In the wake of a scandal that nearly engulfed the president of the Omaha school board, an Omaha state senator says he’ll introduce legislation requiring school board members to get professional development training.
Sen. Burke Harr said today the legislation is not a reaction to the Omaha Public Schools controversy, “but I think those events highlight the importance of having well-informed school board members with a clear understanding of their responsibilities.”
Yesterday Omaha School Board president Freddie Gray weathered a controversy over her handling of knowledge about the Des Moines woman the board had chosen as Omaha’s superintendent before news of racy emails she exchanged on her work computer led to her downfall.
Harr said he’s been studying how public school boards can be more effective, and 19 states require some kind of development training for board members.
“Nebraska’s public school board members will be another group of professionals, like attorneys and physicians, that must undergo regular professional development training,” he said in a public statement today.
His bill would require board members to get training about their powers and duties, complying with open records laws, compliance with education standards, fiduciary duties, financial planning, education law, labor law and ethics. He said board members would also be required to get training on their district’s staffing levels, demographics, dropout rates, graduation rates, truancy levels and test scores.
Reported by Deena Winter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here.