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Rochester School Board discusses goal of communicating more with the public

Three of the four goals the School Board discussed have to do with its relationship with the larger Rochester community.

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Rochester School Board Chairwoman Jean Marvin speaks during a study session on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.
Jordan Shearer / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The Rochester School Board is making an effort to have more communication with the general public.

The board held a study session Tuesday, discussing various goals for the upcoming year. While it didn't make any actual decisions, it discussed four possible goals to tackle, three of which have to do with the board's relationship with the public.

"We have come up with four priorities that board members have said 'These are things that we think are particularly timely right now,'" Board Chairwoman Jean Marvin said.

One goal focuses on communicating the board's decisions and rationales for those decisions to the public. Another goal focuses on explaining the budget to the public. A third focuses on explaining the board's roles and responsibilities to the public.

The fourth proposed goal focuses on monitoring the progress of the school district's strategic plan, which the board just recently approved. Marvin referred to the strategic plan as the district's "road map."

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During Tuesday's study session, the board members discussed various ways of combining or restructuring the goals, as well as how to implement them.

Regardless how they're ultimately packaged, the one thing the board made clear was that it wants to be more strategic about getting information into the hands of the public.

Marvin referenced the budget as one area that particularly needs more clarification from the board.

"That's been a big issue lately, and it should be," Marvin said about the budget. "School district budgets are unbelievably complicated because of the sources of funding, the way funding can be spent, and the very, very specific ways that money must be recorded."

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The proposed goals the board discussed:

  1. Provide information to the public that supports board discussions and decisions and communicates the rationale for decisions to the community.
  2. Continually monitor progress toward the goals and outcomes of the Strategic Plan Utilize the goals of the Strategic Plan as the primary basis for making decisions.
  3. Create methods for engaging and informing the community and staff to explain and educate them on the budget.
  4. Ensure the public is well informed about the Board’s roles and responsibilities – have a consistent message to share with the community that clearly outlines both.
Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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