School board members, superintendents report high satisfaction with OSBA work
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Oregon school board members and superintendents express a high degree of satisfaction with OSBA’s programs and policies, according to a recent survey by DHM Research.
Members most valued OSBA as a resource and as a communications leader keeping members informed on education issues, according to the survey. OSBA received higher grades than in membership surveys the association conducted in 2012, 2008 and 2004.
“This shows OSBA is going in the right direction and members support the mission and the steps the OSBA board has taken,” said Jim Green, OSBA executive director. “We’re doing the things we need to do to address the needs of locally elected school boards.”
DHM surveyed OSBA members and Oregon superintendents by email from March 28 to May 7. Participants were asked about education issues and their views on OSBA’s work. This type of survey is not designed for a statistically accurate representation of viewpoints but rather to give broad understanding of attitudes and opinions.
Ninety percent of respondents said they were satisfied with OSBA’s services and programs, with smaller districts slightly more positive than districts with more than 10,000 students. “I would recommend OSBA as a resource to fellow board members” received more agreement than any other statement about OSBA in the survey.
School budgets, graduation rates, academic equity and statewide tax reform were the most important issues for respondents.
Nearly all respondents said it was necessary for OSBA to “serve as an effective leader in communicating education issues,” and 84 percent were satisfied with OSBA’s performance. Respondent comments noted an improvement in communications, with 92 percent saying Legislative Highlights, which comes out each Friday afternoon during the legislative session, was helpful.
Close behind the communications rating, 78 percent were satisfied with OSBA’s work at “supporting all school boards to become exemplary in addressing student achievement.”
Respondents also praised OSBA training opportunities. They would like to see more training sessions but said some smaller districts find them cost-prohibitive. Respondents preferred regional workshops while live webinars were the least popular method of training. Respondents said training on education and school law, student achievement efforts, and board governance were most helpful.
Respondents placed a high value on promoting education funding reform. This was one area where the survey showed members would like to see more work, although 70 percent still expressed satisfaction with OSBA efforts. Respondents supported a mix of spending cuts and tax increases while eliminating the personal kicker.
The responses hinted at some of the tension between the needs of smaller districts and those of larger districts, with people from either side saying the other’s viewpoints were favored by OSBA. Superintendents tended to be more positive than school board members.
The survey will help guide OSBA in coming years.
“This past weekend, our board of directors took a look at the survey of what members want us to do in the future and created some action steps,” said Green. “The staff will take that work and come up with action plans and implementation plans.”
One board member response summed up one of the chief attributes of OSBA for its members: “They have time to learn all the things boards don’t.”
The full survey is available at OSBA Membership Surveys.