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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.

DashBoard, Feb. 28, 2018

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 for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections.

On Feb. 22, 2018, Gov. Rick Snyder held a large press event in Detroit at the Michigan Science Center to announce his Marshall Plan for Talent. He describes the plan as “a revolutionary partnership between educators, employers and other stakeholders to transform Michigan’s talent pipeline.” The plan includes about $100 million in funding for new programs to be added to current budget items. It is unclear at this time how the programs will be funded.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Nature Begindergarten at Barhitte Elementary in Bentley Community Schools.

House Republicans introduced a package of legislation to establish standards that teacher preparation institutions must meet in order to be certified by the State Superintendent. House Bills 5598-5605 would prohibit the superintendent of public instruction from certifying a teacher preparation instruction unless the institution’s program meets certain criteria, requires faculty within the teacher preparation program to undergo continuing education in a K-12 classroom, as well as create financial incentives for mentor teachers who work with student teachers and create a master teacher corp. The package was introduced on Feb. 20, 2018, and will receive its first hearing in the House Education Reform Committee on Thursday.

Does the Open Meetings Act allow a school board to meet in closed session to discuss school security and student safety?

Presently, OMA doesn’t include an exception that specifically permits a school board to consider security planning for the purpose of student safety in a closed meeting. The Freedom of Information Act, however, includes a provision that provides confidentiality to “[r]ecords of a public body’s security measures, including security plans, security codes and combinations, passwords, passes, keys, and security procedures, to the extent that the records are related to the ongoing security of the public body.” (MCL 15.243(1)(u))

DashBoard, March 7, 2018

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with 2017-2018 Michigan Teacher of the Year Luke Wilcox from East Kentwood High School. How is education like craft beer? Wilcox shares his thoughts on this correlation, as well as what his title means, the overemphasis on standardized testing and other topics.

Following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., there has been an increase in reported threats of violence directed at schools and students. This article is directed toward school board members to help them understand some of the challenges that schools face as they balance creating a safe environment while also avoiding costly First Amendment litigation.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Bluff View Pond Project at A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer Area Schools.

Last week we reported on Gov. Rick Snyder’s “Marshall Plan for Talent,” however, there were very few details available. Since then we have received more information about the plan. It still lacks many details and there is no legislation yet, but it does give a better look at the Governor’s intent.

If you are bargaining a new contract this spring and summer, you should seriously consider major changes to your teachers’ compensation framework. In collecting contracts for our Erin labor relations data service, we have noticed a significant jump in the number of collective bargaining agreements leaving behind the traditional step and lane model.

DashBoard, March 14, 2018

Dual enrollment, early/middle college, career and technical education, advanced placement courses, International Baccalaureate curriculum. . .what does your district offer to increase your students’ opportunities after graduation?

MASB’s Legal Department recently filed its fourth amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief concerning the continuing litigation surrounding open carry in schools. This latest brief was the second to be filed with the Michigan Supreme Court, which had specifically invited MASB, in a Dec. 20, 2017 Order, to submit its own analysis regarding three specific legal questions. Prior briefs were filed in the Washtenaw Circuit Court as well as with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Job Olympics at Charlevoix-Emmet Special Education School in Charlevoix-Emmet ISD.

Christine Coady, a Presenter for the OK2SAY program and President of the Haslett Public Schools Board of Education, has learned that a few times after she’s presented to a school building they have received a tip about a student in distress that they’ve previously been unaware of, which could lead to a life-saving intervention. While many districts have programs and systems in place, this is one example of how OK2SAY can be another resource they can use to ensure student safety.

DashBoard, March 21, 2018

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Michigan State Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township), chair of both the House Education Policy Committee and K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. They discussed reactions to Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed School Aid budget, term limits, Rep. Kelly's thoughts on whether we should continue to cut taxes and more!

It’s an election year and MASB’s Get on Board campaign is kicking off to encourage those interested in board service to start taking the necessary steps to get on their local ballot. That includes current board members who are up for reelection.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Outdoor Learning Lab: Storybook Trail in the Woods at Renaissance High School and Pine Knob Elementary in Clarkston Community Schools.

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid released its budget proposal as Senate Bill 863. Overall, the budget is $96.6 million above Gov. Rick Snyder’s recommendation. It includes a per-pupil foundation increase of $115-230 distributed through the 2x formula. This is slightly lower that the Governor’s proposed $120-240. 

DashBoard, March 28, 2018

That was one of many messages conveyed by a coalition of education groups, including MASB, law enforcement and mental health professionals who unveiled the Michigan School Safety Reform Plan last Thursday. The plan is based on clear, actionable strategies that are both effective and immediately achievable.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Gates Traveling Library at Gates Elementary in Davison Community Schools.

The Senate K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee has presented its versions of the budget. The following highlights some of the differences between the Senate version and Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget. For more information, the Senate Fiscal Agency has a chart outlining the entire School Aid Budget.

Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a congressional committee that her Office of Civil Rights will not investigate complaints from transgender students who are denied access to school restrooms and locker rooms unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court or Congress “clarifies the law with regard to transgender access to bathrooms, athletic locker rooms and athletic teams.” This approach by OCR departs from the Obama-era OCR, which considered such denials of access as violations of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. 

DashBoard, April 4, 2018

The Legislature is already considering many issues affecting education and are moving along in the budget process. The upcoming MASA/MASB Legislative Conference provides you with the perfect opportunity to advocate on behalf of your district, its students and public education in Michigan.

Congratulations to the more than 200 board members across the state who participated in the MASB Certified Board Member Awards program in 2017.

Equity—it’s such a small word but conveys so much meaning. As part of MASB’s Spring Institute later this month in Kalamazoo cosponsored by the Michigan Association of African-American Superintendents, Friday afternoon sessions will focus on this topic. We sat down with one of the presenters, Tracey Benson, Associate Executive Director for the Arizona School Boards Association, to ask her a few questions about what has been happening in her state and how it can apply to Michigan.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Drew Horticulture Program at the Charles Drew Transition Center in Detroit Public Schools Community District.

DashBoard, April 11, 2018

Commencement is just around the corner. Here are a few legal questions that might come up in your district in the run up to your seniors’ big day. 

Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid and Education released its budget proposal as House Bill 5576. Overall, the budget is $86 million above Governor Rick Snyder’s revised recommendation. It includes the Governor’s proposed per-pupil foundation increase of $120 to $240 distributed through the 2x formula, but maintains cyber school per-pupil funding at 100%.

The Legislature returned from its Spring Break this week and we expect they’ll be very active in the next few months. First on their agenda is budgets. Along with this budget conversation, the House and Senate will also continue to review Governor Snyder’s Marshall Plan for Talent, legislation looking to create statewide definitions and procedures for truancy, legislation relating to A-F letter grading for schools and teacher preparation and more!

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Introducing International Cultural and Cuisine: A Partnership in the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area School District.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Ron French, Senior Writer for Michigan’s award-winning Bridge Magazine. They discussed, among other topics, possible reasons for why Michigan didn’t make it to the final round of Amazon’s second world headquarters, and how improved education attainment and workforce retention could have possibly yielded different results.

DashBoard, April 18, 2018

First introduced two years ago, MASB's Get on Board campaign is underway again for the 2018 election. The grassroots effort focuses on encouraging people to give back to their community and to help advocate for and improve student achievement through board service.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Kreeger Popcorn Crew at Kreeger Elementary in Fowlerville Community Schools.

The 2018 MASA/MASB Legislative Conference will be held on May 22 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, and includes sessions on school safety and the most recent legislative proposals regarding career and technical education.

Many school districts across the state cancelled school this week as a result of yet another winter storm. Naturally, this has prompted a number of questions about state policies on snow days.

DashBoard, April 25, 2018

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Brandy Johnson, Executive Director for the Michigan College Access Network. They discussed how MCAN, which has only been around for eight years, is trying to bridge the gap of the K-12 community and postsecondary education opportunities (and what is included as an option for students). Right now, Michigan holds around 44% educational attainment. We need to be around 60-70% to meet the labor demands of the market.

If you serve on a school board long enough chances are, at some point, you’re going to have to deal with a fellow board member whose attitude and temperament go beyond merely “disagreeable” and into the realm of “antagonistic.” Increasingly, MASB has been fielding calls from exasperated members, inquiring as to “what can be done” about discourteous, obstructionist and sometimes just plain hostile board members. The answer? Not much, but also, more than you might think.

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Fathers and Men Engaged program at Genesee ISD.

When you decided to run for your school board position, I’m sure this question came up a number of times (and maybe still does!). But the decision you made to serve, puts you among more than 4,000 men and women volunteers on boards for the 600+ public school districts in Michigan. While many board members serve multiple terms, the turnover rate is considerable. There are nearly 700 new members elected every even year so it’s important for school boards to be forward looking, long before the candidate petition process begins.

DashBoard, May 2, 2018

When the Michigan State School Aid Act was reauthorized in 2016, it included a provision that appropriated $2.5 million for the 2016-2017 school year to reimburse costs incurred by nonpublic schools related to complying with state mandates. Along with other school and education associations, MASB filed a lawsuit to stop the appropriation, claiming that it violated Michigan’s Constitution. The Michigan Court of Claims agreed and recently issued an order enjoining and restraining the state from distributing any funds to private schools under the statute, identified as MCL 388.1752b.

Senate Bills 941 and 942 were introduced last week and seek to implement the Marshall Plan for Talent, including the release of the $100 million in the Talent Investment Fund within the Higher Education Loan Authority Act. We have reviewed Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal in February and March issues of DashBoard. This initial legislation draft is in line with the Governor’s proposal. 

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Students for World Awareness Recycling Program at Glen Lake Community Schools.

Michigan is in the throes of a serious teacher shortage—unfilled teaching positions and scant applicants are the current reality for many districts, particularly those in urban areas. Developed in partnership with the Michigan Association of African-American Superintendents, MASB held the Equity & Urban Education Symposium as part of its Spring Institute this past Friday, April 27, in Kalamazoo.

More than 1.5 million Michigan schoolchildren enrolled in public schools depend on school board members who understand the importance of public education and are willing to serve their communities and sit in trust for those interests.

DashBoard, May 9, 2018

If you are a district that employs a superintendent who does not hold a Michigan School Administrator Certificate, either because they were employed as an administrator prior to Jan. 4, 2010, or because they are currently working towards their certificate, you should be aware of the following:

Michigan State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on May 7, 2018. An outpouring of grief over his loss and gratitude for his vision and leadership has flowed out of the education and legislative communities.

The House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan package called the “Sexual Misconduct Reform Package” on April 12, 2018. This package addresses changes in laws regarding criminal sexual conduct, medical procedures and reporting of incidents, among other things

The 25 recipients of the 2018 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Be True 2 You Program at Baldwin Heights Elementary in Greenville Public Schools.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with the Executive Directors from the Michigan Association of School Administrators (Chris Wigent), Michigan School Business Officials (David Martell) and Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (Wendy Zdeb). They discussed hot topics that are broadly affecting facets of Michigan's education community, as well as what is being done collectively to combat issues to prioritize what's most important—our students.