The MSBA Leader Newsletter: January 2024

The MSBA Leader Newsletter: January 2024

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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 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: Learning how to be a better board member can also come from talking to other board members across the state — the MSBA Leadership Conference is a perfect opportunity to do that. The 2024 MSBA Leadership Conference is scheduled for January 11-12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

See you soon at the 2024 MSBA Leadership Conference!

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.

  • 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.

Download the Leadership Conference App; find log-in info in your email inbox

The 2024 MSBA Leadership Conference App is powered by E&M Consulting.

Download the app: Visit to download the 2024 MSBA Leadership Conference App.

Username and password: After you download the app, please check your email inbox for a message sent around 11 a.m. Friday, December 29, with a Subject line of “2024 MSBA Leadership Conference – App Download Instructions” to access your username and password information for the app. (If you can’t locate this email message, please check your spam/junk folder.)

Need assistance? Direct questions to E&M Consulting at or MSBA’s Bruce Lombard at

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

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)

The Leadership Conference Recognition Luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, January 11, in the Ballroom on Level One (Blue Level) at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Advance registration closed on December 29, 2023. There will be a limited number of walk-in luncheon tickets available at the information desk located in the registration area on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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 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

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

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

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:

  • In person: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, January 9, 2024 (Hyatt Regency Minneapolis during Leadership Conference week) — Late registration still available
  • Virtual: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, February 7, 2024 (registration available later in January)

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:

  • In person: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 10, 2024 (Hyatt Regency Minneapolis during Leadership Conference week) — Late registration still available
  • Two-part virtual session: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, February 8, 2024 (Part A) and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, February 15, 2024 (Part B) — registration available later in January

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) — Late registration still available
  • In person: 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 12, 2024 (Location TBA) — Registration will be available in March 2024
  • Two-part virtual sessions: Virtual sessions scheduled for mid-April 2024. See MSBA website for details.

MSBA Webinars

Prepare for your organizational school board meeting with MSBA webinar, resources

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 presented “The Organizational Meeting” webinar in December 2023 to help school boards prepare for and conduct their organizational meetings.

Recording: Visit to watch this recording on YouTube.

Resources for your organizational meeting:

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

Board Chair Chat: 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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, January 3. School board chairs, look for an email invitation in your inbox on January 2.

Coffee & Conversation: 8 a.m. Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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, January 16. School board members, look for an email invitation in your inbox on January 15. The Coffee & Conversation series is sponsored by PFM Asset Management.

MSBAIT Matters

School facilities’ usage can increase liability

By Tiffany Gustin, MSBA Associate Director of Management and Insurance Trust Services

School facilities are public buildings. The school district can partner with the community by providing non-school groups a space for meetings, community events, reunions, and more. To protect the interests of the school district, MSBA recommends that a certificate of insurance be requested from non-school groups to address any damage or losses that happen as a result of the event. (See MSBA Model 902 – Use of School District Facilities and Equipment.)

When non-school groups are unable to provide a certificate of insurance, the Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) has a solution. MSBAIT has partnered with AMBA CampusConnections and Marsh McLennan to provide non-school groups (tenant users) the opportunity to purchase a policy tailored to the event that incorporates loss limits established in Minnesota law. The non-school group can apply for the Tenant User Liability Insurance Policy online and provide payment through an easy-to-use portal at

For more information on the program, contact Tiffany Gustin, Associate Director of Management and Insurance Trust Services, at If you are attending the MSBA Leadership Conference, you are invited to attend a roundtable session on Friday morning to hear more.

Address your data security risk self-assessment processes

By Glatfelter Public Entities
Glatfelter Public Entities is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program.

We all know that school districts frequently collect, evaluate, and maintain personal data of students, parents, staff, and others. As such, school district leaders (and all school district stakeholders) are encouraged to consistently develop, monitor, review, and revise their data security plans.

According to Protecting Personal Information – A Guide for Business, a sound data security plan is built on five key principles:

  • Take stock – Know what personal information you have in your files and on your computers.
  • Scale down – Keep only what you need for your school district.
  • Lock it – Protect the information that you keep.
  • Pitch it – Properly dispose of what you no longer need.
  • Plan ahead – Create a plan to respond to security.

This self-assessment tool was developed using the concepts outlined in the Federal Trade Commission booklet Protecting Personal Information – A Guide for Business. This tool may help your school district identify areas where your data security plan could be improved.

Click here to read the remainder of this article.

Winter slips, trips, and falls: frequent, costly, and often preventable

By RAS Companies
RAS is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program.

Slip and falls are one of the most frequently reported on-the-job injuries and the most costly. Through review of reported Minnesota school district staff injuries, we estimate that roughly 50% of your school district’s workers’ compensation premium may be going to cover the costs of slip, trip, and fall injuries alone. Add the indirect expenses of training or paying substitute employees, and the costs grow. With cold weather factors in play, the likelihood of this type of accident occurring increases that much more.

Preventing these winter incidents can be difficult, but the success stories below show how awareness campaigns and programs can make a difference. Success is possible! Don’t give up!

Provision of Ice Cleats

  • One metro Minneapolis district provided each of their bus drivers with a pair of transitional traction ice cleats and dropped their ice/snow-related slips and falls to just one in the year following.
  • Transitional traction cleats have been found effective on ice, slush, and snow, while still deemed safe for driving and indoor wear, making it unnecessary to remove them when stepping inside the bus depot, onto bus steps, or into bus aisles.
  • Also, an excellent idea for custodians when taking out the trash or clearing snow.
  • More information on these LOW-PRO cleats can be found at

Click here to read the remainder of this article.

Understanding common cybersecurity and data privacy events

By Marsh McLennan
Marsh McLennan is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program.

Over the last several years, we have discovered that one of the many challenges that some school districts have with respect to embracing cybersecurity risk management and insurance recommendations is understanding key preventative controls and disaster response planning, as well as what might be considered a “cybersecurity” or “data privacy” breach or incident event. And, who can blame them? Many issues and complications have arisen with these types of threat exposures over the past five to 10 years.

Although cyber and data privacy events arguably may no longer be considered new in today’s world, it seems well understood that the frequency of cyber criminals who often perpetrate such events continue to further invest, develop, and evolve their attacks and threat exposures. As such, every school district is likely subject to being impacted, irrespective of their preventive planning and process.

This often leads to a frustrating, battle-oriented dynamic: because there are sometimes at least a few (perhaps inescapable) vulnerabilities in nearly every school district’s cybersecurity and data privacy systems (i.e., “nothing’s perfect”), there’s sometimes a tail-chasing activity that follows – i.e., the more attacks and threat exposures that arise, the more proactive and defensive strategies and tactics need to be developed and deployed to address them! This dynamic (and the ongoing resources and costs associated with it) might even tempt some school districts to give up or give in!

Notwithstanding the challenges, we urge school districts not to give up or give in! With potentially millions of dollars at risk (think: attorneys’ fees, forensic review and correction expenses, system patches and upgrades costs, breach notification and monitoring charges, ransomware and indemnity payments, etc.) in addition to public relations issues associated with EACH cybersecurity or data privacy event, we strongly encourage school districts to avoid being complacent about or dismissive of these threat exposures. One way to help do that is to better understand the nature and scope of the continuously evolving key controls tied together with the more common threat exposures so that your school district can potentially better plan and process related prevention and response activities.

Click here to read the remainder of this article.

Consortium of State School Boards Association (COSSBA)

2024 COSSBA Conference set for February 22-25 in Dallas; register for conference, reserve hotel room

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 in 2024

Minnesota minimum wage increases

Minnesota’s minimum wage increased on 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 became 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 to access this website.

Other Workshops and Events

BoardBook: Simplify preparation and improve efficiencies for board meetings

Webinars: 10 a.m. Thursday, January 4, 2024; and Monday, January 15, 2024

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.

The Briefings: A National Safety Symposium

Tuesday, April 16, and Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The “I Love Guys” Foundation is partnering with the Minnesota School Safety Center on The Briefings: A National School Safety Symposium. This event is scheduled for April 16 and April 17, 2024, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Visit for more information and to access registration.

Job Openings

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

Superintendents and Executive Directors

  • Cleveland Public School — Superintendent (Deadline: January 29, 2024)
  • East Grand Forks Public Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: February 19, 2024)
  • Kasson-Mantorville Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: February 5, 2024)
  • Lac qui Parle Valley Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: January 15, 2024)
  • Litchfield Public Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: January 14, 2024)
  • Minnesota River Valley Education District — Executive Director (Deadline: January 23, 2024)
  • Sartell-St. Stephen Public Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: February 13, 2024)
  • St. Louis Park Public Schools — Superintendent (Deadline: February 7, 2024)


  • Albany Area Schools — Middle School Principal (Deadline: January 31, 2024)
  • Nicollet Public School — Part-Time K-8 Elementary Principal (Deadline: Open until filled)

Other Administrators

  • Byron Public Schools — Executive Director of Finance and Operations (Deadline: January 18, 2024)
  • 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)
  • Perpich Center for Arts Education — Finance Director (Deadline: January 10, 2024)
  • Pipestone Area Schools — Director of Curriculum (Application deadline: Open until filled)

In Memory

  • Former New Ulm School Board member John Arlandson died December 29, 2023.
  • Former Willmar superintendent Jerry Kjergaard died December 20, 2023.
  • Former Lake Crystal School Board member James Rambo died December 18, 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 (, 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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