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DashBoard, April 1, 2015

At present there are no federal laws with respect to discrimination protections for transgender students. Likewise, Michigan has no laws that specifically deal with the issue. However, this past December, the Department of Education provided additional guidance with respect to single-sex classes and, within this guidance, the issue of transgender students was addressed.

Eight members earned the President's Award of Recognition in 2014, the highest individual honor in MASB's CBA Program. MASB staff asked each of these dedicated life-long learners to share a few thoughts. This week, we hear from Cindy Gansen (Flushing Community Schools and Genesee ISD) and Sherry Steffen (Elk Rapids Public Schools).

In addition to the three new MASB Directors that were introduced in last week's DashBoard (Jill Fennessey and Stephen Hyer, and appointment of Annie Carter by Detroit Public Schools' emergency manager), the following directors were re-elected and approved at the March 13 Board of Directors' meeting:

Last week, the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the School Aid Budget passed their versions of the budget. The budgets are very different, so work will continue and we don’t know what exactly to expect. The Legislature’s goal remains to finalize the budget before the beginning of June. The following highlights some of the differences between the House version, the Senate version and the Governor’s budget:

DashBoard, April 8, 2015

The first of two parts from Bridge Magazine: David Schell never saw what hit him as he was driving southbound on I-75 in Oakland County on a bitterly cold February afternoon. But he felt it, as broken concrete coming apart flew up into his 2012 Honda Fit with a force “like an IED,” Schell said. “It really felt like a bomb.”

After three years of districts improving their technology infrastructure in preparation for online assessments, teaching and learning, 80 percent of Michigan school buildings are ready to use the new online assessment, Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, starting April 13.

Eight members earned the President's Award of Recognition in 2014, the highest individual honor in MASB's CBA Program. MASB staff asked each of these dedicated life-long learners to share a few thoughts. This week, we hear from Paul Newman (Genesee ISD) and Darlene Pomponio (Southgate Community Schools).

For school districts across Michigan, energy costs are the second most expensive line item behind personnel. Districts rely on low-cost energy to keep buildings warm in the winter, cool in the summer and supplied with electricity to provide students with an optimal learning environment.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. With recent national headlines involving student sexual assault, awareness of the problem may not be the most valuable part of the designation. Instead, this month’s efforts may be a great opportunity to help caring adults get up to speed about what to do about sexual violence.

DashBoard, April 15, 2015

House Bills 4325-4330 are aimed at creating an early warning system to identify districts that are or may soon be in financial distress. The House Committee on Financial Liabilities has held three hearings on this issue so far. We expect another hearing this week with the Legislature returning from its break.

With the changes brought about by PA 103, which expanded the prohibited subjects of bargaining, as well as Right to Work and decreasing school revenues, the bargaining table rhetoric has changed dramatically over the past few years. Steps and lanes are no longer a “right” that teachers can expect and, indeed, salary cuts are becoming an all too familiar reality for many districts. As a result of these changes in the bargaining dynamic, it may be time to reexamine the role of fact finding.

DashBoard, April 22, 2015

Last week, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its latest decision in the Galien Township School District’s pupil accounting case, ruling in favor of the Michigan Department of Education and upholding State Superintendent Michael Flanagan’s decision to reclaim about $750,000 in state aid payments from the district.

DashBoard, April 29, 2015

As we head into spring and more districts begin to look at employee evaluations, requests for bids and the like, the Legal Team here at MASB is fielding a number of questions regarding when it is proper to go into closed session to discuss certain matters.

Submitted by Kaitlin Shawgo, START Writer

As he sits down to finish a science project after lunch, St. Johns Middle School sixth grader Josey Kingsbury begins telling a friend about his sister’s three babies. The teacher walks by to check on his progress and Josey can no longer contain his glee. He remembers what day it is.