asbointl.org SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | FEBRUARY 2020 7 It’s clear how school business practitioners have a direct and positive impact on how students’ basic needs are met. Meeting Student and Community Needs By David J. Lewis executive director’s message A lthough it may be a little uncom- mon to think about the role of the school business professional in this way, this month’s theme of safe and secure schools and systems triggered my thinking on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how our members fit into this hierarchy. From the physiological needs of food and water, to the security needs of safety and shel- ter, up to the social and psychological/esteem needs of belonging and accomplishment and finishing with the ultimate goal of self-actual- ization, one can clearly see how the multiple roles of school business practitioners can have a direct and positive impact on how the most basic of needs of our students are being met. When there was an impending teacher short- age that would potentially close some schools in downtown Phoenix, one of the strongest voices I heard in deciding what to do came from the school bus drivers and transportation managers. They insisted that no matter what the situation was at the school site, they were going to pick up their kids and take them in. Our public education system is providing more than just buildings, books, and busses. When I asked several of them why they felt so strongly about this, they said that they knew that many of the children they picked up would not be getting anything to eat at home that day if they didn’t bring them into the campus. We need to remember that it is oftentimes the most disruptive of societal breakdowns that show up at the front door of many schools. As the epidemic of school shootings con- tinues to rise, the issues of building safety, access, and campus design are increasingly at the forefront when it comes to retrofitting existing buildings or constructing new schools. This has brought forth a whole new area of consideration as school business managers and communities try to strike the right balance between keeping students from harm and hav- ing a learning environment that is welcoming, stimulating, and open. I’m sure we could design a building that would be nearly 100% successful in keeping out potential threats, but I don’t think we are quite ready to send our kids to a prison just to feel that they are safe. Although the role of social media and the way students and families interact with one another continues to evolve, the fact remains that about 90% of all families choose their local school for their kids’ education and the local school is often identified as one of the central pillars of their community. By providing the foundations for a place of connectivity, belonging, and academic achieve- ment and recognition, our public education system is providing more than just buildings, books, and busses. It is contributing to some of the most basic aspects of the physical and emotional needs we have as human beings and our roles as school business professionals are a vital component in meeting those societal needs every day. Lastly, I would like to say a very sincere thank you to the ASBO Board of Directors, and our outgoing board members Angela Von Essen and Michael Johnston, and Immediate Past President Chuck Peterson for their sup- port, encouragement, and guidance during this past year. Through the board’s leadership, ASBO International is well positioned to con- tinue meeting the challenges and opportunities facing our members and the profession in the years to come and I am honored to consider them colleagues and friends. ASBO International is a great organization because we have great board members, always guiding the association with an eye on how we can better meet the needs of our members.