Green Bay Area Public Schools spend thousands on facilitators for board members

GREEN BAY, Wis. To help make meetings more effective and efficient, the Green Bay Area Public School district is spending thousands of dollars on facilitators for board members. On Monday, board held its first facilitator meeting.

The GBAPS board hold their first meeting with facilitator, Beverly Scow

What are some challenges the board is facing? What are some good things happening with the board? Those are just some of the questions certified ‘Technology of Participation’ facilitator, Beverly Scow asked during the workshop.

"It really helps a group have a strong foundation that they can build off on, that they can count on. This is where we stand together and where we have differences of opinions, and at least having that foundation creates a strong support for the work that they're doing," said Scow.

Scow spoke with each board member one-by-one, and says the one thing they have in common is each person cares deeply about the district.

"I think we've found over the past few years that maybe our goals are similar, but how we think we can get to those goals is what's different, and so I think we're just trying to figure out a way for us to work together toward the goals that we all share," said Brenda Warren, Board President for Green Bay Area Public Schools.

Some board members expressed they felt unheard, embarrassed or frustrated. Others say they need to learn what makes each person tick. Warren says seasoned school board members and newer board members need to be a team.

"Four of our members have been on the board two years or less, and we have three members on the board that have been on much longer than that,” said Warren. “So it's a team-building time for us to work together.”

The district is spending a total of $6,000 on facilitators, and the money is coming out of the general fund. Monday’s facilitator meeting is one out of a number of facilitator meetings the Green Bay School Board will hold. They've also hired another facilitator, Drew Howick from Howick Associates.

"His role is more in terms of creating a very highly functioning board and working together to create working agreements and board norms and all those kinds of things that help a team work together better," said Warren.

The school board will meet at least three more times with facilitators.