Business Advisory Council helps district in many ways

The state of Ohio requires all school districts to form a Business Advisory Council (BAC) to help the district with business-related matters, which can range from input on administrative management to helping prepare students for the business world.  Milford’s policy requires we appoint a BAC chairperson every year, who is then responsible for appointing committee members.

Historically, Milford’s BAC has focused on providing business analysis.  This has worked well and provided the district with valuable information, including an evaluation of projected shortfalls and recommendations for significant administrative savings a number of years ago, to an analysis of Neighborhood versus Grade Level Schools in 2007, to an evaluation and recommendations for food service in 2008.

Late last year, the board began considering adapting the BAC to focus more on connecting students with businesses to help them understand various aspects of the business world.  At last night’s board meeting, there was discussion about whether the BAC should make this its only focus going forward, or if a dual focus of analysis and connection could be successful.

I feel it is important to provide students opportunities to interact with businesses in various ways.  I know of several businesses that have an ongoing policy to take students “under their wings” and provide opportunities for them to learn from real-world experiences.  This provides students with a glimpse into a world they may want to enter some day – or may show them that a certain industry is not really for them.  The benefits of immediate education combined with long-term perspective received from business-school partnerships are invaluable to our students.

However, I also feel very strongly that the BAC is able to provide the district with valuable analysis and input that would be difficult or sometimes impossible to get any other way.  The 2008 evaluation of food service operations is a great example.  A group of businesspeople spent hundreds of hours researching and evaluating to provide a solid evaluation of and recommendations for the program.  This work was provided on a volunteer basis from people who are proven in their fields.  The district did not have the personnel and, in many cases, the expertise to conduct this type of analysis.  If they had hired a company to complete it, the cost would have been exorbitant.

The good news is these two options are not mutually exclusive.  Both can be tasks of the BAC, with the help of sub-committees to address specific issues in both areas.  That way, both our students and our administration receive the benefit of the expertise and perspective business leaders can offer, and we provide multiple ways businesspeople can get involved in helping our students and the district.

The board will be discussing this further in the near future.  If you have input, please provide it here or email me directly.

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