I am a man of a certain age, so I grew up with records during an era when we stored them in milkcrates. I also remember 8-tracks and the audible sounds of gears interrupting the song before we heard how that Convoy ended. Cassettes made middle school awesome, but they also sparked the future explosion of the hearing-aid industry with the Walkman. Today’s ear buds and streaming technology make all that stuff seem lacking. Whereas I had a few hundred songs at my fingertips, we now have every song ever recorded in our wristwatch. Obviously, I am prone to rambling, so let’s skip ahead to the point of all old man stories: things were better when things were harder, clunkier, and less convenient! Don’t doubt me on this; it is simply a matter of records.
Used to, we knew exactly where to find what we needed. Anything worth knowing was in the library, file, or milkcrate somewhere. When we had a question, everything was simply a matter of record, even if we had to travel a bit. We did not need it at our fingertips; we just wanted to know where it was if we had questions. Nowadays, we literally have everything in our pocket, but we can’t find a darned thing when we need it. (Except every classic trucker’s song ever written.)
Next Tuesday, prior to our regular board meeting, our Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) will meet for the first time. The purpose of the BOC is to review all present and planned bond expenditures to ensure that they match what everyone voted for. We have not spent any bond funds yet, but this meeting will ensure we start right. The committee meets twice each year, and their report is simple: pass or fail.
Finances in a public school are matters of open record, but every penny, whether spent on a pencil or a projector, is assigned a 27-digit code for trackability. (For perspective, a “1” followed by 27 zeroes is an Octillion, or a thousand trillion trillion!) Those numbers make sense to me, our auditors, and state department officials, but they are just gobbledygook to anyone who may want to see how we spent their money. Yes, the records are always public and always available, but that’s a lot of milkcrates to rifle through.
As we start implementing the 2020 Vision, my biggest fear is not misspending the funds. There are simply too many safeguards in place such as the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System, administrator approval, board approval, auditor review, state audits, federal audits, and more. I do not see how anyone could ever misspend bond funds unless they just want to be tarred and feathered on their way to jail. I am allergic to tar, feathers, and jail.
Nevertheless, my biggest concern is really about maintaining the trust of the community. Ten years is a long time, and there will be a few octillion milkcrates before this is all over. In addition to approving or disapproving of expenditures, the Bond Oversight Committee also helps keep the right information in the right milkcrates for the next ten years. The BOC will meet twice each year and those reports will be reported in the paper, archived on our website, and shared through school communication channels. The BOC helps keep it clear and keep it simple. And yes, there will be a file cabinet in my office, too, for those of us who love old records.
The BOC will meet Tuesday, October 13, 2020 for the first time, and their report will be presented to the Board of Education later that evening and shared with the public. This will be the first of many records, but it will not be the last. You can trust the Board of Education and the Bond Oversight Committee, but if you ever want to check for yourself, come on over to look at their record collection. In addition to finding what you need, I bet we can also pull up your favorite trucker song on the interweb without any track changes or needles skipping, but you will have to bring your own headphones. With that in mind, let’s pray for everyone’s hearing as we also pray for the continued safety of our children this second Sunday of the Month.
Dr. Deighan is the Superintendent for Duncan schools. To contact Dr. Deighan, email to email@example.com.