1. Conduct a Rigorous Situation Assessment
Know the Board's Appetite for Change
Be sure to scope the Board's appetite for change. After all, the Board will ultimately be asked to approve the strategic plan and the allocation of resources to support its implementation. If the Board doesn't buy into your plan, then the strategic planning process could come to an inglorious end, when presented to that very same unsuspecting Board by the soon-to-be ex-Head. With the Board on your side, at least you can do some proper advance preparing and lobbying on issues you know the Board finds difficult to accept.
Document the Way Things Work Today
Don't assume that you - or anyone else, especially the Board - understands the way things actually happen at the school.
- Prepare a detailed description of every major functional area.
- Include everything from the administrative functions through to the academic functions.
- Identify who is responsible for the functional activity, the activities being managed, the way the activities are managed, staffing, and budget.
Study Relevant External...
Intramural elections are exempt
Putting up posters and holding rallies for student council president are not generally considered a violation of the 'no politicking' provisions of the law. Internal or with in the bounds of the school community activities are acceptable. Read Rules for Exempt Organizations During an Election Year for further guidance.
Politicking for local, state and federal issues and candidates forbidden
In an election year where emotions are running high and record numbers of young people are being drawn into the process, you need to be very careful that your school complies with the law. Make sure you state your policy clearly in the school's handbook. Enforce that policy. The last thing you need is for somebody to file a complaint with the IRS and put your tax-exempt status in jeopardy.
Prove your 'no politicking' policy in your Form 990 filing
Schedule A of Form 990 gives you a place to document your 'lobbying' activites or lack thereof. Remember: your school's membership in NAIS and other regional independent school organizations can be construed as 'lobbying'. Generally the amount spent on memberships is relatively insignificant when compared to your overall expenditures. Just be certain to record those memberships and make the...
Step 1: Initial Meeting
Step 2: Position Profile
Step 3: Exploration of Candidates
1. Does one person have control over all of your accounting functions?
2. Are two signatures required on checks over a pre-determined amount - say, $500?
3. Are checks ever pre-signed?
4. Are your bank accounts consolidated so that your book keeping accurately reflects the school's true financial position?
5. Is there petty cash lying around?
6. Are different people assigned to the deposit and account reconciliation functions?
7. Do you have a purchase order system?
8. Does your committe review expenses and supporting vouchers carefully and frequently?
9. Does an outside auditor review your books annually?
10. Do you run background checks and speak to references before you hire?
Insist that your school be run like a business
Some schools find it difficult to implement standard business practices. Even when they do, they can find it even more difficult to stick to those practices. Be careful of the trusted old employee who's been there forever and resists your updated business procedures. Reassigning him or her to some other function and bringing in some new blood is probably a good idea. Off the shelf...
Now parents, teachers and students have to deal with cyber-security, stalkers, substance abuse, suicide and a host of other really tough issues. How does a school community cope with safety? Let's take a look.
Improve your communications
Improve your training
Hold seminars for every member of your community on the big issues such as sexual harrassment, hazing and bullying. Conduct followup training...