By Brian Marcel, CFO, MSBO Board of Directors, Assistant Superintendent Administrative and Support Services, Washtenaw ISD
Prior to being elected to the MSBO Board this year, I served on the Financial Review Committee. The role of the committee is to meet with the auditor and review the MSBO annual audit and auditor’s recommendations. As part of the review, the committee members would often ask other operational and policy questions about the organization to better understand what we were seeing in the financial statements. Out of that process of due diligence and curiosity, Investing in MSBO Members was born!
Exploring how MSBO could give back to its members by further supporting them in their professional development became the primary focus that I discussed with Dave Martell. In 2019, the Board established an Ad Hoc Committee to review the options and to provide a comprehensive plan to Dave to be considered at a future board meeting. Stephanie Weese, Nancy Hawkins, Dave Martell and I were the assigned Ad Hoc members.
One of the areas MSBO has decided to invest in its members is for the Business Manager Academy, providing a scholarship to one participant in each of the Academy cohorts. One of the disparities I have seen throughout my career is the difficulty a district that is struggling financially encounters in maintaining professional development opportunities for its staff, especially when it comes to the support services side of the organization. The staff at those districts usually need those opportunities the most! With that in mind, Stephanie and I identified criteria similar to the early warning criteria that would help identify a district that needs the scholarship assistance.
Another area to invest in members is for the Leadership Institute. We identified the incoming vice chairpersons on the program committees (Facilities, Finance, Food Service, ISD, Technology and Transportation) to be offered the scholarship so that once they completed the Leadership Institute they would be the Chairperson of the committee. We also identified the vice chairpersons of Regional Groups as excellent candidates for the scholarship. Given the number of regional groups, we concluded on a rotation where each group would be eligible every three years.
To further expand on the concept of Investing in Members, the committee is reviewing additional opportunities to recommend to the Board soon! MSBO has always put the technical and leadership development of its members at the forefront of its purpose. I believe that Investing in Members is another testament to that purpose.