By: Thomas L. Armstrong, CPA, CFO, MSBO Board President, Business Manager, Fulton Public Schools
As another calendar year nears an end, I find myself thinking about the song, “A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Jimmy Buffet. I like the song because it is marginally about sailing. I also like the sentiment. It’s about a “pirate” reflecting on his life and how his occupation has been displaced in the modern world.
I turned 61 in September. That makes me a dinosaur in our buildings. It seems that very few folks in education continue to work into their sixties. Business managers are a noted exception. I got my first school job in 1997 and I’m still going strong 22 years later.
In 1997, our State Aid Status Reports came in the mail, snail mail, in an envelope with a stamp. You had to trust that it would arrive on the 20th so that you could record the revenue in your system. Back then, the Special Education Actual Cost Report (L 4096) was completed manually. You got a blank form, again in the mail, and you had to make copies in case you made an error and had to start over. I’m sure that some over-achieving districts were using Excel to accumulate their cost. The district I worked in was still using Lotus 123, so we did it by hand.
We applied for E-Rate funding for the first time in the spring of 1998. We had one computer in the whole district with dial up internet access. I came in on a Saturday to submit our funding requests so that I could use that one computer for the interminably long time it took to complete the task.
Why am I reminiscing about these “bad old days?” Because another year is coming to an end. Before we know it, it will be the third decade of the 21st century. 2020. It helps me to remember how much things have changed, mostly for the better, over these 22 years. It also helps me to remember where I came from and where I’ve been able to go.
It is my sincere hope that you get some time off to enjoy the holidays and return ready to lead your districts over the next 22 years.
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Don’t Miss Out on These Scholarship Opportunities
- Essential Cybersecurity Practices for K12
- Launch Michigan Unveils Initiatives
- MDBO Update
- MSBO Financial Strategies Conference — Register Now
- MSBO Online Learning Opportunities
- MSBO Snapshot: 2018-19 Annual Report
- Professional Accomplishments Deserve Recognition
- STRESSED is DESSERTS Spelled Backwards
- Welcome New Members