Top Ten Reasons ICCSD School Board Must Involve Itself in Budget Cuts

10. As of April 17, 2014, 52% of Respondents in the Press-Citizen poll said the Board “should cut administration salaries instead!” (Although I wouldn’t cut principals and their assistants and I’d leave the dietitian alone.)

9. The junior high field trip for German students to Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is really fun! What kid doesn’t want to drink hot chocolate in a boot? Let’s have that public discussion about why contracting with consultants is a higher priority than foreign languages, music, school nurses, and paraeducators!


8. The Board’s own goals require it to “pursue communication with the community.” It didn’t for the budget cuts, and there’s been no “deliberative processes” as required. It’s nice that the Superintendent Murley spoke with building administrators prior to the cuts; however, what subordinate is going to tell his boss to clean his own house first?


7. The Board represents the public and the superintendent is not an elected representative we can vote out of office. Too many angry voters mean many more “NO” votes in a future bond election.


6. All staff should have been given the opportunity for input. ICCSD uses John Carver’s policy governance model, and John Carver wrote that “The central task of a board is to assimilate the diverse values of those who own the system, to add any special knowledge (often obtained from experts, including staff), then to make decisions on behalf of the owners.”*

5. When Superintendent Murley made a decision to cut back the budget for foreign languages and eliminate German as a foreign language offering, he made a value judgment that German is less important than Spanish and French, which will continue to be offered. The Board is supposed to make value judgments, not the superintendent.


4. Boards are supposed to set long term strategy. Significant cuts impact student programming and services and are the Board’s responsibility. Who the heck thought cutting back orchestra was better than cutting consultants? How is the board going to recapture open enrollees if we’re not better than surrounding districts?


3. Under Board Superintendent Directions Level 3a.1 below, the superintendent is directed to “Establish with stakeholders a clear understanding of their rights and the services they may expect from the District.” The superintendent failed to provide this, especially for those seventh graders who signed up for German last fall. Plus, it’s not respectful to teachers and parents to present the cuts to them as a done deal to avoid stakeholders lobbying. The Board needs to fix this.

Superintendent shall

2. The board doesn’t seem to understand that by law it, and not the superintendent, is in charge. Iowa law requires that “The affairs of each school corporation shall be conducted by a board of directors….” Iowa Code §274.7.

1. The board must demand public input so it is fully informed about what the public values. It did not. Plus, public input should have been demanded under Board Superintendent Directions Level 2G. 5., which requires the superintendent to

board policy super - Copy

If the Board fails to provide leadership and get public input on these budget cuts and just rubber stamps the superintendent’s actions, the public does not need a board.


* “The creator of Policy Governance challenges school boards to change,” BY JOHN CARVER.,%20Articles/A.10%20Remaking%20School%20Board%20Governance,%20John%20Carver%20-%20The%20creator%20of%20Policy%20Governance%20challenges%20school%20boards%20to%20change.pdf

This entry was posted in Bond, Budget, Cuts, ICCSD, Iowa City Schools, Murley, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Top Ten Reasons ICCSD School Board Must Involve Itself in Budget Cuts

  1. Colleges and universities are showing the same trend. Administrators are being hired at the expense of faculty, which are less likely to be tenured and more likely to be part-time, non-tenured, and adjunct faculty. Faculty used to vastly outnumber administrators. Now the ratio of faculty to administrators is 2.5:1 per the Chronicle of Higher Education:


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