Magazine article District Administration

The Truth and Nothing but. (Editor's Letter)

Magazine article District Administration

The Truth and Nothing but. (Editor's Letter)

Article excerpt

The first 11 years of my career were spent at a variety of daily newspapers. In that time, I covered numerous education issues, including the release of test results to teen tragedies to old-fashioned school board fights. As such, I always believed that telling the truth was the best policy, for educators, school board members or anyone else I met while my notebook was open.

I recognize that this opinion was more than a little self-serving. The more people talked openly, the easier my job was, and the better my stories.

After attending several sessions at the recent Association of School Business Officials conference in Phoenix last month, I realize that the math accomplishes much more than making reporters happy. Many sessions dealt with how to pass school budgets/bond issues or how to gain support for construction projects.

In budget battles, the key point is not a project's specifics or even the cost, but the public's perception of how the district, and its finances, are managed, said Don E. Litto, superintendent of Intermediate School District #916, a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. "Those opposed don't always think the schools' quality is bad, but they hate the financial management of the schools," he said.

A big part of that perception comes from whether the district's leaders are honest with the public. The more I talk to school leaders, the more I realize that telling the truth in a delicate situation isn't as rare as I thought. …

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