Maximizing your CASB

  • The Colorado Association of School Boards was established in 1940 to provide a structure through which school board members could unite in their efforts to promote the interests and welfare of Colorado’s 178 school districts.

    CASB represents and advocates for more than 1,000 school board members and superintendents statewide to groups both within and outside the K–12 education community. CASB provides services, information and training programs to support school board members as they govern their local districts. Membership benefits and solutions are designed to enhance school board effectiveness and help board members increase their knowledge, boost their efficiency and connect with their communities.

    CASB also cultivates relationships with dozens of governing bodies and other education stakeholders – at both the state and national level – to ensure a unified and effective voice and presence on behalf of its members.



    Association Governance


    CASB bylaws, which were adopted by the membership, provide the structure for the governance of the association. For purposes of association governance, the state is divided into 12 CASB regions. At the annual convention, local school board members are elected as directors to represent each of these regions. For the more populous regions, the bylaws provide for the election of more than one director. Directors are elected for three-year terms.

    The 22-member board of directors, which serves as the governing body of the association when the membership is not assembled, is comprised of these regional directors. Four seats on the board are dedicated to the six school districts in the state with the greatest number of students. The CASB Board of Directors annually elects officers. The board of directors appoints CASB’s executive director, who serves as the chief administrative officer of the association.



    Executive Committee


    The purpose of the executive committee is to facilitate the work of the CASB Board of Directors and to take final action on behalf of the board when necessary, if the full board is unable to meet. The executive committee also provides internal leadership development for the board, anticipates issues for discussion with the full board, previews and provides information about candidates for appointment to fill vacancies on the board and serves other functions in accordance with the governance model adopted by the CASB board.



    Membership


    Membership in the association is open to the boards of all Colorado school districts and community colleges, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), the State Board of Education and the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. More than 95 percent of boards of education across the state are members of CASB. The association is primarily supported by voluntary payment of dues and fees by local school boards from district funds. Annual dues vary with the size of the school district, based upon the general fund budget.



    Benefits of Belonging


    CASB offers a diverse range of benefits and services that are included in membership dues, as well as additional fee-based customized solutions that are offered far below market value.

    Membership benefits and services included with CASB dues:
    • Phone and email support
    • Policy leadership and support
    • Legal consultation and updates
    • Advocacy and lobbying
    • Communications updates and support
    • Peer learning and networking
    • Board governance support
    • Engagement and partnership with education stakeholders
    Fee-based solutions and special projects:
    • Policy projects
    • Policy updates based on legislation
    • Legal Services Program
    • Annual convention
    • Fall and winter conferences, regional meetings, online learning
    • Superintendent search
    • Communication audits, community engagement, focus groups
    • Board effectiveness workshops and retreats
    • BEST Health Plan



    Policy Services

     
    CASB offers a menu of policy services designed to promote effective school board governance and assist boards with their essential policy role.

     

    Policy Member Benefits


    Benefits of membership include:
    • Unlimited phone consultations
    • Sample policies on individual topics
    • Review of individual policies
    • Policy manual audit service (spot-check of board’s policy manual for legally required policies, as well as feedback on organization and format)

    Custom Policy Solutions


    CASB’s custom policy options offer ways to ensure that local policy remains relevant and complies with applicable law. A policy manual overhaul project helps districts create a comprehensive, customized policy manual using CASB’s Core Sample Policy manual as a starting point. Our Core Sample Policy Manual is a comprehensive, attorney-reviewed sample policy resource that includes all legally required policies, as well as numerous other policies addressing virtually every issue likely to arise in a public school district.

    For Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), CASB offers a modified version of the Core Sample Policy Manual. The comprehensive, attorney-reviewed sample policy manual includes all legally required policies, as well as numerous policies addressing BOCES-specific issues.

    CASB’s user-friendly online policy solutions are designed to promote more effective local policy leadership and include the Policy Support System and Online District Policy Maintenance.

    The Policy Support System provides an informative and comprehensive approach to keeping policies up to date via:
    • CASB Core Policy Online, which allows users to search CASB’s sample policies any time and includes links to current state statutes and regulations.
    • Policy Parameters – A policy newsletter to inform boards and staff about changes to federal and state law and the policy implications of such changes. In addition to explaining any or new or revised legislation, rules and/or applicable case law, Policy Parameters also provides pertinent policy updates to CASB’s sample policies.
    • Special Policy Update – A newsletter to alert boards and staff to time-sensitive or hot-topic policy issues that require immediate attention. Special Policy Update also provides pertinent policy updates to CASB’s sample policies.
    • Online District Policy Maintenance transforms the board’s policy manual from a cumbersome notebook into a convenient, paperless policy collection. CASB hosts the manual, links it to your district’s website and performs all updates at the district’s request.
    Policy training sessions are offered on a variety of topics, including:
    • How to keep the board’s policy manual current
    • Policy manual orientation
    • Key policy areas
    If the board’s policy manual is not currently using the National Education Policy Network/National School Boards Association policy letter codes or is using outdated letter codes, consider a policy manual re-coding project. CASB will recode the manual to the current NEPN/NSBA coding system, allowing greater ease for referencing and updating.

    CASB’s Policy Governance® service provides comprehensive facilitation and consultation, enabling boards to establish a specific framework for effective governance using the Policy Governance® model.
     
     
     


    Legal Resources


    Member Legal Resources


    CASB’s member legal resources team provides general legal information and consultation to educate school leaders about the law and help avoid potential legal problems. CASB attorneys:
    • Correspond directly with members on legal questions arising in their communities
    • Publish memos on frequently asked questions and topics of interest to school leaders, e.g., nonrenewal process, elections
    • Provide updates on legal issues affecting districts throughout the state, e.g., recent court decisions, legislative changes
    • Email updates with upcoming compliance deadlines
    • Provide regional seminars and training sessions for school board members and administrators
    • Review legislation and assist with CASB’s advocacy efforts
    • Support CASB’s development of sample policies as required by legislative or judicial action
    • Participate on task forces and other committees that influence and develop education policy

    Training and Seminars


    CASB’s legal team offers training and seminars designed to reduce districts’ potential liability by providing staff and board members with an understanding of their rights and obligations under the law. In addition, CASB members may request specialized trainings tailored to their local concerns for a flat fee. Such retreats and presentations are customized to the board’s needs and may relate to any topic, from board governance to special-education laws.

    Legal Services Program


    CASB’s Legal Services Program (LSP) provides legal services to CASB members at discounted rates. By participating in the LSP, districts establish a formal attorney-client relationship with CASB’s LSP attorneys. This allows LSP to provide direct legal advice and representation that is beyond the scope of the information received under the member legal resources program.

    LSP attorneys have extensive experience in:
    • Special education
    • Employee discipline and dismissal
    • Student rights, discipline and expulsion
    • Real estate transactions (including BEST financing)
    • Constitutional and civil rights
    • Board governance
    • Athletic eligibility
    • Contract negotiation
    • Dispute resolution
    LSP attorneys work collaboratively to identify and deliver services tailored to each client’s individual needs. LSP attorneys may serve as general counsel handling all legal matters for a client or as co-counsel or special counsel. In the co-counsel or special counsel role, CASB’s LSP attorneys may handle a matter directly, assist a school district’s attorney by contributing specialized knowledge and expertise or serve as an impartial hearing officer.



    Conferences

     
    CASB believes that local school districts can be only as good as the quality of their leadership. To that end, CASB offers school board leaders numerous training, education and networking opportunities throughout the year to strengthen their governance role.

    Annual Convention


    CASB’s signature event is the largest gathering of school board members in the state, and provides a unique opportunity to learn, connect, grow and get inspired. Attendees hear from national speakers, focus on statewide education initiatives and directives, and have a chance to network and share experiences with other education leaders throughout the state.

    Fall Delegate Assembly Conference


    The Delegate Assembly is the foundation of CASB’s governance structure and provides critical direction to CASB when it represents members’ interests before state and national policy-makers. This conference is an opportunity for members and their delegates to learn about issues facing public education in Colorado and to debate and deliberate those issues before the delegates vote on resolutions. Participation by members ensures that CASB understands the interests of all boards of education across the state.

    Winter Legislative Conference


    Provides school board members the opportunity to meet with their state legislators, learn about legislative issues impacting public education and spend time at the state capitol to see the House and Senate in action

    Fall Regional Meetings


    CASB hosts meetings in each of its 12 regions annually to enable school board members to network with their colleagues and share challenges and success stories with neighboring districts. Board members also get the tools they need to start conversations in their communities and position their board to influence state education policy.




    Communications


    Implementing effective communication strategies is no easy task, especially when taking into account the distinct internal and external audiences of each school district. While some are fortunate to have an in-house communications expert, most districts – especially in rural areas – do not. That’s where CASB can help.

    Communications Benefits


    CASB’s public relations experts can work with school boards to create a top-notch communications program that can help boards engage and connect better with district staff and the community, get a specific message out to the media and learn to listen to staff and the community more effectively. Members also can get up-to-date education, legislative and conference information through CASB’s website (casb.org), publications, email newsletters and social media channels.

    Custom Communications Solutions


    CASB’s custom communications solutions sharpen board members’ ability to communicate strategically with a variety of publics – a skill that is essential for effective leadership:
    • Our communications audit service is a comprehensive tool to assess how well school districts are communicating with and engaging their staff and community. It is designed to identify gaps in communication and misperceptions, offer suggestions for capitalizing on communication strengths, find the best methods for reaching intended audiences, assess the level of trust between the district and its publics and recommend strategies for improvement.
    • CASB can conduct focus-group research with district staff and the community to assist boards in making important decisions. Additionally, CASB provides custom workshops on communications-related topics,, including school district marketing, customer service, community engagement and more



    Advocacy Services


    CASB’s advocacy team represents school boards at the state and federal levels by lobbying members of the
    General Assembly and U.S. Congress and staying abreast of the pulse of education.

    How CASB Advocates for Local School Boards

    • Lobbies the state legislature based on the resolutions adopted by the CASB delegate assembly, the legislative priorities established by the CASB board of directors and input from the Legislative Resolutions Committee.
    • Hosts Days at the Capitol from January through April to give school board members from across the state a chance to experience the legislative process firsthand and help strengthen the voice of school boards.
    • Sends legislative updates and alerts on a regular basis during the legislative session. CASB makes it simple and quick for board members to contact legislators and make their voices heard. CASB’s School Board Advocate online newsletter is distributed during the legislative session to inform members about the latest developments at the state capitol that impact K–12 education.
    • Compiles a list of the education bills introduced each year by the legislature, including a summary of each piece of legislation and CASB’s position on the bill.
    • Provides federal advocacy by responding to lobbying requests from the National School Boards Association. Through CASB’s Federal Relations Network, the advocacy team and committee members also correspond with Colorado’s congressional delegation to convey the position of local boards of education on federal issues



    School Board Effectiveness


    CASB provides opportunities for growth and skill building for governing teams, board members and superintendents at every experience level. From phone and email support, to online resources and annual events, CASB’s year-round leadership development offerings help members strengthen the effectiveness and relevance of their board.

    Workshops and Retreats


    CASB offers skilled facilitation and custom workshops and retreats for school boards’ continuous improvement and unique needs. CASB facilitators work with school boards in the following general areas:
    • Team building and leadership
    • High-performance governing
    • Constituent and community engagement
    • Conflict resolution
    • Effective meetings
    • Visioning and goal-setting
    • Strategic action and framework
    • Trust building
    For insights, tools and briefings about board effectiveness, go here
     


    Superintendent Search


    Finding the right superintendent to lead a school district is one of the most important – and most difficult – tasks for a school board.

    Since the early 1990s, CASB has offered superintendent search services to help local school boards find the best possible match for their unique district. CASB distinguishes its service from that of private consultants in two key ways:
    1. CASB works first and foremost for the board of education
    2. CASB seeks the best possible match for the distinctive needs of the district – one candidate does not fit all
    In a typical superintendent search project, CASB will:
    • Identify and prioritize the board’s needs and wishes for a new superintendent
    • Engage staff and community members in a process to determine their desires for their next school district leader
    • Develop and distribute a promotional brochure about the position and district, and place state and national advertisements
    • Recruit potential candidates based on the profile identified by the board, staff and community
    • Provide a user-friendly online application system for all candidates
    • Work with the board to determine the best screening strategies to ensure a fair process to all candidates
    • Manage application files and correspondence with candidates with strict confidentiality
    • Work with the board to set up a complete interview process to guarantee a professional, thorough and legal interview procedure
    • Assist the district in working with the news media during the process
    • At the board’s request, CASB will conduct a first-year performance plan session with the superintendent and board after the superintendent is hired
    CASB consultants guide the board through each step of the process – with the ultimate decision made by the board. A typical superintendent search takes three months to complete but can be shortened and/or modified to meet the district’s needs.




    BEST Health Plan


    In 2004, CASB sponsored the formation of the Colorado Boards of Education Self-Funded Trust Inc. (BEST) to provide a multiemployer/employee health benefit program that offers administrative, underwriting, provider network, reinsurance, shared financial risk and other services to its member employers.

    BEST operates under the philosophy that its members are the critical links to managing rising health-care costs and expenses. Strong wellness initiatives and resources are made available to assist members and are designed to work together to promote health, reduce lost productivity and ultimately limit the spiraling costs of health care. By standing together, school districts can create a program that serves them and their employees, not the profit line of a larger insurance company.

    BEST provides the following advantages:
    • Integrated health strategy incorporates biometric screens, health risk assessments, nurse navigators and incentive programs to control health-care costs from both the demand and supply side of the health-care equation.
    • Competitive direct contracting delivers network options that include leading health-care providers and facilities throughout Colorado.
    • Pooling allows member employers to share the risk associated with unpredictable large claims.
    • Cooperative purchasing lowers expenses and provides opportunities to stabilize rates and reserves.
    For more information, visit www.BEST-HealthPlan.com.