School Board Members and Superintendents Advocate for Public Education at the State Capitol

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, June 1, 2016

More than 175 board members and superintendents from around the state came together Tuesday at the Lansing Center for the annual MASA/MASB Legislative Conference.

The conference began with a legislative panel featuring Sen. Geoff Hansen (R- Hart), Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights), Rep. Amanda Price (R- Park Township) and Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor). Facilitated by Tim Skubick, they discussed third grade reading proficiency, Detroit Public Schools, the school aid budget and overall funding of public schools.

After the panel, attendees participated in two of four different breakout sessions. The sessions included a policy briefing by MASA and MASB Government Relations staff, the school aid budget by Michigan School Business Officials, Every Student Succeeds Act by Oakland Schools Government Relations Director and transgender students in schools by MASB’s assistant legal counsel.

Inside Michigan Politics Publisher and Editor Susan Demas spoke to the full conference on the upcoming election, and took questions from attendees about House and other statewide races. Finally, the Government Relations teams from MASA and MASB gave a quick legislative update with talking points for everyone to use when meeting with their legislators.

“I really enjoyed hearing from the legislative panelists and learning about how upcoming legislation will impact our students,” shared Patrice Hatcher from Carman Ainsworth Community Schools. “Sometimes as school board members we do not realize the influence we have in the political process. When we don't exercise that Influence, we give permission to the lawmakers to craft laws that don't always have the best interest of children in mind. This conference always reinforces this Influence and how school board members need to step up to impact legislation in the best interest of our students.”

In the afternoon, the attendees descended on the Capitol to meet with their legislators and observe House and Senate sessions. Some were also able to attend the conference committee on the School Aid Budget and watch the vote.

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