What is SBDM?

SBDM stands for Site-Based Decision Making. SBDM Councils are present at each Kentucky public school, and they are made up of teachers, parents and one administrator. They are responsible for reviewing and setting school policies, approving budgets and some aspects of hiring - most notably principal selection.

Here’s a selection from the Kentucky Department of Education’s SBDM website:

In the 1990 legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed HB 940, which is best known as the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). Essentially, this piece of legislation changed the face of education in Kentucky. One drastic change that came along with KERA was KRS 160.345, which outlined school-based decision making councils.

Membership of each council includes parents, teachers, and an administrator of the school and school councils promote shared leadership among those who are closest to the students. School councils have the responsibility to set school policy and make decisions outlined in statute, which should provide an environment to enhance student achievement.

What’s the goal of SBDM?

First and foremost: Provide an environment to enhance the students’ achievement.

That’s broad, but it’s a fine mantra and a great yardstick for measurement. “Is what we are doing enhancing students’ achievement?”

(Tip: Write it on a sticky note. Refer to it when you’ve entered into a 30-minute discussion on whether or not cupcakes should be allowed as class snacks)

What amounts to ‘student achievement’?

Glad you asked.

The Kentucky General Assembly has helpfully defined those, here:
KRS 158.645: Capacities required of students in public education system. and KRS 158.6451: Legislative declaration on goals for Commonwealth’s schools – Model curriculum framework.

Light reading, but worth it if you are going to run or serve.

Why should I run?

If you are interested in serving your school in a somewhat-intense, policy-driven yet reasonably time-limited way, SBDM is for you.

It’s a great way to learn how councils and boards work. It’s a great way to learn about collaboration.