Board approves 2020-21 budget, develops plan to adapt

Board approves 2020-21 budget, develops plan to adapt

In a group celebration, 26 current and incoming leaders synchronize a clap to honor individuals receiving commendations during the JEA board of directors meeting online April 16. Photo by Kelly Glasscock, CJE

After significant dialogue and revision, the Journalism Education Association board of directors unanimously approved a 2020-21 budget April 16. The board met via Google Meet in place of its originally scheduled meeting at the spring JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, which was canceled due to COVID-19.

“Cuts weren’t easy, but the willingness of participants to voluntarily give up personal projects and amend current projects so JEA remains fiscally sound reminded me why it’s been an honor to work with the board. I will miss it, but I know JEA is in good hands,” Lori Keekley, MJE and Scholastic Press Rights Director, said. 

The budget takes effect July 1, 2020, but it will require constant evaluation based on the changing safety and economic conditions and likely will undergo further revision when the next three-year board term begins May 1. 

“It’s been quite a process this month navigating what we call ‘Budgetland.’ We’re fortunate to be in a strong position financially to weather this storm, but it’s impossible to predict what lies ahead,” President Sarah Nichols, MJE, said. “In the coming months we’ll take another deep dive as a new board, and it’s likely we’ll be doing that every few months.”

Other business included reports about contests, curriculum and Career and Technical Education in addition to the headquarters report from Executive Director Kelly Glasscock, CJE, with financial information and a headquarters update. NSPA Executive Director Laura Widmer also joined part of the meeting to participate in the convention update.

Glasscock said, “We all can clearly see the uncertainty facing the JEA community, and even society in general for months to come. I want members to know that JEA leaders are actively working with our convention partner NSPA to navigate through those challenges and adapt our traditional models to meet the needs of journalism teachers and their students.”

The board approved 7-0 two other motions, both of which will be reflected in the organization’s bylaws. Article VIII, Section 1 will be amended to make the state director position a role specifically appointed by the vice president. 

Vice President Val Kibler, MJE, said, “I’m happy the board voted unanimously to change the verbiage related to the appointment of JEA state directors. While the vice president has been selecting new directors in each state in practice for the past seven years, this change to the bylaws makes it official policy.”

The other bylaw change clarified how leaders can avoid potential conflicts of interest before taking office with JEA. The addition to Article IV, Section 2 will read: “Directors shall not serve in any type of voting capacity or executive leadership for a local, state, regional or national press association and must resign such roles before their elected term with JEA begins. Candidates must notify the nominations chair of all existing leadership roles and potential conflicts before the election slate is finalized.” Nichols emphasized the bylaw addition is intended to provide information and transparency before an election cycle and encouraged prospective leaders to consider non-voting roles in their local organizations.

After additional opportunities to mark appreciation and share personal farewells, the meeting adjourned at 12:46 p.m.


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