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DashBoard, Jan. 10, 2018

Whether you’ve started negotiations for the coming year or not, it’s a good time to make sure that you are adequately prepared for the process. The following is a “Checklist for Negotiations” that will help get your negotiations started on the right foot.

At the request of parents and other education stakeholders, as well as to fulfill what is outlined in Michigan’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan and the Top 10 in 10 initiative, the new Parent Dashboard for School Transparency was launched at the State Board of Education’s monthly meeting yesterday after a six-month development period.

As we embark on another new year, it is time to reflect on what were the challenges last year, and celebrate the successes that we enjoyed. It is also that time of year to honor each one of you during School Board Recognition Month.

Submitted by Dr. Ellis Jaruzel, Chief Research Officer, Therapy.Live

It’s your worst nightmare. One of the students at your school has died. By suicide. You and the rest of the school community struggle to manage the aftermath all while grappling with your own intense emotions. Questions. Confusion. Pain. What can be done? What could have been done? Sadly, this scenario is all too common in schools today.


VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

DashBoard, Jan. 17, 2018

As districts are preparing to bargain new labor contracts for the coming negotiation season, there is a recent Michigan Employment Relations Commission decision that is important to highlight. In November, MERC issued their decision and order that dismissed the unfair labor practice charges that Waverly Community Schools and the Waverly Education Association, Michigan Education Association/National Education Association filed against each other and later both withdrew. However, MERC also published the decision and order earlier issued by the Administrative Law Judge, which found for the district in part and for the union in part.

Michigan Future Inc. released three reports on prosperity last year—a 21st century policy agenda followed by documents focused on education and shared prosperity. In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba spoke with Michigan Future Inc. President Lou Glazer about the organization’s work and research around what makes Michigan a leader or laggard when it comes to education, and steps needed to improve the overall success of Michigan. Spoiler: Michigan can do better.

As we reported in News From the Capitol on Friday, major changes to the federal tax code were signed into law in Washington, D.C. that inadvertently raised taxes on Michigan taxpayers. Under the new law, the federal personal exemptions have been set at zero. Michigan taxpayers are currently able to take a $4,000 exemption on their income taxes for each federal exemption they claim. With the federal exemption set at zero, Michigan’s State Treasurer Nick Khouri believes Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim an exemption on their Michigan income taxes.

Fitzgerald’s Hilary ‘Larry’ Kutella tells board members to aim high and never give up

In 1971, my wife and I were raising our young family in south Warren during turbulent times. In those days, tensions were high as several southeast Michigan school districts participated in a court-mandated busing integration plan.

DashBoard, Jan. 24, 2018

Michigan is shorting our kids about $200 a piece when it comes to public education according to the results of a highly anticipated, comprehensive study, supported through resolutions made by many of your districts, that were released last week.

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his final State of the State Address last night. He spoke for nearly an hour with about 45 minutes of it dedicated to accomplishments over his last seven years in office, touting Michigan as the “comeback state” and thanking other officials, family and staff.

Last week, we began to summarize the recent Michigan Employment Relations Commission case, Waverly Community Schools and Waverly Education Association, MEA/NEA, MERC Case Nos. C16 I-097 & CU16 L-062 (11/17/17), highlighting the opinion’s analysis of the district’s teacher discipline contract language as a prohibited subject of bargaining, and whether the union’s demands to maintain it in subsequent contracts constituted an unfair labor practice.

DashBoard, Jan. 31, 2018

Over the last three weeks, we have highlighted the analysis of some key issues in the recent Michigan Employment Relations Commission case, Waverly Community Schools and Waverly Education Association, MEA/NEA, MERC Case Nos. C16 I-097 & CU16 L-062 (11/17/17). This week, we will summarize the Administrative Law Judge’s decision that the district committed an unfair labor practice when it refused to make lump sum payments for employee health savings accounts upon expiration of their contract.

The House Financial Liability Reform passed House Bill 5355 last week after making a few changes. This bill would change the MPSERS system payment method from a level percentage of payroll to a level-dollar method, while also reducing the payroll growth assumption built into the MPSERS system.

Now that the results of the adequacy study from the School Finance Research Collaborative have been released, MASB is working with other organizations to provide materials for member use and to arrange advocacy efforts.

Imagine you’re in a discussion and you find you don’t trust someone else at the board table. Or you notice a statement on the wall that seems to provide guidance for decisionmaking and planning, but it has never been referenced in any board discussions.

MASB is governed by a 19-member Board of Directors made up of two directors from each of the eight Regions, and one director each from Groups V, VI and VII.

Directors are elected by MASB member districts to serve up to three-year terms. Ballots for four Regions (1, 5, 7 and 8) were distributed via email to superintendent secretaries in the last week for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections.

DashBoard, Feb. 7, 2018

To set the stage, there has been a group that includes audit firm representatives, legal firm representatives, Office of Retirement Services, Michigan School Business Officials, Department of Technology, Management and Budget/Treasury that has been discussing the 3% issue for more than two years.

“Compatible” is a legal term applied to a combination of public offices that can be occupied simultaneously by one person without creating a conflict of interest. “Incompatible,” when applied to a combination of public offices, means that a conflict of interest would exist if one person held them at the same time. Public Act 566 of 1978 prohibits a person from holding incompatible public offices at the same time (MCL 15.181 et seq.).

With more than 75 board members and superintendents at the National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Institute in Washington D.C., Michigan was once again tied with Texas for the largest delegation! In all, more than 700 school board members from across the country descended on our nation’s Capitol to stand up for public education.

Michigan Future Inc. released three reports on prosperity last year—a 21st century policy agenda followed by documents focused on education and shared prosperity.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba continued his conversation with Michigan Future Inc. President Lou Glazer (Part One can be accessed here). Among the topics in this episode, they discuss where recent graduates want to live and what statewide factors influence those choices.

MASB is governed by a 19-member Board of Directors made up of two directors from each of the eight Regions, and one director each from Groups V, VI and VII.

Directors are elected by MASB member districts to serve up to three-year terms. Ballots for four Regions (1, 5, 7 and 8) were distributed via email to superintendent secretaries in the last week for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections.

DashBoard, Feb. 14, 2018

The results continue to be shared with education stakeholders and more resources are becoming available, giving the recently released School Finance Research Collaborative Study “legs” as we move further into 2018.

Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) introduced House Bill 5526, and brought it up for a hearing in House Education Reform last week. The bill would create an Education Accountability Policy Commission to develop a school grading system that assigns each public school in Michigan a letter grade between A and F. Rep. Kelly stated he intends to have multiple hearings before trying to bring the legislation up for a vote.

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder released his 2018-2019 budget recommendations to the Legislature. We were pleased to see that he included a $120-240 per-pupil increase to the foundation allowance. However, we also have concerns with some of his proposals. Full details about the School Aid Fund budget and overall state budget are available on the budget office website.

Bottom line—do not ratify another agreement with such language in it. The potential for a legal battle, negative news and fines is not worth it.

MASB is governed by a 19-member Board of Directors made up of two directors from each of the eight Regions, and one director each from Groups V, VI and VII.

Directors are elected by MASB member districts to serve up to three-year terms. Ballots for four Regions (1, 5, 7 and 8) were distributed via email to superintendent secretaries in the last week for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections.

DashBoard, Feb. 21, 2018

Even though weather threatened to derail their plans and the district was closed as a result, employees and students of Genesee Intermediate School District took part in its first Day of Giving intended to result in 1,800 acts of kindness in 18 hours throughout the community. They far exceeded their goal, impacting 3,471 people on Feb. 12, 2018.

As we read through school districts’ collective bargaining agreements, there are a number of potential issues we look for. Some issues can be particularly difficult to identify, and have the potential to be quite costly and disruptive. One of those potentially difficult issues is district-sponsored legal representation for employees.

Three new staff recently joined the MASB team—Jay Bennett, M.Ed., Leadership Services Manager, De'Shondria Bedenfield, Policy Analyst and Grassroots Coordinator, and Austin Pabian, Graphic Designer.

MASB is governed by a 19-member Board of Directors made up of two directors from each of the eight Regions, and one director each from Groups V, VI and VII.

Directors are elected by MASB member districts to serve up to three-year terms. Ballots for four Regions (1, 5, 7 and 8) were distributed via email to superintendent secretaries in the last week for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections.