OUSD Board Attendance Tracker

It’s possible for reasonable, well-intentioned people to disagree about Board policy decisions, and so evaluating school board Directors strictly by their voting record is insufficient. However, everyone can agree that showing up to meetings prepared and on-time is a basic requirement for all Directors. As part of our new, more robust Board Accountability efforts, we will be tracking attendance for all OUSD Board of Education Directors.

Serving as an OUSD Board Director is a huge commitment that entails much more than full-Board meetings – many of the Directors serve on committees and spend many hours visiting school sites or engaging with constituents. This tool captures only part of all that Directors do and as GO Public Schools continues to expand and refine its board accountability work, we hope to create more comprehensive assessments.

What is the Attendance Tracker?

The Attendance Tracker consists of year by year snapshots that show the estimated percentage of the total number of hours of school board meetings for which each OUSD Board of Education Director was present. These percentages are the most generous estimates possible within the coding system. More details on how we calculate attendance can be found below.

What is the methodology for the Attendance Tracker?

Minutes for school board meetings are sometimes an inconsistent record for Board attendance. For instance, the minutes might mention that a Board Director is present again, without noting when the Director left the room. In order to account for this, GO staff have defined assumptions and determined rules for coding that create a consistent and fair measure of Board Director attendance. The GO code book is public and we welcome feedback.

What is the scope of the Attendance Tracker?

All regularly scheduled and stand-alone special board meetings* for which minutes are available from 2014 to 2016 have been coded for all currently sitting Board members.

* “Special Meeting” is an official designation for meetings that are not the twice monthly public Board meetings. Some of these special meetings are contained within a regular meeting – for instance, the Board might recess to “special meeting” for an hour to decide non-public business like expulsion hearings. In order to avoid double-penalizing a Board member for being absent, we are only counting attendance data for regular meetings and stand-alone special meetings.

Attendance Status Categories

Rather than tracking the exact number of minutes missed, we code the Directors’ attendance into categories at different increments of time missed. Below are the attendance categories and how they are used to calculate total hours missed at board meetings.


Minutes Counted

Full Attendance

0 min.

30 – 59 min. missed

30 min.

1+ hour missed

60 min.

Full Absence

Varies by actual length of meeting missed.

For more details on these categories, check out our Code Book.

How is attendance measured?

All attendance data is pulled from the meeting minutes posted on ousd.legistar.com.

First, the cumulative number of hours missed for each Director is calculated using the most conservative estimate possible within the coding system. This number should be understood to mean that the Director missed at least as much time as displayed. The estimate of total hours missed can be found by hovering over the attendance bar for each Director in the attendance bar graphs.

Board Director’s attendance for a given meeting is based on a cumulative number of minutes missed between missed sessions, late arrivals, mid-meeting absences, and early departures. For example, if a Director was 15 minutes late to the first roll call, 5 minutes late to the second roll call, and left the meeting 20 minutes prior to closing, that Director missed 40 minutes of the meeting. In cases where it is unclear how much time was missed based on the meeting minutes, GO staff rely on the rules and defined assumptions in the code book.

If the meeting minutes make a note excusing a Director’s absence at the beginning of the document (typically due to illness or serving in an official capacity at a conflicting event), the Director’s attendance will be coded as “N/A” and the Director will not be penalized.

Next, the total estimated hours present for a given year is found by subtracting estimated time missed from the total number of board meeting hours for that year. The total board meeting hours are collected from the minutes for each meeting from “Call to Order” to “Adjournment”. The estimated number of hours present is then given as a percentage of total Board meeting hours.

How reliable are the data?

These graphs should not be interpreted as providing an exact measure of attendance, but rather as providing a reliable estimate that errs on the side of being favorable to Board Directors.

If a Director misses 3 hours of a meeting, it is only counted as 1 hour missed in calculating their attendance. If a Director misses 59 minutes of a meeting, it is only counted as missing 30 min. (See attendance categories above.) Additionally, special meetings contained within regular meetings are not factored into the attendance calculation, in order to avoid double-penalizing a Director.

All the data points in our attendance data set have been double-coded, with two staff members coding each meeting and then reconciling their findings. As such, we have a high degree of confidence in the data presented here.

However, this data set was collected manually by reading through meeting minutes, which allows the possibility for human error in both the coding and the meeting minutes. The meeting minutes are sometimes missing, incomplete, or ambiguous, which is why we have created a code book that defines assumptions and rules in these instances. If you find an error, please email rbeckturner@gopublicschools.org with a description and link to the meeting.

This is the first public iteration of the tool, and we commit to continuing to refine and improve our Board accountability tools.

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