Governance experts to hold training

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Paula Stephenson expects tonight's Steamboat Springs School Board meeting to be educational for board members and the community.

She doubts, however, that it will be exciting.

Two members of The Aspen Group, a consulting firm specializing in the John Carver model of policy governance, will lead the School Board through a comprehensive look at the popular model of school governance that's used in the Steamboat Springs School District.

Randy Quinn and Linda Dawson, the founding partner and the president, respectively, of The Aspen Group, are scheduled to spend two hours discussing the ins and outs of policy governance and looking specifically at how this school district has implemented it, said Stephenson, president of the School Board.

Stephenson hopes community members, particularly those confused, curious or against policy governance, will attend the meeting.

"It might not be the most exciting thing, but I do hope people come to it," Stephenson said.

Policy governance has been the target of criticism within the community since its implementation, and much of that criticism boils down to problems with communication, Stephenson said.

"Given all the questions that have occurred with policy governance over the past year we felt it would be a good time to bring (Quinn and Dawson) in," Stephenson said. The training also will be an important tool for new board members Jeff Troeger and Michael Loomis, she said.

Policy governance enables the School Board to focus more on strategy and less on the day-to-day operation of the district, Stephenson said. But that shift, at times, has created communication rifts between the board and community members.

"A lot of times when you have problems that arise, people want to go to the top (of the district's leadership), and it doesn't always work the best that way," Stephenson said, adding that policy governance allows issues to be dealt with first by the employees most closely involved with the matter. "It's a very different way of running a school district than has been done in the past."

Tonight's meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. The policy governance training is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

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