Financial Matters

Editorial/Education

(continued)

At the last Town Council Meeting Coucillor Fred Shildroth asked for a summary of how many grant applications had been applied for and are still active. (Click for the article)

His point was well taken.  If the Town got all the grants at once, they could not afford them because the Town has to contribute too.

This brings up an interesting set of questions.  If  you follow Bluewater School Board meetings, you will soon realize that certain key measuring points are rarely brought up.  The staff has all the data.  They rarely are asked overview questions in open session.  The Board seems to 'spar' with policy at each meeting or have deputations about 'feel good' projects or unhappy parents.  What should be monitored at every meeting then?

The Board of Directors of a well run company monitors the following things at each meeting:

  • DEBT: How much do we owe and over what time frame?  What is the rate of interest on each loan.  Can the interest rate be reduced.
  • CASH POSITION: Do we have working cash to support our needs over the next year on a rolling basis?
  • REVENUE What are the sales/revenue forecasts?

(next column)

30/05/2009 12:02 AM


Of course these can be translated to school business rather than private business.

The answers to these questions usually appear on a spreadsheet as key indicators at EVERY Board meeting and the Board questions the CFO and the CEO about them at every meeting.  New development questions, marketing and other items appear later in the meeting and are in the context of the 3 questions.

In some companies the three questions appear at each meeting on a large and permanent display in the board room.  Everything flows from them including new projects.

At a recent School Board meeting the financial officer went over 78 budget slides in 25 minutes and did not receive a single question from the Trustees.

This was not the fault of the CFO, but it points out that the Board of Trustees needs more business background in their members.  They don't have the collected background to manage a paid paid out debt of over $105,000,000 and a working budget of $177,000,000 with projected deficits of $5,000,000 year over year.

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