School Business Affairs January 2019

36 JANUARY 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS Weaving a tale of heroes. M ost everyone knows the story of William Tell, the expert marks- man with the crossbow who, myth tells us, demonstrated his prowess by shooting an arrow through an apple placed upon his son’s head. I often think this is a good analogy for school business managers in that we, too, must be ever-so precise. We are given a finite amount of funding and we must spend it, no more, no less. It’s not an easy task because not only must we spend it all, but we must spend it in the most efficient and effective way possible, ensuring every penny is tar- geted and transparently accounted for. Like Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and Joan of Arc, William Tell was a folk hero, a regular person who was transformed by life events, overcoming adversity and fighting social injustice to win through in the end. A Tale of Heroes So, I’ve decided to start my own small myth that will grow in future years into a tale of bravery and daring-do for children to admire and teachers to build displays around. It will inspire all future generations of school leaders. It must be a tale that is believable, motivating, and stands the test of time, so here goes: Many, many, many . . . OK, a week last Tuesday, there was a school business man- ager called (now this is tricky, I’ve got to choose a distinctive name that will evoke strength, energy, leadership, and compas- sion) Everett. Everett was a hard-worker—reliable, innovative, and astute. Everett supported everyone in the school, planned his budget meticulously, listened with sympathy to overstretched colleagues, took work home on weekends, and kept an eye on everyone’s well-being. Everett’s mission at work was to account for all the funding, spending it wisely and ensuring that other school leaders knew where the money was going by reporting with eloquence and clarity. Last Tuesday, Everett came to the realiza- tion that there was a problem. Funding had been cut over recent years and costs had continued to escalate. Everett could no lon- ger report a balanced budget. (At this point we must remember that folk heroes must risk life and limb in adventur- ous exploits in order to guarantee their tale will be retold for centuries.) Everett decided that matters needed to be taken in hand and so he organized a local rally to march on the centre of the city to try to influence an increase in school funding. Everett rode valiantly into the city on a beau- tiful white bicycle and was amazed to see a throng of hundreds of SBMs waiting for their figurehead to lead them to City Hall. Everett took a deep breath, proudly raised a banner, locked the bicycle to a sturdy post, and marched to the front of the gathering. The brave group proceeded through the city, peacefully chanting their slogans and trying not to get distracted by the “two-for-one” offer on glue sticks at the local hardware store. When they arrived at their destination, Everett presented a petition, signed by many in the education sector, requesting that con- sideration be given for increased funding to properly maintain the fabric of their schools, to broaden the curriculum, and to ensure that pupils with special needs could be cared for. Everett knew that this rally was just the beginning of a quest for appropriate funding but held a strong and single-minded desire to improve the life chances of all children, to facilitate and resource an education that fed a local economy with the required skills to build a cohesive, functioning and forward- looking society. WorkingSBM is a school business administrator in the United Kingdom. You can follow her on Twitter @workingsbm2017 or contact her via her website The Mythical SBM By WorkingSBM perspectives PATHDOC/STOCK.ADOBE.COM