CEO Notebook

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE

President and CEO
Twitter: @shieldsNBOA

The Right Thing to Do

From Net Assets NOW, September 12, 2017. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.

What a time this is for independent schools. As if the first weeks of the academic year aren't challenging enough, we've also seen a flurry of storms — literal and figurative — that have damaged, derailed or seemingly rendered futile enormous investments by many of you in everything from buildings to schedules to budgets to employee classifications. As business officers, you will play key roles in helping your schools continue to thrive amidst these difficult challenges. Please know that the national business officer community is here to support you 100 percent.

First to the literal storms. Our thoughts are with NBOA member schools in Houston, Florida, the Caribbean and all other regions that have been impacted by the devastating weather events of recent days. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, combined with Thursday's 8.1-magnitude earthquake off the Mexican coast, closed countless schools and damaged many that only days earlier had put the finishing touches on costly summer improvements. Although we may at times be powerless against the full wrath of Mother Nature, these disasters remind us that emergency preparedness and student safety take priority above all else in our business operations. We encourage all independent schools to take every measure to err on the side of safety regardless of the season. NBOA is here to help, beginning with dozens of valuable resources in our Risk Management Toolkit, provided by our good friends at Bolton & Company.

Now to another storm. As most member schools know by now, the current Department of Labor has all but abandoned the Obama-era federal overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act — the very rule that prompted many schools to commit valuable time analyzing and adjusting their staffing eligibility in order to achieve compliance. From the results of a new survey by NBOA and NAIS, we know that nearly half of all schools made salary or hour adjustments in anticipation of the new rule, which was to nearly double the salary at which employees would be exempt from time-and-a-half overtime pay. In most cases, these changes added to schools' already stretched employment costs.

But regardless of the ultimate fate of the overtime rule, your time spent complying was not in vain. Overtime pay and employment classifications have been issues for many, many years for independent schools, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with accurately classifying and appropriately compensating the valued staff who help us deliver the educational experience. The idea that low- and middle-income workers should receive extra pay for their work over 40 hours a week dates back to the New Deal. Our faculty, supported by our administrative staff, deliver the mission of our schools every day, and our investments in them directly convey to the student learning experience.

Protecting, nurturing and developing our communities: Always the right thing for independent schools to do.

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
President and CEO

Jeff has been NBOA's president and CEO since March 2010. Prior to joining NBOA, he spent almost 10 years at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), serving most recently as senior vice president and chief planning officer. An active member of the American Society of Association Executives, Jeff earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2002 and was selected as an ASAE Fellow in 2008. He currently serves as a trustee for One Schoolhouse and Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC.

Business Office NOW in Boston, November 15-16

Business Office NOW

Register today for NBOA's Business Office NOW program in Boston, Massachusetts! This recently updated, two-day workshop is taught by a diverse group of national thought leaders and features a broad range of business office topics that will benefit nearly every member of your school's administration and staff.