School Business Affairs November 2019

asbointl.org SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | NOVEMBER 2019 29 such as research. You may even find a foundation to fund the entire operation. Don’t be surprised to find allies where you don’t expect them. I’m reminded of a state superintendent who declared himself “guilty” when asked by the media how he felt about being named a defendant in the latest school-funding case. He was a longtime advocate for better school funding in the state and knew a successful lawsuit was the only way to a sustainable fix. It is important to be clear about your objectives, to act within legal bounds, to communicate broadly, to build a committed talented team, and to partner with reliable people and organizations. What’s the most important reason for taking legal action? Everyone in the school district is obligated to confront the questions of equity and adequacy in funding. Com- munity and professional leaders have an obligation to do what is morally demanded. • Adults must look out for the welfare of the children. • The community must make sure the children are being treated fairly. • Each and every adult must be a leader in the com- munity, whether as a taxpayer, parent, teacher, school principal, superintendent, school board member, or other locally elected official. Adults—all community members, whether or not they have children in school—accept a moral duty to deter- mine that the current school-funding system is fair in its treatment of their students, and is adequately funded to meet the educational aspirations the state holds for its children. One of the more poignant moments an adult can experience is to travel with a school team from a school district that is inadequately funded by the state mechanism to a school district that is treated well by the state formula. When the team arrives at their rival’s campus, the stu- dents immediately recognize the disparities. They don’t need legal precedents and statistical analysis to under- stand what is going on. They know immediately, loud and clear, how they are valued by the system. Just look into the students’ eyes. You will know everything you need to know about your state school- funding approach. Al Ramirez, a former superintendent and chief state school officer, is a consultant and professor emeritus in the Depart- ment of Leadership, Research and Foundations at the Univer- sity of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Email: aramirez@uccs.edu

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