Statutory Changes are Coming Fast and Furious—Are You Keeping Up?

Joel Gerring

By Joel Gerring, MASB Assistant Legal Counsel

DashBoard, Feb. 24, 2016

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on your News From the Capitol briefings then you know that the Legislature is introducing, considering and passing a significant amount of education-related law every month. Moreover, many of these changes can be classified as anything but “minor.” In addition to right-to-work and the new prohibited subjects of bargaining, more recent legislative action has brought about significant changes to the teacher/administrator evaluation process, as well as very detailed reporting rules regarding districts headed toward financial distress.

 Currently in the works are bills that will significantly affect the operation of Detroit Public Schools, as well as a bill to expand the use of sinking funds, one to create yet another prohibited subject of bargaining (school calendars), a bill to dictate social media policies and, of course, proposed fixes for PA 269, the “gag order” legislation that became law just a few months ago and is already being challenged in court (MASB submitted a brief on behalf of its members in that matter).

With so much information and so many changes happening quickly, it is very easy to simply lose track of “the comings and goings” in Lansing and how decisions being made there can have not only a direct effect on your district, but unforeseen ramifications as well. This is where the real value of being an MASB member comes through. From DashBoard to LeaderBoard, and from our CBAs to our Annual Leadership Conference, MASB uses any and every means at its disposal to bring you not only information, but answers. That mission continues with this week’s annual Labor Relations Conference, taking place in Lansing at the Radisson Hotel on Friday, Feb. 26. The MASB Legal Team, along with adjuncts and school law professionals from Clark Hill, SET SEG School Insurance Specialists and Thrun, will be there to provide insight and answer questions on a variety of hot-button issues, including the Affordable Care Act and the latest on arbitration strategies.

Beyond the labor arena, MASB’s Legal Team remains here to assist members with a variety of school law questions. While we are not retained legal counsel for any particular district (and therefore do not enjoy an attorney-client relationship with our members) we can offer direction and provide recommendations on many of the most common (and several uncommon) dilemmas that a district might be facing. Over the past few months we’ve noticed an increase in questions involving union PERA requests concerning very specific teacher contact information, as well as inquiries regarding free speech, superintendent contracts and FOIA requests. Likewise, given that it is an election year, we are also seeing an increase in questions regarding board candidacy, appointments and filing deadlines. Meanwhile, the MASB Government Relations Team will continue to advocate for our members in Lansing while our Leadership Services and Communications professionals develop and present information, materials and courses that are relevant to you in the HERE AND NOW.

So, if you’re having trouble keeping up with the ever-changing educational landscape, make sure that you’re taking a look at everything that MASB has to offer. As your Association we are here to offer clarity, guidance and, most of all, a path forward.

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