DashBoard, Oct. 2, 2019

I am one of the new faces here at MASB, and I’m quickly learning a great deal about public education. It’s not as though I have not had exposure to the public school system. I am a proud product of Adrian Public Schools (go Maples!) and I have children who attend East Lansing Public Schools. Over the past several months as I’ve looked at this area with a broader view, I’ve realized how much the role of public education goes beyond simply curriculum and instruction.

The budget is finally completed! Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed all of the budgets into law on Sept. 30 and included a large amount of line-item vetoes. For the School Aid Budget, she vetoed a total of $128.6 million in various programs; however, the major funding items were included. The per-pupil will be increased by $120-240 through the 2x formula, special education funding was increased by $60 million to cover an additional 2% of costs, and the per-pupil for English Language Learners was greatly increased and expanded.

The public comment period is an essential part of local government meetings. These are our guidelines for public comment periods in local government. They refer to ordinary business and work or study meetings of councils, boards and committees. Public hearings and quasi-judicial hearings are governed by different rules.

A new health and safety concern has districts taking different measures as the probability and effect varies across the state. Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially fatal virus acquired through a bite from an infected mosquito, has been found in humans and animals in several counties, primarily in southwest Michigan. State agencies and education organizations have shared guidelines to help districts in determining what approach is best for them.

Does your district have a program that changes lives and impacts students’ futures? For 27 years, the SET SEG Foundation and MASB have presented the Education Excellence Awards Program. The award supports and promotes innovative programs that directly impact student achievement, community involvement, critical thinking, leadership and social responsibility.

DashBoard, Oct. 16, 2019

MASB’s Government Relations staff recently met with our counterparts from other states to discuss issues facing school districts across the country. Advocacy staff from the National School Boards Association also presented on pending federal legislation that impacts our local school districts. One big topic that came up often was federal funding and, in particular, funding related to the Individual With Disabilities Education Act.

The Michigan Department of Education has been working to clarify a misconception regarding the third-grade reading law—proficiency scores on the English and Language Arts portion of the M-STEP are not the measure by which students are eligible to be held back; instead, it is a cut score that MDE outlined in its recently released 2018-2019 Annual Review.

In just a couple of weeks, school board members from almost every district in the state will be gathering to represent their district at MASB’s Delegate Assembly. This year, the Delegate Assembly will be held on Friday, Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme. If you have attended Delegate Assembly in the past, please note the change in day and time for this year.

DashBoard, Oct. 30, 2019

Michigan public school students show marked improvement compared to their peers in other states, according to national test results released today.

The MASB Annual Leadership Conference offers more than content-rich General Session speakers, clinic sessions and Board Member Certification (CBA) classes. In addition to the extensive education opportunities and idea sharing, dozens of companies gather in one place to showcase the very best in school products and services. Whether you’re building a new school, adding new technology, or outsourcing transportation or food services now or in the future, this is the place to be.

Last fall, Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, the Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative to establish an independent redistricting commission in the Michigan Constitution. The proposal eliminated the current process, which allows the Legislature to draw district boundaries—often in favor of the party in control. MASB supported the proposal with the belief that the independent commission will reduce the gerrymandering that exists within the current process that often leads to polarized districts that do not represent the majority of residents who reside there.

The Revised School Code permits a local or intermediate school board to pay only “actual and necessary” expenses incurred by a board member in discharging his or her “official duties” or in performing “functions authorized by the board.” A board member who incurs an “actual and necessary” expense cannot be reimbursed unless one or both of the following procedures are followed.