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DashBoard, Jan. 11, 2017

Elections have concluded and your first meeting in January is coming up soon (or just happened). You arrive at your meeting and look around the board table asking yourself, “Who is that person?” Well, maybe it isn’t quite like that as you may know they are a new board member, but do you really know them or just know of them?

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.

Coming on the heels of a rather successful lame duck, we’re looking to get quickly back into the swing of things here at the Capitol with more than 40 new Representatives taking office this January.

The beginning of a new year is a time when many of us look toward the coming months with great expectation. The calendar pages are still crisp, and possibilities are plentiful. For leaders, there is no lack of opportunities to do good work, and those calendar pages that seemed infinite on Jan. 1, start flying by in no time at all.

DashBoard, Jan. 18, 2017

Last spring, the U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara issued a permanent injunction barring the Michigan Secretary of State from enforcing the so-called ‘Gag Order Law,’ which severely limited the ability of school districts to communicate with voters about ballot questions, including bond and sinking fund proposals. While there was talk about fixing the statute in question, the problematic language still remains on the books (see Subsection 3).

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his State of the State address last night to a joint session of the House and Senate. He talked about many of the things that were accomplished in the last year, giving credit to the various legislators and others who helped make them happen.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee began confirmation hearings on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

Thinking back to when I was a new school board member, I remember reading through my first board packet. Not only did I wonder what it all meant, I began to question my ability to be an effective board member. As I floundered my way through those first few meetings, there were a few things that I found to be very helpful for my transition and in bringing me up to speed. I would like to share those items that I believe are important for all veteran board members to remember as we help transition new board members to their position.

DashBoard, Jan. 25, 2017

Times are difficult on both sides of the bargaining table. With little money to spend, districts are generally offering little in terms of teacher wage increases. Meanwhile, teachers have been seeing their wages suppressed for years and are becoming more and more disillusioned; often directing their frustrations at an increasingly cash-strapped administration. The result can often be gridlock at the bargaining table.

Last Friday, the state School Reform Office issued the most recent bottom 5% list while, at the same time, releasing 79 schools from the Priority School List. According to the state, this is the first time more schools were released from the list than added. In publishing the new list, however, the SRO has also identified 38 schools that now move to the "next level of accountability," which could include closure. Twenty-four of those schools are in Detroit, either the public school district or the Education Achievement Authority.

MASB’s Government Relations Team held 10 regional meetings in September and October of last year across the state to gather input from board members and superintendents on what your Association’s focus should be for the 2017-2018 legislative session. Following the regional meetings, all of the ideas were put into a survey sent out to all board members to choose their priorities for MASB. More than 700 people participated in the survey.

I heard a story a few weeks ago that made my husband laugh, my mother cry and me instantly think about professional learning. It goes something like this. . .