgia School Board

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"We Can Do Better"
As I continue my campaign to be elected to Serve I desire to share with you the following. I firmly believe that it is proper to prepare one's self for public office. In this regard I have read the following book: "The World Is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times Columnist. This book was first published in 2005 but it has been updated in 2007.
I am currently reading "The Other Wes Moore" which has a subtitle of: "One Name, Two Fates" by Wes Moore which was published in 2010.
I share these two titles with you because they both place major emphasis on education. I also believe that it is important for the electors to know that there is an abundance of information available for their own education.
Now an Update on my activities:
2 June 2010: I attended the Called Meeting of the Bibb County School Board. The sole purpose of this meeting was to launch the work of the Search Firm as regards the hiring of a new Superintendent for the School System. This meeting garnered a lot of press in "The Telegraph" of Thursday 3 June 2010 so I will not go into great detail here.
However, I would like to report that the Search Firm will employ three methods of collecting information as regards the qualifications for the next Superintendent. They Will be:
1. On Line Responses from the Public
2. Individual Interviews
3. Focus Groups/Small Group Meetings of the Public
These three activities will happen rather fast in as much as the goal is to acquire appropriate stakeholder response so that a "Profile" can be developed as the Search Firm advertises for the position.
Each of these three methods of collecting information will be employed and will be promoted in the local print and electronic media. It is my recommendation to the Citizens of Bibb County that they participate. At this time, Option 1 appears to be the most appropriate because it will allow everyone to share their thoughts and concerns in a private manner. I was informed that the process will be set up so that no one individual can "Spam" the On Line Response Web Site with multiple responses.
Now for my own Concern in this the "We Can Do Better" Post #3. I would suggest that the parents of Scholars become engaged in the Education of their Children. Please remember that the word engaged is quite different from the word involvement. I use the word engaged to mean that parents are performing as parents of Scholars in their own homes. Involvement is usually considered as the task parents and grandparents perform at the local school/s.
In this regard I would also suggest that our Bibb County School System require that the Leaders of our Middle Schools and our High Schools require that all Parents and Guardians sign a pledge such as the Staff of the Four Grant High Schools had to recently sign in order to continue their employment. We all know that the $24,000,000.00 will be much more effective as a tool to improve our Scholars Education with parent/guardian engagement.
Our Future Adult Citizens deserve the best. Now we must all step up to the Plate and also Do Our Own Best as we prepare our "Future Adult Citizens." Thank You!!!!
Published by Alan Thiese
Candidate for Post 8, Bibb County Georgia School Board