The Realities of Leading with Finite Resources

April 23rd, 2015

As I consider the state of limbo that we find ourselves in from a school funding perspective, I am both frustrated and empathetic.


I am frustrated by the lack of bi-partisan leadership these days – both in our Nation’s capital and in our State capital. I truly believe that our elected legislators have a desire to serve their constituents well. Unfortunately, allegiance to one’s party seems to eliminate the possibility of sincere, frank discussion that leads to a mutual agreement of the facts and a commitment to the best decisions.

I am also frustrated by the double standard used by our elected officials. Each week I receive updates from several legislators stating their positions on different issues. Often legislators lead by saying, “According to State law, we must . . .” This opener is used to explain positions and justify actions, but has been conveniently avoided when it comes to the timely establishment of State Supplemental Aid for K-12 Education.


It is easy to state my frustration, but it is important to acknowledge the difficult job that our legislators face. The government, like families, school districts, and businesses, has a limited amount of resources to distribute.   The greater the number of people affected, the greater the variance in priorities. As Stephen Covey stated so eloquently, “When we say ‘yes’ to one thing, we say ‘no’ to another.” Ultimately choices have to be made.   I certainly empathize with our legislators as they decide how to best distribute the resources available to meet the needs of Iowans.

My plea to legislators during this session has, and will continue to be, “please remove the ‘we vs. they’ mentality that seems to pervade politics, and work together to determine – and then do what you collectively determine is best for Iowa.”