School Business Affairs July-August 2020 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | JULY/AUGUST 2020 7 Many of the initiatives we have been exploring over the past year have taken on even more importance. The Main Thing By David J. Lewis executive director’s message I n these extraordinary times, I continue to believe that trying to find the positive —to look for the silver lining—even under the most difficult of circumstances, helps me to maintain focus and strive to make progress on what matters most. Adhering to the adage “Keep the main thing, the main thing,”ASBO International continues to provide leadership and profes- sional development for dedicated school busi- ness officials in the United States and around the world. With that positive attitude and direction, we can advance the cause of public education, increase our policymakers’ understanding of the importance of adequate funding, and strive to address the inequalities in our system that prevent us from delivering a quality education to all students, no matter their race, religion, or socio-economic background. As this issue of School Business Affairs will attest with its focus on forecasting, school business management and operations, and funding during these difficult times, many of the initiatives that we have been exploring over this, my first year at ASBO International, have now taken on even more importance and led to an acceleration in implementation for these programs. As we look for silver linings in these devel- opments, I see increased interaction, coopera- tion, and dialogue between ASBO and other education-focused organizations. One example is the joint study on the costs to reopen schools we initiated with AASA and the out- standing media and policymaker coverage that report generated. Another is our recent partnership with the National Association for Pupil Transportation that led to an invaluable webinar on best prac- tices from around the country on new consid- erations for bus operations. These and many other collaborations were already in the “forecasted” phase of our opera- tions but during the past three months became an integral part of how we are providing vital information to our members. The same can be said for our advocacy efforts, which have now coincided with and been supported through such groups as the Coalition for Education Funding, the National School Boards Association, the National Council of School Facilities, and the Learn- ing Policy Institute. These efforts led to an amplification of our message regarding the vital importance of the school business profes- sional’s perspective when it comes to dealing with the myriad challenges our schools will face if and when we are able to return to the classroom this fall. Lastly, because this issue profiles our 2020 ASBO International Board of Directors candi- dates, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our board for their outstanding leadership as we navigate uncharted times. Their support and guidance for the work we do as associa- tion professionals is an invaluable contribution toward meeting the day-to-day challenges our members face in their districts and provinces. The inspiration and call to action on Equity, Empathy, and Empowerment from Board President Claire Hertz has become more focused on our work than just a few short months ago and emphasizes that as education leaders, we must be at the forefront of trans- parency, accountability, and absolute integrity as we deliver classroom and distance learning environments for our students. Claire’s emphasis on demonstrating our core values through our actions as school business professionals exemplifies the visionary leader- ship we seek in providing opportunities for you to continue to grow and lead in your vari- ous roles as education leaders. Although we are not currently able to see each other face-to-face, we can continue to rely on one another for support and inspira- tion as we seek to promote and protect public education around the world. We hope to be able to gather together again soon.