The MSBA Leader Newsletter: December 2023

The MSBA Leader Newsletter: December 2023


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MSBA Journal: Highlight Your Successful School Programs

Highlight your successful programs, teachers, and students in MSBA’s magazine

The May-June 2024 edition of the MSBA Journal magazine will focus on “What’s Right with Public Education.”

Our Association is looking to highlight:

  • Public school programs that have seen success with students,
  • A public school student who has had success thanks to a class, a teacher, or co-curricular activity at public schools
  • A board or a district that made good strides in reading or math or in simply boosting attendance.

We want to hear your success stories, so please pass this along to all of your principals, student representatives, and teachers. Ask them to also pass along to students.

Write an article of up to 1,000 words, attach a photo (with a resolution of at least 300 DPI for print), and send to Bruce Lombard at blombard@mnmsba.org. The deadline is noon Monday, March 4, 2024.

If writing is not a strength (for students), students can also just send us a 1-minute or 2-minute video on your success story or a message about a teacher, staff person, or public school that has lifted students up and made students feel welcomed and successful.


2024 MSBA Leadership Conference

VIDEO PREVIEW: Experience a day in the life of a board member attending the MSBA Leadership Conference in 2023. The 2024 MSBA Leadership Conference is scheduled for January 11-12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Learn about “Innovative Leadership: Preparing Students for Success” at the 2024 MSBA Leadership Conference — December 8 is the deadline to reserve a hotel room

The MSBA Leadership Conference“Innovative Leadership: Preparing Students for Success” — is scheduled for Thursday, January 11, and Friday, January 12, 2024, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The conference will feature workshops on a variety of topics, an Exhibit Hall, a School Excellence Showcase, an Early Bird Session focused on cyber issues, a Recognition Luncheon, and much more! Skip down to the “MSBA Workshops” section of this newsletter for additional learning opportunities during the conference.

  • Hotel reservations: Friday, December 8, 2023, is the deadline to obtain the special MSBA rate on a space-available basis. Please ask your school district office to reserve your hotel room. Visit the MSBA website for details about hotel reservations.
  • Conference registration: While there is no fee for MSBA members to attend the Leadership Conference on January 11 and January 12, advanced registration is still required by Friday, December 29. Please coordinate your registration through your school district office. Visit the MSBA website for more information.

Leadership Conference Early Bird Session
“Cyber Threat Awareness and Creative Strategies for Managing Risk”

7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, January 10, 2024 (Minneapolis Convention Center — during Leadership Conference week)

Mark Lanterman, Chief Technology Officer of Computer Forensic Services, will discuss latest trends in our cyber landscape including topics such as the Dark Web, doxxing, ransomware, and the role of the human element in making or breaking a strong security culture during his “Cyber Threat Awareness and Creative Strategies for Managing Risk” Early Bird Session. Mark will also provide practical suggestions for improving cybersecurity postures with proactive and reactive strategies.

Visit the MSBA website for more information. Please coordinate registration through your school district office.


Leadership Conference Recognition Luncheon; check the MSBA Honor Roll list to see if you or your district will be receiving an award

11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Thursday, January 11, 2024 (Minneapolis Convention Center)

Find out if you are receiving an award during the Leadership Conference Recognition Luncheon by viewing the MSBA Honor Roll list. Note: Leadership Development Certificates and Directors’ Awards will be distributed by mail. If your name is not listed among the award categories and you think it should be, please contact Jackie Fahey at jfahey@mnmsba.org.

Visit the MSBA website for more information. If you plan to attend the luncheon, please coordinate registration through your school district office.



MSBA Board of Directors Elections

Elections for six MSBA Board seats will be held during the Leadership Conference

Elections will be held for MSBA Board of Directors seats for the Director Districts listed below. (Note: The Director District 5 seat open for a one-year term). Each MSBA Director District will meet for a  Director District Discussion at 1 p.m. Thursday, January 11, 2024, during the Leadership Conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Visit the MSBA website for more information.

  • MSBA Director District 3 (southwest Minnesota): Three-year term for an open seat. (Current Board Director: Jeanna Lilleberg, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City)
  • MSBA Director District 5 (north metro): One-year term for an open seat. (Current Board Director: Nicole Hayes, Anoka-Hennepin)
  • MSBA Director District 6 (northeast metro): Three-year term for open seat. (Current Board Director: Michelle Yener, North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale)
  • MSBA Director District 9 (east-central Minnesota): Three-year term for an open seat. (Current Board Director: Julie Domogalla, East Central Schools)
  • MSBA Director District 12 (northwest Minnesota): Three-year term for an open seat. (Current Board Director: Jim DeVries, Mahnomen)
  • MSBA Director District 13 (southwest metro): Three-year term for an open seat (Current Board Director: Kristi Peterson, Shakopee)

Contact MSBA’s Jackie Fahey at jfahey@mnmsba.org to receive additional information to learn about the requirements of being a member of the MSBA Board of Directors.

GRAPHIC: Access an informational flyer and the MSBA Director District map for additional information.



Elections and Referendums

Combined polling place resolution needs to be approved by December 31

By Greg Abbott, MSBA Director of Communications

If your district is planning a bond referendum, capital project levy, or might have a board vacancy that requires a special election in 2024 outside of the August or November primary and General Election dates, remember that the combined polling place resolution must be approved by December 31, 2023.

Districts that do not approve the combined polling place resolution can face double or triple the cost of running special elections in February, April, or May of 2024 because without the resolution, ALL polling places in your school district must be open and run by at least three election judges per polling place. That can take an average cost of $10,000 for your special election and turn it into an election that costs $60,000.

Visit https://mnmsba.org/resource-library/#elections and access the resolution for combined polling places under the “Forms and Resolutions” drop-down menu. For 2024, the special election dates are February 13, April 9, and May 14, along with the August 13 primary election date and the November 5 general election date. If you have questions about referendums, contact MSBA’s Greg Abbott (507-420-1881 or gabbott@mnmsba.org) or Maria Shinabarger (mshinabarger@mnmsba.org).


MSBA’s 2024 general election timeline and special election timeline now available

For school districts with bond or capital project levy special elections in 2024, the MSBA special election timelines for February, April, May, August, and November is available on the MSBA website at https://mnmsba.org/resource-library/#elections.

MSBA’s general election timeline for 2024 school board elections is also available. If your district has any questions, contact MSBA’s Greg Abbott (gabbott@mnmsba.org) or Maria Shinabarger (mshinabarger@mnmsba.org).


Deadline for candidate campaign finance reports, “Vote No” and “Vote Yes” groups are due on December 8

Newly elected and re-elected school board candidates must file their final campaign finance report to the school district election officer by December 8, 2023. Any candidate or any “Vote No” group or “Vote Yes” group that made or spent more than $750 in 2023 must file the report.



MSBA Workshops

Learning to Lead — School Board Basics: Phase I Workshop

Learning to Lead — School Board Basics: Phase I is for newly elected or appointed school board members (as well as a good refresher course for veteran board members). Phase I covers the role of the school board, the role of the superintendent, the leadership team relationship, and common scenarios facing new board members. Visit the MSBA website for more information. Please coordinate registration through your school district office.

Upcoming workshop options:

  • Virtual: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 6, 2023 — Late registration available
  • Virtual: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, December 8, 2023 — Late registration available
  • In person: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, January 9, 2024 (Hyatt Regency Minneapolis during Leadership Conference week) — Registration closes December 29, 2023

Leadership Foundations — School Finance and Management: Phase II Workshop

Leadership Foundations — School Finance and Management: Phase II covers core topics such as the budget, school finance, local levies, policies, significant laws affecting school boards, collective bargaining, and personnel issues. Visit the MSBA website for more information. Please coordinate registration through your school district office.

Upcoming workshop options:

  • Two-part virtual session: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 13, 2023 (Part A) and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 20, 2023 (Part B)Registration closes December 6, 2023
  • In person: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 10, 2024 (Hyatt Regency Minneapolis during Leadership Conference week) — Registration closes December 29, 2023

Building a High-Performance School Board Team: Phase III Workshop

Building a High-Performance School Board Team: Phase III focuses on the stages of board development, characteristics of a high-performing school board team, navigating board dynamics, small-group interactions with school board video scenarios, and an overview of the MSBA School Board Self-Evaluation tool. Visit the MSBA website for more information. Please coordinate registration through your school district office.

Upcoming workshop option:

  • In person: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 10, 2024 (Hyatt Regency Minneapolis during Leadership Conference week) — Registration closes December 29, 2023




MSBA Webinars

Coffee & Conversation: 8 a.m. Tuesday, December 5

The virtual Coffee & Conversation meetings are led by MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind and MSBA staff. Network with your school board colleagues during this series. The next Coffee & Conversation meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday, December 5. School board members, look for an email invitation in your inbox. The Coffee & Conversation series is sponsored by PFM Asset Management.


Board Chair Chat: 8 a.m. Wednesday, December 6

The Board Chair Chat conversations center around the board chair’s roles and responsibilities. While focusing on the board chair. The next Board Chair Chat meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday, December 6. School board chairs, look for an email invitation in your inbox on December 5.


MSBA Third Thursday Webinar Series: “The Organizational Meeting”
1 p.m. Thursday, December 14 – UPDATED DATE!

Minnesota school boards must hold an organizational meeting “on the first Monday of January of each year, or as soon thereafter as practicable.” The organizational meeting must conduct the board officer election and may include a range of other topics, including meeting schedules, board compensation, committee appointments, and more. MSBA staff members Gail Gilman and Terence Morrow will present “The Organizational Meeting” on Thursday, December 14, 2023 (updated date), to help school boards prepare for and conduct their organizational meetings.

Last month’s webinar: Visit https://youtu.be/SJEiPftbO1E to watch a recording of the Navigating Negotiations: November Update” webinar presented on November 16.

The Third Thursday Webinar Series is sponsored by Ehlers, Eide Bailly, InGensa, Sourcewell, and Widseth.



MSBAIT Matters

Four quick tips for safe snow shoveling this winter

By SFM Mutual Insurance Company
SFM Mutual Insurance Company is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program.

If your school leadership duties include helping assure safe and effective snow removal, you know that icy and snowy conditions on your school’s sidewalks and parking lots can lead to slip-and-fall injuries.

You do your best to keep the school’s sidewalks and parking lots free of ice and snow. You care about preventing injuries for everyone who visits your school buildings. However, it’s just as important to be mindful about preventing workplace injuries that can happen during snow removal.

Follow these four tips to reduce the risk of injuries while shoveling snow, so you and your team can get back inside safely.

1. Start by being physically ready

Before getting ready to shovel snow, our bodies need to be ready to handle the job safely to avoid injury or significant discomfort. The risks that go along with shoveling include “a potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, or heart attacks,” according to OSHA.

Before and during shoveling, remember to:

  • Drink plenty of water for hydration.
  • Warm up: Stretch your arms, shoulders, back, and legs.
  • Understand your physical limitations and do not push beyond them.

If you have any underlying health conditions that might make shoveling risky for you, strongly consider asking for help or seek other alternatives.

Read the remainder of the “Four quick tips for safe snow shoveling this winter” article.


Bullying at school: Five reasons to prioritize prevention

By Liberty Mutual Insurance
Liberty Mutual Insurance is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program.

The troubling reality of bullying is nothing new, but its growing prevalence and potential lasting impacts have deepened in many ways — making it a crucial priority in school environments today. Here are five reasons schools should keep bullying awareness and prevention top of mind when it comes to risk-management strategy.

1. The incidence of bullying continues

In 2021, 15 percent of high school students were bullied on school property during the school year according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — meaning they’re the victims of unwanted, intentional, and repeated aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance, such as hitting, shoving, teasing, insults, threats, or exclusion. The same reportshows that in 2021, 16 percent of high school students were electronically bullied, including through texting, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms, throughout the school year.

Read the remainder of the “Bullying at school: Five reasons to prioritize prevention” article.


Consortium of State School Boards Association (COSSBA)

2024 COSSBA Conference set for February 22-25 in Dallas; register by December 14 to take advantage of early bird pricing for registration fees

Registration is open for the 2024 Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) Annual Conference. The conference will be held February 22-25, 2024, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Visit the COSSBA website to access conference registration and to book your hotel accommodations.

Register for COSSBA’s “Literacy and Student Achievement” webinar on January 17

Register today for the fourth installment of the COSSBA Urban Boards Alliance Webinar Series. “Literacy and Student Achievement” is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17, 2024, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time. Visit the COSSBA website to watch recordings of the first three episodes in this series.

COSSBA Federal Reports available for MSBA members

As a benefit of MSBA’s membership with COSSBA, MSBA members can access the latest editions of the COSSBA Education Report and the COSSBA Court Report on the MSBA website.


Management Services

Mediation services available for collective bargaining disputes

Recently MSBA has received questions regarding Mediation. Mediation may be an option if the district and a bargaining unit are unable to reach an agreement during negotiations. The Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) provides mediation services for collective bargaining disputes.

  • The intent of mediation: The goal in a negotiations dispute is an agreement/settlement. If a settlement is reached voluntarily, the mediator will have done their job. The board should remember, however, that the mediator does not settle the collective bargaining agreement – the parties settle.  The mediator is simply a facilitator, helping the two parties to agree.
  • The role of the BMS in mediation: Either party may petition the BMS Commissioner for mediation services. A petition by the board must be signed by its authorized officer. All petitions must briefly state the nature of the dispute and unresolved issues between the parties and be delivered to the BMS along with a copy to the other party. Upon receipt of a petition and upon concluding that mediation would be useful, the BMS Commissioner will fix a time and place for a conference with the parties to negotiate the issues in dispute. The parties are required to respond to the BMS Commissioner’s summons to conferences and must continue in conference until excused by the BMS Commissioner. All mediators are provided without charge. The process itself should not be feared. Often, it is helpful in moving the parties from their set positions, although, at other times, the process accomplishes little. Remember, a mediator has no authority to force a settlement, and anything agreed to in mediation may be withdrawn if the parties so desire. Also, negotiations can continue during the mediation process, so a settlement may be reached without the mediator’s assistance.

BMS information:


Be prepared for new laws coming on January 1, 2024

Minnesota minimum wage increases

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announced Minnesota’s minimum wage will increase effective January 1, 2024. The new rates are as follows:

  • Large employers = $10.84 per hour
  • Small employers = $8.85 per hour

Visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website to access additional information and required posters.

Veterans’ benefits and services poster

In accordance with Minnesota Statutes 181.536, all Minnesota employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees shall display a poster describing veterans’ benefits and services effective January 1, 2024. A copy of the required poster is available on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website.

Earned sick and safe time (ESST)

As of January 1, 2024, employers are required to provide earned sick and safe paid leave to employees.

Additional information regarding ESST is available through the following weblinks:

Pay history ban

During the 2023 legislative session, Minnesota Statues 363A.08 was amended to include language that states, an employer, employment agency, or labor organization shall not inquire into, consider, or require disclosure from any source the pay history of an applicant for employment for the purpose of determining wages, salary, earnings, benefits, or other compensation.

Applicants may voluntarily and without asking, encouraging, or prompting disclose pay history. If an applicant voluntarily discloses pay history information, the employer may use that information to support a wage or salary higher than initially offered by the employer.

This new language is effective January 1, 2024. For employment covered by collective bargaining agreements, this language is not effective until the date of implementation of the applicable collective bargaining agreement that is after January 1, 2024.

For additional information go to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights website.


News laws that are effective now

Rights related to employer-sponsored meetings

With the implementation of Minnesota Statutes 181.531, employers may not require employees to attend meetings where the purpose of the meeting is to communicate the employer’s opinion on unionization and political or religious matters. In addition, employers are required to post and keep posted a notice of employees’ rights under statute. Access a sample notice regarding Employer-Sponsored Meetings or Communications.

Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA)

During the 2023 Legislative session, Chapter 53 made amendments to statutes covered by the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA).  For example, employees must be made aware of the rights of pregnant and lactating employees upon hire, when an employee makes an inquiry about or requests parental leave, and in an employee handbook, if one is provided. Additional information regarding these amendments is available through the following weblinks:

Along with the WESA amendments, employers need to keep in mind the PUMP Act which extends rights to nursing employees on the federal level.  Minnesota employers must comply with both the state and federal requirements, whichever provision is most beneficial to employees is the on the one that prevails. Additional information regarding the PUMP Act is available through the following weblinks:


All employers must now use latest version of Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (08/01/2023 edition date) — all employers must now be using this form.

Also, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided information regarding E-Verify and the option for employers to remotely examine employee’s identity and employment authorization documents. Additional information regarding the revised Form I-9, E-Verify, and Form I-9 employer training webinars are available through the following weblinks:


New statewide job board is available

The Minnesota School Jobs website helps educators connect directly with hiring administrators in public, PreK-12 schools across the state. Visit https://mnschooljobs.org to access this website.





Other Workshops and Events

BoardBook: Simplify preparation and improve efficiencies for board meetings

Webinars: Thursday, December 7, 2023; Thursday, December 14, 2023; and Thursday, December 21, 2023

Join BoardBook for a live 30-minute informational webinar to learn how to reduce the time, money, and stress associated with board meeting preparation. Visit the BoardBook website to sign up for a free webinar. BoardBook is an MSBA-endorsed product.


Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB): Information Session

Webinar: 1 p.m. Thursday, December 14, 2023

Join the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) for an information session at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 14 (register here). PELSB will address common questions about licensure and permissions, share resources, and answer questions from attendees.



Job Openings

Visit the MSBA Job Openings webpage to access application information for these listings.

Superintendents and Executive Directors

  • Litchfield Public Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: January 14, 2024)
  • Minnesota River Valley Education District — Executive Director (Deadline: January 23, 2024)

Principals

  • Nicollet Public School — Part-Time K-8 Elementary Principal (Deadline: Open until filled)

Other Administrators

  • Elk River Area School District — Educational Services Specialist (Deadline: Open until filled)
  • Elk River Area School District — Finance Specialist (Deadline: Open until filled)
  • Fergus Falls Public Schools — Director of Special Education (Deadline: January 4, 2024)
  • Fergus Falls Public Schools — Assistant Director of Special Education (Deadline: January 4, 2024)
  • Minneapolis Public Schools — Director of Compliance for Records Management (Application deadline: Open until filled)
  • Pipestone Area Schools — Director of Curriculum (Application deadline: Open until filled)

In Memory

  • Former Aitkin School Board member Charles Carlson died November 22, 2023.
  • Former Lake Crystal School Board member Joseph Kubicek died December 2, 2023.
  • Former Norman County East superintendent Karl Schulz died November 13, 2023.


About the Leader Newsletter

The Leader Newsletter is published as a member service by the Minnesota School Boards Association, 1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082. The Leader is edited by Bruce Lombard (blombard@mnmsba.org), the MSBA Associate Director of Communications.

The contents of this newsletter are provided for informational use only and are not to be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult your attorney.

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