By Tim Peraino, CFD, MSBO Board Member, Director of Facilities, Kent ISD
I do not need to remind everyone that the last two years have been unprecedented in many ways. The pandemic shook the world like an earthquake, and the shock waves have been reverberating ever since. Education, as an industry, has certainly not been immune to what is happening across the globe, and while the State of Michigan and public schools are experiencing unprecedented funding levels, money is not always the solution to the issues most impacting us. What good is funding for new positions when we can’t find anyone to apply for the open positions we already have!
It has become commonplace these days, when I meet with colleagues from other districts, for us to launch into a discussion about how difficult our jobs have become. We often talk about how the challenges we face have put a strain on everything we do, and how our roles have changed more dramatically in the last two years than in any other time in our careers. Staffing shortages, procurement issues, project delays, health and safety concerns, and the list could go on and on. We seem to relish letting others know how bad we have it, and while it might seem trite, misery has never loved company more than when two school business professionals get together and ask each other how it is going.
Don’t get me wrong. I know it is bad out there for many of us. But I think it has become too easy to focus on only the negative and forget about the real reason we are doing what we do. I met with a colleague recently, and he took time to show me some renovation work that was happening in his district. As we walked the halls of his school building, he fist-bumped and high-fived several students that called out his name. I was surprised at this, and I commented to him that he seemed to know a lot of students. He simply shrugged and acted like it was no big deal, but I noticed how his smile changed when he was around students. I also couldn’t help but notice that my mood brightened as well.
Over the next few days, I thought quite a bit about that visit and how it left me feeling. I realized that my job is often removed from the very people that we work so hard for. Each one of us does what we do for students. Some of us are many steps removed from the classroom, but the work we do contributes in some way to learning. So, I made a pledge to myself, and I would encourage all of you to do the same. Walk the halls. Get out from behind your desks and visit the schools we work so hard to support. I would especially encourage you to do this during the first few months of school. The energy, the activity, the excitement. Your spirits will be lifted, and you may even begin to see the positives in what we do. Nothing will help recenter you like looking into the eyes of a young person that is excited to be in school.
Go walk the halls. Trust me, it will change your mood.
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Challenge Yourself with the MSBO Leadership Institute
- Did You Know?
- Don’t Miss out on These Professional Development Opportunities
- Making a Difference Throughout The Years – Julie Omer
- MSBO Makes School Bus Purchasing Easy, Effective and Efficient
- MSBO Schedule of Events
- MSBO Update – David Martell
- School Finance Services Committee “Up North” Workshop
- Welcome New Members