Inside the Cabinet Meeting
A Newsletter from Dr. Jim Largent - March 2021
A view of administrative decision-making from a retired superintendent’s no-nonsense filter.
IN THIS EDITION
- True Leadership Shows in Times Like These
- Are You Shovel Ready?
- Are Your Facilities Truly Covered from Catastrophic Loss?
- Moving on Up: It’s Their Kids, Their Schools, and Their Money
- Spring Review: Workers Comp
I want all of you school leaders to know that I have been your biggest fan during 2020 and the start of 2021. You have weathered, and continue to weather, unprecedented times in our public schools.
First, a pandemic that is still going on after a full year. Next, a weather event, the likes of which, Texas has not seen in about 50 years. Add to that an electric grid that couldn’t withstand the demand, freezing pipes and icy roads, and all the issues that creates for schools. Finally, our governor "opened" Texas and removed mask mandates without advanced notice to education leaders. No matter where you personally stand on that issue, it is the recipe for lots of confusion among your constituents.
Some of these issues are no-win ones. You probably have parents and staff in your schools who think we should have never been asked to wear masks, and others who think we should still be in quarantine, schools should all be closed, and we shouldn’t open Texas up until all our citizens have been vaccinated.
There is no middle ground with some of these factions of people. Combine that with all the misinformation on social media, and it takes a true pro to keep your schools running smoothly.
I commend all of you for doing your best, making the best decision for your students and staff, and knowing that no matter what decision you make, some will not like it. Such is the life of a school administrator…
Here’s to a much better ending to your 2021 school year and some sunshine, beaches, and well-deserved rest in your near future. Cheers!!
All of you are aware that a second round of CARES funding through ESSER II is imminent. But do you have a plan to be “Shovel Ready” for the priorities in your District?
As recently mentioned by Commissioner Morath on a call with our state’s District leaders, increased ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ) as mitigation practices are recommended in the TEA Guidance Document.
HVAC and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) projects are also allowable ESSER II expenditures.
Take proactive steps with E3 to:
- Identify HVAC equipment deficiencies and needs that are aligned with the TEA
guidance document for COVID-19 mitigation.
- Document and itemize the needs to supplement the ESSER II application.
E3 encourages clients to have their HVAC systems evaluated to identify and address any deficiencies.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will have someone from E3 contact you to perform a no-cost, comprehensive review of your facilities’ HVAC systems to analyze indoor air quality and offer appropriate recommendations and corrective measures. We can even help you complete and submit the application once it is released.
One of the things we have seen recently related to insurance, is districts who “think” they are covered by insurance, have a catastrophic event, only to find out they owe huge deductibles, and their coverage only covers a portion of the actual loss. These losses can potentially wipe out your fund balance if you are not protected properly.
What if I told you there is a product that is low-cost, but protects your fund balance in case of a catastrophic loss? My partners at Creative Risk Funding, have come up with an innovative product called SchoolGap Protect that does just that. Please click on the link below to learn more, and call me to set up a meeting with the CRF team.
“It’s their kids, their schools, and their money!” This is one of the first things I heard years ago, when I attended Dr. Bob Thompson’s Superintendent Academy at Lamar University. Read that statement a few more times and try to get the real meaning of what Dr. Thompson was trying to relay to us.
Anytime you take a new job, you are entering into an established culture. Research shows that the culture of a school or an organization can be changed fairly quickly using the proper techniques, but changing the culture of a community is almost impossible. It can be done, but takes many years, and requires buy-in from a wide variety of community leaders.
What Dr. Thompson was trying to tell us, is to make sure that the culture in a potential new job is the right “fit” for you and your family. You should do as much research and ask as many questions as it takes to determine the culture you are entering before you take that new job. You can do all the right things, hire the right people, and make great changes that you know will work. But, if the culture of the school and community is not a good fit for you, it may not end well. Remember, at the end of the day, “it's their kids, their schools, and their money.”
One area of school finance and human resources that many times goes overlooked, is your workers comp coverage. Now is a great time to ask yourself a few questions regarding your current program:
1. Is my workers comp company transparent with me? Do I know exactly where my money goes, and what it is spent on?
2. Does my workers comp company fully investigate questionable claims before paying?
3. Does my workers comp company have a stop loss protection per event?
4. Does my workers comp company send a safety engineer to inspect my facilities and make recommendations for a safer workplace?
5. Does my workers comp company have a documented 44% lower claim cost?
If the answer to any of those questions is “No,” we need to talk.
Contact me for a free evaluation of your current program and how SchoolComp might be a great fit for your district.