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MINNESOTA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION

September-October 2011

Volume 64, No. 2

The Science of Compliance Passing a Levy Renewal in Tough Times

2011 Summer Seminar Scrapbook

The Kline Way Pages 26 – 27 OO


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CONTENTS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011 VOLUME 64, NUMBER 2

Calendar SEPTEMBER 2011

Divisions 4 5 6 28 31

QUOTES OF NOTE MSBA Staff

STRAIGHT TALK Bob Meeks, MSBA Executive Director PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Kent Thiesse, MSBA President VENDOR DIRECTORY Sue Munsterman, MSBA Advertising ASK MSBA Greg Abbott, MSBA Director of Communications

Articles 8

THE SCIENCE OF COMPLIANCE Bruce Lombard

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PASSING A LEVY RENEWAL IN TOUGH TIMES Bill Morris

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THE KLINE WAY Bruce Lombard

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WHY TRANSFORMATION IS THE ONLY PATH David Houle

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PROVIDING ENERGY SAVINGS PERFORMANCE CONTRACTING FOR SCHOOLS – WITH PROPER OVERSIGHT Martin Duda

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SUMMER SEMMINAR SCRAPBOOK MSBA Staff

5 .............Labor Day (no meetings) 13 ...........MSBA Fall Area Meetings, Hibbing and Little Falls 14 ...........MSBA Fall Area Meetings, Thief River Falls and St. Peter 15 ...........MSBA Fall Area Meetings, Marshall and Cambridge-Isanti 20 ...........MSBA Fall Area Meetings, Fergus Falls 22 ...........MSBA Fall Area Meetings, Rochester and Richfield 30 ...........Last Day for Submitting Legislative Resolutions

OCTOBER 2011 2–4 .........Minnesota Association of Educational Office Professionals Conference 2–4 .........MASA Fall Conference 6 .............MSBA Insurance Trust Annual Meeting 6–7 .........MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting 10 ...........Columbus Day Observed (optional holiday) 20–21 .....Education Minnesota Conference 24–27 .....Free Board Book Webinars

N OV E M B E R 2 0 1 1 2–3 .........MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting 6 .............Daylight Saving Time Ends 8 .............Election Day (no meetings or activities 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) 11 ...........Veterans Day (no meetings) 13–19 .....American Education Week 16–17 .....MSBA Pre-Delegate Assembly Meetings 16 ...........Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus Meeting 17–18 .....MASBO Fall Conference 19 ...........MSBA Pre-Delegate Assembly Meetings 24 ...........Thanksgiving Day (no meetings) 25 ...........Optional holiday

The MSBA Journal thanks the students of The Twin Cities Academy for sharing their art with us in this issue. COVER ART: Calla Paule, 9th Grade

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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OFFICERS President: Kent Thiesse, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial Past President: Jackie Magnuson, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan DISTRICT DIRECTORS District 1: Kathy Green, Austin District 2: Jodi Sapp, Mankato Area District 3: Linden Olson, Worthington District 4: Betsy Scheurer, Hopkins District 5: Marilynn Forsberg, Spring Lake Park District 6: Kevin Donovan, Mahtomedi District 7: Roz Peterson, Lakeville Area District 8: Elona Street-Stewart, St. Paul District 9: Karen Kirschner, Mora District 10: Dana Laine, Frazee-Vergas District 11: Walter Hautala, Mesabi East District 12: Ann Long Voelkner, Bemidji Area District 13: Deb Pauly, Jordan STAFF Bob Meeks: Executive Director Barbara Lynn: Executive Assistant/Director of Board Operations John Sylvester: Deputy Executive Director Tiffany Rodning: Deputy Executive Director Greg Abbott: Director of Communications Denise Drill: Director of Financial/MSBAIT Services Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor: Associate Director of Management Services Sandy Gundlach: Director of School Board Services Donn Jenson: Director of Information and Technology Bill Kautt: Associate Director of Management Services Grace Keliher: Director of Governmental Relations Katie Klanderud: Director of Board Development Gary Lee: Associate Director of Management Services Bruce Lombard: Associate Director of Communications Bob Lowe: Director of Management Services Kelly Martell: Director of Technology Cathy Miller: Director of Legal and Policy Services Sue Munsterman: MSBA Advertising Kirk Schneidawind: Associate Director of Governmental Relations Mike Torkelson: Elections/Management Services Specialist

Quotes of Note captures some of the more interesting statements MSBA staff have read in local, state and national publications.

Moving to a 60-40 shift in funding

Dangers of high-stakes testing tied to teacher evaluations

“The short-term borrowing from schools is not a sustainable budget solution for Minnesota. The shift maneuver provides hardship for schools currently without a large operating budget reserve, such as WDC.”

“As soon as the stakes go way up, teachers think of the other things that might be affected. This is one reason why pay-for-performance stuff is so frightening. Imagine if your salary is going to start to be based on test scores – man, the stakes go up . . . Some places 90 percent of the day is spent on teaching to the test. Arts and music get left to the side.”

Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom

Paying back the shift (or not) “We’re hearing a host of things that that money’s gone, forget about it, plan now for a worst-case scenario. That’s why you see 133 school districts talking about referendums this fall.” Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Klint Willert

Bloomington Public Schools Director of Research and Assessment Jim Angermeyr

Focus on helping students, instead of litigation on GLBT issues “We believe the interests of our students would be better served if we could put our energies and resources into working together to develop materials that directly support students. Rather than focusing on litigation, we would prefer to invest in materials that would provide a positive outcome for students for years to come.” Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent Dennis Carlson

The changing face of education “If you think school hasn’t changed since you attended, I encourage you to come in and take the 11th-grade test. The expectations for graduation are a lot higher nowadays. Technology has become a big piece, and we have to make sure they’re prepared as they move on to high school or out into the job market.” Lynd Superintendent Bruce Houk

The MSBA Journal (USPS 352-220) is published bimonthly by the Minnesota School Boards Association, 1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, Minnesota 56082. Telephone 507-934-2450. Call MSBA office for subscription rates. (Opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent MSBA policy.)

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STRAIGHT TALK

WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH, MSBA IS GOING TO BE THERE FOR YOU

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I’m sure everyone has been in a situation where something bad happens to you, and when you ask for help, friends distance themselves in silence. Except for your true friends. The minute they hear something bad has happened, they step up to help out. It’s like the old saying: “It’s easy to be friends when times are good, but it is a true friend who stands by you when things get tough.”

Bob Meeks MSBA Executive Director

Researching, compiling and making arguments in court took much effort on the part of staff and ran up some big bills for legal work. But as your Association, we weren’t going to stand silent while bad things happened to districts.

This summer, schools were put in a tough situation: Without legislation passed and both parties fighting their ideological wars, the state shut down. Not many people knew what to expect. And to make matters worse, the governor did not put K–12 education on a list of critical core services that would stay open and be funded during the shutdown. Uneasiness began to set in on whether payments to schools would still be made. If not, what would schools do? That’s when Your MSBA Board of Directors and staff stepped forward and worked to petition District Judge Kathleen Gearin to treat K–12 education as a critical core function and to make funds that were already appropriated available to schools. Because of the leadership of the MSBA Board, your Association was the only school association to file a petition in the court case. And we won, which means that students won. After the shutdown happened, we also received calls from members who were worried about payments for special education. With the help of attorneys from the Intermediate Districts, MSBA again petitioned to make sure special education payments went through. It was enough to change Gov. Dayton’s mind and change his recommendation to make special education payments a critical function. The court agreed with MSBA arguments and declared special education to be a critical core function.

And just as the shutdown was coming to an end, we took up the call from districts that were worried that a lack of building inspectors would prevent school districts from opening on time. For the third time, we were back petitioning the court. And once again, the Special Master ruled in our favor. Because the shutdown ended, the judge did not rule on the issue. Researching, compiling and making arguments in court took much effort on the part of staff and ran up some big bills for legal work. But as your Association, we weren’t going to stand silent while bad things happened to districts. We needed to step up and be there for you, and that’s what your Association’s board did. We hope that by our actions we have now set a precedent for what happens with school funding during any future shutdowns of state functions and services. And we hope that by our actions, you know that Your MSBA is a friend you can call on – any time – no matter how bad things look.

Quinn Gould, 6th Grade

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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PRESIDENT’S COLUMN SETTING AN EXAMPLE OF A LIFELONG LEARNER

T Kent Thiesse MSBA President

That desire to keep learning is not just for students in the classroom. It has to come from the teachers, from staff, from the superintendent AND from you, as a board member.

There’s something magical about that first day back at school. It’s getting to see your friends again, seeing the new teachers and taking that class you’ve been looking forward to. For the school board, it’s an exciting time as well. Despite all the politics and hard times and funding issues, fall brings optimism for me as a board member. It’s like the beginning of a sports season where the opportunity for learning and achieving is wide open. It also reminds me that, as a board member, I have a duty to keep learning and being active in my school district and schools throughout the state.

Luckily, we have opportunities to get involved in MSBA’s Delegate Assembly, where we have a chance to set the agenda for the next legislative session. We also have opportunities – for new board members or experienced ones – to participate in MSBA’s wonderful Phase training sessions. If you’re a new officer, sign up for the Officers Training sessions in February.

As a board member, I realize that kids expect you to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. That’s why I go to conferences, take advantage of learning opportunities through our Association and keep finding ways that I can improve as a board member. Schools can teach students many things. But I think the most important thing we can teach our children is to become lifelong learners. That desire to keep learning is not just for students in the classroom. It has to come from the teachers, from staff, from the superintendent AND from you, as a board member. To me, September and the feeling of going back to school remains exciting. And I can’t wait to keep learning new things and set the example that learning never stops. With the help of MSBA, this old dog will be taught some new tricks.

And for those board members who want more? I’d suggest participating in one of MSBA’s in-service trainings. MSBA’s Director of Board Development Katie Klanderud will come right to your district and conduct these sessions in your board room. You can do a board self-evaluation or a session on developing mutual expectations, or learn the 16 tenets of an effective leadership team. Each in-service is tailored to a district’s unique needs and helps your board build strong leadership teams with clearly established roles and expectations. Want still more? You can sign up for MSBA’s new Before Your Board program. It consists of four 20-minute videos on a DVD that boards can use during their workshop sessions, with talking points for discussion after or during viewing. Look for it later this fall.

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The science of compliance New web-based, MSBA-sponsored program can help school districts meet ADA-related facilities access needs

Finnegan Roy-Nyline, 9th Grade

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School district officials, take note. Stricter compliance to the ADA is coming your way.

More than 20 years ago, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. In July 2010, President Barack Obama updated and issued some new regulations for the ADA. Those changes also bring renewed enforcement efforts for public entities – including school districts – to adhere to ADA laws.

Bruce Lombard

The Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) is partnering with Disability Access Consultants, Inc. (DAC) to form the new MSBA ADA Compliance Program in order to help school districts get their compliance “transition plans” in place.

“Even if school districts previously had a transition plan in place, the new standards weren’t in place for them to apply them to, and now they are,” said Tim Mahoney, a business development director for DAC and the president of the National Playground Compliance Program. “Title II facilities (i.e., public entities at the local and state level) need to have their updated transition plans – applied to the new standards – completed by the end of 2012.” 8

MSBA JOURNAL


The road to compliance The MSBA ADA Compliance Program’s objective is simple: to ensure schools’ transition plans are in place. A transition plan is a written plan that identifies any potential modifications that will be made. The plan should include timelines for completing these modifications “The ADA is not just blue signs or striping in the parking lot or grab bars in the bathroom . . . the whole intent of the ADA law is to allow inclusion and accommodate anybody with disabilities to get access to products, goods and services,” Mahoney said. “What the U.S. Department of Justice really wants is for school districts to have a plan in place that provides persons with disabilities access to the programs, services and activities offered by districts. . . . How are people going to gain access to them? It’s really about planning and understanding what your community needs are.” Mahoney said there are four basic steps school districts need to follow to attain ADA compliance. Step 1: Appoint a person responsible for overseeing and administering ADA compliance. “School districts must have someone in charge of their ADA compliance . . . they have to have an ADA coordinator,” he said. Step 2: Conduct a self-evaluation of programmatic services. “Obviously, school districts are in the business of educating the youth of their community . . . but schools also provide programs, services and activities to the rest of the community in the form of voting stations, after-hours education, etc.,” he said. “As you evaluate that, you’re saying ‘How am I going to provide access to the district’s programs, services and activities for someone with a disability?’ That’s your self-evaluation plan.” Step 3: Inspect your facilities for existing barriers for persons with disabilities. Step 4: Develop a transition plan in order to transition into ADA compliance over time for your facilities. “Those are the four steps to attain ADA compliance,” Mahoney said. “A lot of people think: ‘I am going to have to build ramps or put an elevator in.’ Not necessarily, it depends on the programs, services and activities you provide, and how you provide them.” He added: “Where most people get into trouble, because the ADA law has been out there for 20 years, is that they haven’t done anything. Ignorance is not a defense. Saying you ‘have no money’ is also not a defense.” Mahoney said the Department of Justice is accelerating their enforcement efforts on ADA compliance. “The first thing that they are going to ask school districts for is their transition plan,” he said. “‘What planning do you have in place?’ The whole idea of the MSBA ADA Compliance Program is for school districts to attain their ADA compliance by getting an up-to-date transition plan in place.” Mahoney said that if school districts don’t have a transition plan in place, it could cost them financially in court.

Julia Connly, 8th Grade

“All of a sudden the cost for that (transition) report will go up,” he said. “Getting your transition plan in place isn’t necessarily a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card, but it mitigates a lot of the legal issues should you not have one in place and shows the district’s due diligence toward ADA compliance,” he said. According to Mahoney, the cost of getting a transition plan in place from a proactive standpoint is much cheaper than if you had to do it last-minute because you could face fines in most cases. The Department of Justice is currently sending out teams to conduct quick audits. Mahoney said higher education and hospitality institutions are presently receiving the most attention.

DacTrak is the right track for schools The MSBA ADA Compliance Program will feature the Disability Access Consultants’ DACTrak licensed do-it-yourself web-based software and database program that allows school district officials – with some training – to conduct their own inspections in order to fulfill the federally mandated transition plan requirement. School districts can also opt to have DAC do the inspections for them. “What TurboTax is to income tax, DACTrak is to the ADA transition plan,” Mahoney said. “We’re not asking people to be ADA experts. We want them to be able to understand SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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how easy it is to get the inspections and transition plan done.”

The science of compliance

DACTrak also provides users with easy access to information and photographs about needed modifications at each facility. For instance, if your district’s door thresholds, bathrooms or signage are out of compliance, the DACTrak database helps users address this situation in the most costeffective manner. “We don’t want to just suggest where your problems are, we also want to give you the ability to show how you fix it, budget for it and document your compliance efforts,” Mahoney said. For example, if you needed to know how to go about widening doorframes for wheelchair access, DACTrak would tell you how to proceed and provide an estimated budget on the project’s cost. “Managing the transition plan over time with DACTrak is a whole lot easier than a paper-andpencil method,” Mahoney said. “With DACTrak you have a full web-based program: job costs, budgeting, etc. . . . having all those things in place makes it a lot easier. Using the software provides accurate data, too. Transition plans (on paper), as you can imagine, are very, very large reports – you’d have to inspect every door, threshold, signage . . . (the reports) can be literally hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of information – which are hard to manage and can easily get lost.”

YOUR ADVOCATE TO ENSURE PROJECT SUCCESS

Project Services Q Management Q Owner Representation QFacility Assessments (5 & 10 year plans) Q New Construction QAdditions & Remodels QMechanical Upgrades QEstimating QProject Consulting QHealth & Safety QEnergy Projects QContract Reviews

signing up The MSBA ADA Compliance Program will launch during fall 2011. School district officials interested in the MSBA ADA Compliance Program can contact MSBA Deputy Executive Director Tiffany Rodning at 800-324-4459 or trodning@mnmsba.org.

MANAGEMENT PLANNING CONSULTING NEGOTIATIONS

“We found that the school boards association was a natural place for this program to be launched from and educated from,” Mahoney said. Mahoney helped the California School Boards Association develop its own ADA compliance program late last year. “We can work with the school district on what the general pricing can be and what the needs are for their district,” he said. “In some cases it might make more sense for us to go out and do the inspection for the school district and give them the software, depending on the district’s size.” DAC has worked with hundreds of educational institutions – from pre-kindergarten to the university level – for 10 years. Bruce Lombard is the Associate Director of Communications for the Minnesota School Boards Association. You can reach him at blombard@mnmsba.org.

612.236.8665 www.metzmanagement.com Twin Cities Metro • Greater Minnesota

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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Passing a

Levy Renewal in Tough Times Dr. Bill Morris

“It was the best of times, It was the worst of times, It was the age of wisdom, It was the age of foolishness....” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

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First, the unemployment rate has stayed impressively high. Then, the debt ceiling debate dragged on far too long. Minnesota government shut down. Standard and Poor’s no longer rates the nation’s bonds highly. And, finally, the stock market behaves like a demented express elevator, unable to decide on direction. Is it any wonder that people are being cautious about their money these days? The bottom-line impact on referendum elections in 2011 is, the general support groups school districts rely upon are more fragmented. According to Decision Resources’ statewide surveys, 40 percent of Minnesota households are financially stressed – expenses are exceeding income, or income and expenses are about equal, with little or no savings. This is taking a toll, even on levy renewal elections requiring no property tax increase. For instance, parent household support is down from its 85 percent norm to a level of 70 percent. DFL support has dropped from an average of 82 percent down to 75 percent. On average, empty-nesters oppose renewal referendums by 20 to 25 percent, rather than the usual 10 to 15 percent. These across-the-board findings imply that opposition levels may be somewhat higher than usual in even straight levy renewal requests. Even so, specific referendum renewal requests among Decision Resources Ltd (DLR) clients are projected as passing easily, with one caveat: if turnout drops precipitously low, an upset could occur. The turnout, in most cases, would need to drop below 10 percent for this to happen. In its informational mailing to residents, school districts can set forth the consequences of the failure of the renewal, which would help in underscoring the importance of the election. And, since the referendum is usually the most important aspect of the off-year election ballot, even a modest get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort will insure against this outcome. Now, let’s discuss tactics and strategy for an off-year operating levy renewal request . . .


1. The renewal request should be placed as the first question on the ballot. This will allow voters to ease into a “yes” state of mind if other questions are on the ballot. If the request is both a renewal and a revoke-and-renew, place them in the same ballot question. Although the pernicious statement about raising taxes will be present, it is offset by the communications message that “the operating levies were approved by voters in the past.” 2. If the renewal request will also include a proposal for an inflationary increase, roll the two into one question. Asking for an inflationary increase as a separate question becomes a difficult communications message. At a time when many residents are not seeing inflationary increases in their own salaries or social security, the inflationary increase becomes a fairly easy target. But, when tied to an existing operating levy, the logical argument can be more easily made by discussing the diminishing purchasing power of the existing levy. 3. If an additional operating levy will be requested at the same time, place the new funding in a separate ballot question. The second question should be the focus of the campaign – keep it simple and specific. In most election situations, the passage of the new Ben Murphy, 9th Grade funding question will be the crux of any grassroots campaign effort. If voters “As with the last budget shift, there are no plans to repay decide to grant new levy authority to the school district, this shift.” Resonance with the first argument is they will already have decided to renew current funding. consistent with DRL survey findings that 65 percent are To further protect the renewal request, passage of the generally frustrated with the way Minnesota Government new funding question should be made contingent on meets challenges. Resonance with the second argument the passage of the renewal question. is consistent with the survey findings that 34 percent see 4. DRL surveys are showing an increased support level for the issue of education funding as only a revenue technology capital levies. This request would also need problem, while 21 percent see it as only a reform to be placed in a separate ballot question. Support problem, and 27 percent see it as both problems. hinges on two factors: rural areas are more supportive The prospects for operating levy renewal requests are than towns or cities; and, comparisons showing the generally good. Some slippage from previous support school district spending less than neighbors persuade benchmarks may occur this year. But, the slippage is a result many voters. While electronic toys may appeal to some, of forces well beyond the control of school districts. So, the voters react much more favorably to resulting program strategic imperative will be to maintain command over the and curriculum enhancements. factors that can be controlled: clear messages from the 5. One of the most important questions school districts will school district about the stakes in this election, grassroots need to answer is: “Why now?” In this economic climate, organization to persuade supportive voters to go to the polls, why are you coming to voters for funding? There are two and conducting a principled public dialogue to convince responses to this query that fit the general mood of undecided voters about the rightness of the request. frustration with State Government and effectively counterpunch charges of poor school district budgeting. Dr. Bill Morris is the president of Decision Resources, Ltd. First, “State Government has once again balanced the budget on the backs of public school students.” Second, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011 13


THE KLINE WAY MINNESOTA CONGRESSMAN ISN’T LETTING TIME CONSTRAIN HIS VISION FOR NCLB OVERHAUL

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Change is coming to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – better known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in its latest incarnation.

Bruce Lombard

The big question isn’t just what will change, but also when it will change. President Barack Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan are in agreement with Congress on the need to overhaul NCLB – but not everyone is in agreement on the timetable.

Obama and Duncan wanted the reauthorization completed before the start of the 2011–12 school year. However, the chair of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, said he doesn’t want to rush the reform process. “We aren’t going to have reauthorization done before the 2011–12 school year starts,” Kline said in a meeting back in June with MSBA representatives. Kline said his approach is to work on education legislation in small pieces. “How can we break up NCLB in a way that makes sense? By breaking it up into issues we want to address.” Kline said NCLB “has to be changed” and that there’s a bipartisan movement in Washington, D.C., toward getting rid of it. He said one of the big drivers to change the law is the universal dissatisfaction with the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) provision. Kline said the education community doesn’t like AYP for several reasons, including the “set asides” and the “draconian measures” that take place if schools fail to make AYP. He said that if his ESEA reauthorization gets

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Julia Brooks, 8th Grade

passed, “AYP goes away” . . . which would include eliminating current AYP-related sanctions.

Five easy pieces Kline has organized his reauthorization strategy into five primary parts. He wants to cut the number of federal education programs in half, expand access to charter schools, give school districts more flexibility with their education funding, increase the federal contribution toward special education, and redefine accountability. No. 1: Simplify and reset priorities by eliminating half of the federal education programs. The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891), which would eliminate more than 40 federal education programs, passed in Kline’s committee on a party-line 23–16 vote back on May 25. (Please see accompanying box on Page 17 for the list of programs on the chopping block.)


No. 2: Charter school bill Kline said that school choice should be a big part of education. That’s why he pushed through the Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218). This charter bill had bipartisan support in his committee, passing by a 31–5 vote on June 22. “Decisions about how to keep children learning and engaged in the classroom should largely be left to the parents, teachers, and school officials who are on the ground, interacting with children and the community on a daily basis,” Kline said following the vote. “(This) legislation will help get the federal government out of the way of local innovation and pave the way for a more challenging, rewarding classroom experience in communities nationwide.” First and foremost, the bill would give states incentives to support the development and expansion of charter schools. Furthermore, the bill would improve funding opportunities for the replication of successful charter school models and create an evaluation to measure charter school quality. No. 3: Funding flexibility On July 13, Kline’s committee passed the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act (H.R. 2445), which would provide states and school districts maximum flexibility in the use of education funds. Kline said the bill would allow school officials to move money among any of their funds in order for them to obtain maximum flexibility. The flexibility bill has received support from both the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA). In a letter to Kline, new MASA Executive Director Gary Amoroso wrote: “I believe that the concepts contained within the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act will help to level the playing field for low-income and minority students while providing educators the local control and flexibility that they need to provide support to the greatest number of students.” In a statement issued in mid-July, Kline said: “Particularly in this tough economy, schools need the freedom to target resources to the programs and initiatives that will have the greatest positive impact on student achievement. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act will remove restrictive funding streams, and allow states and school districts to rededicate funds received under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the EduJobs Fund to the programs that are most beneficial to their students.”

Haley Bennett, 8th Grade

No. 4: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Kline is a strong supporter of holding the federal government to its commitment to fund nearly half of special education. Back in 1975, IDEA’s precursor (the Education for All Handicapped Children Act) authorized Congress to cover 40 percent of special education funding nationally. Currently, Washington only covers approximately 17 percent or 18 percent of those costs. “The federal government should make good on its past promise to provide the 40 percent of the funding for special education,” Kline said. “IDEA funding is an ongoing battle and I plan to keep fighting for it.” According to a Minnesota Department of Education report, special education cross-subsidy costs are projected to be $631 million in FY 2012 and $647 million in FY 2013 for Minnesota public schools. Kline said funding priority special education should take center stage. Kline was critical of any of his committee colleagues seeking to start new education programs. For example, one committee member wanted to create a federally managed “green” school construction business. “Why start a new program when we aren’t meeting our commitment to special education?” Kline said. “Every school would be helped if we took care of special education.”

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No. 5: Redefining accountability

THE KLINE WAY

Accountability appears to be the trickiest subject for Kline to tackle. In his meeting with MSBA representatives, he had more questions than answers: “Accountable to whom? Accountable to the school boards? To the community? To the state? What will replace AYP? . . . Is accountability based on a single test or is it based on a growth model?” “For more than a decade, ‘accountability’ has meant reporting to, and taking direction from, the U.S. Secretary of Education,” Kline wrote in a June 13 statement. “But it has become clear that putting Washington in the role of the nation’s superintendent leads to overly prescriptive mandates and top-down regulations, stifling local innovation. . . . As we continue to redefine accountability and to reform the nation’s education system, one thing is certain: the federal government must stop micromanaging classrooms. Instead, states and local school districts must be provided the flexibility, resources and information necessary to innovate. Only then can we best prepare all children for success in school and in life.” Kline also added that he doesn’t object to common core standards, but doesn’t want the federal government imposing them because “standards are the state’s business.” The Obama administration’s proposed blueprint for reforming No Child Left Behind recognizes and rewards high-poverty schools and districts that show improvement based on progress and growth. States and districts would have to identify and intervene in schools that persistently fail to close gaps. For schools making more modest gains, states and districts would have more flexibility to determine improvement and support options. “Our proposal will offer schools and districts much more flexibility in addressing achievement gaps, but we will impose a much tighter 16

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definition of success,” Duncan told Education Week back in July. “Simply stated, if schools boost overall proficiency but leave one subgroup behind – that is not good enough. They need a plan that ensures that every child is being served.”

Meeting with MSBA This past June at his home office in Burnsville, Rep. Kline shared his vision for education with MSBA President Kent Thiesse (Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial); MSBA Board Directors Kathy Green (Austin), Betsy Scheurer (Hopkins), Roz Peterson (Lakeville Area), Elona Street-Stewart (St. Paul) and Deborah Pauly (Jordan); and the MSBA Governmental Relations team of Grace Keliher and Kirk Schneidawind. MSBA President Thiesse told Rep. Kline MSBA appreciated his efforts on NLCB, IDEA funding and other education issues. Kline said he’s been talking to superintendents and board members in Minnesota (and around the country) to receive their feedback, and that he was more than happy to meet with MSBA representatives in his home state. “Rep. John Kline was gracious in meeting with us as representatives of MSBA,” said MSBA Board Director Green. “As chairman of the House Education Committee, he is in a position to guide education

Photo courtesy of Rep. Kline staff MSBA Board members and staffers met with Rep. John Kline back in June to share their concerns and hear the congressman’s vision on federal education issues. From left to right: MSBA Board members Kathy Green (Austin), Elona Street-Stewart (St. Paul), Roz Peterson (Lakeville Area), Rep. Kline, MSBA Board member Deborah Pauly (Jordan), MSBA President Kent Thiesse and MSBA Board member Betsy Scheurer (Hopkins).


MORE THAN 40 FEDERAL PROGRAMS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK policy for our nation. It is significant that he values Minnesota school board member insights. The relationships we seek to foster with our national leaders will allow us a voice when critical decisions are being made and policy is being authored.” MSBA Board Director Pauly also liked what she heard during the meeting. “Despite the partisan climate of politics today, I was encouraged by Rep. Kline’s comment that both the Democrats and Republicans feel that NCLB needs to go away or at a minimum be majorly revamped,” Pauly said. “It was evident to me that Rep. Kline was very aware and sympathetic to the concerns laid out by MSBA. Rep. Kline shared that he does not want the federal government to mandate core standards but rather believes that should be decided at the state level. My hope is that legislators on both sides of the aisle will act quickly and in the best interest of children.” During that June meeting, Kline said that he expected his committee to start moving things forward through the House before their break in early August (the session resumes after Labor Day). They did just that by pushing through those first three aforementioned education reform bills. While all three bills were added to the House Union Calendar, the House had yet to take action on them.

The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act is building on work begun in the FY2011 budget agreement by permanently eliminating the following federal education programs:

• Star Schools • Early Reading First • Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, State Grants • Character Education • Early Childhood Educator Professional Development

Programs defunded in the FY2011 continuing resolution • Even Start Family Literacy Program • Enhancing Education Through Technology (Ed-Tech) • Striving Readers • National Writing Project • Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) • Improving Literacy Through School Libraries • Improve Mental Health of Children, Mental Health Integration in Schools • Improve Mental Health of Children, Foundations for Learning • Close Up Fellowship Program • Advanced Credentialing • Reading is Fundamental (RIF) • Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Whaling Partners • Women’s Educational Equity • Javits Gifted and Talented

Programs never funded • Healthy, High–Performance Schools • Combating Domestic Violence • Improving Language Instruction Educational Programs • Teacher Mobility • Additional Assistance for LEAs Impacted by Federal Property Acquisition

Kline’s Senate counterparts – in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – agree that reform is needed, but have done little work to address NCLB thus far during the current session. Kline cautioned that the inevitable education conference committee between the House and Senate education committees could result in writing a “completely new education bill.”

Programs consolidated or eliminated in President Obama’s FY 2012 budget • School Leadership • Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse • Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program • Teaching American History

Kline reaffirmed his vision to MSBA’s representatives. “You will see more flexibility, more local control and less federal intrusion from the U.S. House,” Kline said. “I want kids to have a better education, with less compliance for school districts.”

Programs not recently funded • Mentoring Program • Comprehensive School Reform • Ready to Teach Grant Program • Community Technology Centers • Bilingual and Emergency Immigrant Education Program

Programs duplicative or inappropriate for the federal government • Native Hawaiian Education • Alaska Native Education Equity • Foreign Language Assistance Program • Physical Education (The Carol M. White Physical Education Program) • Arts in Education Program • High School Graduation Initiative (Dropout Prevention) • Special Education Teacher Training • Ready to Learn Television • Excellence in Economic Education Please visit the following link for information about these programs, including how much they cost and the reasons why the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce wants them eliminated. http://edworkforce.house.gov/ UploadedFiles/SUMMARY__Setting_New_Priorities_in_ Education_Spending_Act.pdf

Bruce Lombard is the Associate Director of Communications for the Minnesota School Boards Association. You can reach him at blombard@mnmsba.org. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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WHY

Georgia Powell, 6th Grade

TRANSFORMATION IS THE ONLY PATH

E

Education does not simply need to be changed; it needs to be transformed. While new policies, curriculum updates, more training and increases in salaries for teachers, and better approaches to testing may all have a significant impact, they seem unlikely to produce the more fundamental shift that is needed. There are two key reasons why we must prepare not for incremental adjustments or restructuring, but for a deep-seated change in the form, appearance, and nature of our educational system.

David Houle

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The first reason is that “pouring new wine into old bottles” will only have so much impact. The teaching of new skills sets geared for the 21st century is essential – and should be embraced immediately – but if our institutions themselves are flawed, if we are as badly out of sync as we seem to be, how far can we really get by working within old paradigms? We have tried for decades now to introduce reforms into schools that recapture the glory days of education in the early industrial era, but these efforts have failed again and again to hit the mark. Indeed, they have often led to new problems and the need for yet more


reform. We need new paradigms and an entirely different way of looking at the role education plays in our society. The second reason we must prepare for transformation is that it is most likely unavoidable. The forces of change and the sheer speed and scale at which they are impacting us make it highly likely, if not inevitable, that our lives will change dramatically in the coming decades. These forces are coming at us like a truck barreling down the highway, and now that they are in motion, there is little chance that we can stop them. The question is not whether they will have a transformative impact, but whether we can take the wheel and direct them toward the best possible future. We can’t know what our destination will look like any more than the Wright brothers could have foreseen all the details of modern space travel, but we can begin to articulate a vision for how our education system must change in its form, appearance, and nature.

A Change in Form The form of school right now is a box: boxes on a calendar, box buildings, box classrooms. Boxes suggest borders, boundaries, and neatly defined spaces and ideas, but in a world where borders and boundaries are increasingly blurred, where ideas flow and change with a speed unmatched in history, boxes are not the form upon which our schools should be based physically, psychologically, or intellectually. Indeed, the extent to which schools should have a standardized form at all is perhaps one of the biggest questions with which we need to wrestle as we consider the future of our education system. The question is partly about buildings and physical architecture, but it is more about non-buildings and non-physical architecture. As we have the increasing freedom to access knowledge and educational resources through the Web, mobile phones, and other sophisticated communication devices, we have to question what is gained – and what is lost – by confining our children within four walls for pre-established periods of time to be fed content that fits within a predefined set of measurements.

over the long term, they can have a tremendous impact. Why would we expect that shipping our children off to drab, confined, linoleum-paved containment areas each day would result in the types of motivated, creative individuals we need to carry our society forward in this new century? A transformed school will not look like that brick building set apart from the society it is intended to serve. A transformed school will be an integrated part of the community and its students will be active participants in and contributors to the community. In short, a transformed school will look more like life.

A Change in Nature School right now is as much – or possibly more – about what to do with our children for most of the 16 to 18 years that they cannot well survive on their own as it is about truly preparing them and helping them to lead productive and fulfilling lives. So much of the language of school has more to do with conformance, standardization, and remediation than creativity, opportunity, or self-actualization The focus of schools needs to shift radically to the latter – but saying this just barely scratches the surface of what needs to happen. The nature of schools is deeply connected with the nature of all of our other major institutions, particularly work and government. A true transformation in the nature of schools can be achieved only if there is transformation in these other areas. At work, we already see signs of such a transformation. We have long since left the world of the secure, lifelong, 9-to-5 job. Most of us now work in the state of flux and insecurity that characterizes our new economy. This is the negative side of the equation, but the positive side is the high degree of flexibility and choice this new world of work can offer to those who embrace it.

A Change in Appearance

While unions and other organizations continue to fight for the rights workers enjoyed under the old economy, most of us have yet to claim our rights to the positive side of the new economy. Many of us do not need to be tied to a place anymore to do our work; most of us do not need to be tied to the same rigid schedules that have defined previous work. Everything about our current K–12 education system aligns to the fact that the vast majority of parents have to be in a particular place for a particular period of time each day in order to earn an income. And this constraint has become even more rigid as more and more households require two incomes to make ends meet. Both workers and businesses need to wake up to the new realities. As the possibilities for freeing work from time and place develop, however, so do the possibilities for school.

How a school looks may seem like a trivial detail in the grander vision of education, but we all know intuitively that our surroundings – how they look, how they feel, the moods and attitudes they support – have a great impact on our dayto-day lives. And a growing body of research suggests that

But this type of shift will not occur until governments wake up and begin to fully support it. A recent Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report argues that governments are too focused on supporting labor from an industry perspective. They are geared toward

The common perspective on computing these days is that it is moving into “the cloud” – a place where data and applications are no longer confined to a specific server box but are distributed across a far-flung network infrastructure. Whether “the cloud” is the right metaphor for education remains to be seen, but it is clear that we need to do much more than simply rearrange the chairs in our classrooms or knock down a few walls. We need to break out of the box entirely.

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WHY TRANSFORMATION IS THE ONLY PATH

supporting institutions like (for example) the auto or financial services industries, when – the report’s authors suggest – they should be focused on helping individuals pursue occupations. We would take this a step further, and say that government policies should be geared toward helping individuals develop capabilities that will be broadly applicable throughout their lives, no matter what their occupation or industry. True support from this perspective requires not simply a change in educational policies, but much deeper rethinking of how we design our cities, how broadband and wireless access should be managed, and what the social safety net really needs to be like for a society that is increasingly made up of de facto “free agents.” A transformed education system will be a deeply integrated part of our communities, and it will be a place where a lifelong process of capability development begins.

Signals from the Future While changes such as running more wires into schools and changing the elements of the curriculum may have a positive impact on our schools, they smack of playing “catch-up,” of simply trying to keep ourselves in the current global game. But if we expect to be prepared for a future we can hardly foresee, we cannot simply play catch-up. We must think differently. We must leap forward.

Anna Franklin, 6th Grade

A transformation of the magnitude suggested here will not come easily or without pain, but it will likely come faster than any of us imagine. In some cases, it will be necessary for us to make sweeping changes across the policies and practices that govern our current educational system. It will also be necessary to make a significant financial investment if we really hope to achieve our educational goals. David Houle is the author of “Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K–12 Education,” written with Jeff Cobb. Houle was the keynote speaker for the Minnesota Association of School Administrators’ Back to School Superintendent’s Conference.

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Taylor Baur, 8th Grade


l i sten. D ESI G N. del iver

Architecture Engineering Planning Interiors

Jennifer Anderson-Tuttle, LEED AP jtuttle@dlrgroup.com 612/977-3500 - dlrgroup.com

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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A

Martin Duda

A growing number of schools in Minnesota are in dire need of a major energy overhaul. Their heating and cooling systems are old and inefficient and in need of major repairs or replacement. The lighting and electrical systems are antiquated, and most school buildings could benefit from new energy management controls. Outdated systems mean that school districts, and ultimately taxpayers, are paying way too much for utilities, because school buildings are not energy efficient. While district leaders are likely anxious to make upgrades and achieve savings, it’s important that they ensure that the investments they make in energy efficiency improvements really do produce results.

Luke Wilkowski, 9th Grade

Providing Energy Savings Performance Contracting for schools – with proper oversight 22

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Believe it or not, a guaranteed energy savings program is in development in Minnesota. It is called Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC), and while the concept of ESPC has been around for about 30 years, the new program is designed to ensure that ESPC is done the right way, without loopholes or hidden costs to clients. This program will allow districts to make necessary improvements, put no money down, and pay for it all through energy savings gained over the next 10 to 15 years. Even in these times of cutbacks and tight budgets, districts could achieve those energy improvements – with no upfront costs to school districts. And if those projected energy savings didn’t materialize, the energy services company would pay the difference – guaranteed! “We know energy performance contracting has had some bad outcomes in the past, right here in Minnesota,” said Janet Streff,


manager of the State Energy Office in the Division of Energy Resources. “But our charge is to make sure we have good outcomes – build a best practice approach to ESPC, provide oversight of the program, and build credibility for the ESPC process.”

Governor orders Office of Guaranteed Energy Savings Program Indeed, on April 8 of this year, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton issued Executive Order 11-12 (http://mn.gov/governor/policy/executive-orders/), which says: “In state-owned buildings, state agencies shall adopt cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies through the following actions to achieve no less than an aggregate 20 percent reduction in energy use.” The order goes on to declare that the Commissioner of Commerce will convene a Minnesota chapter of the Energy Services Coalition, the national nonprofit organization committed to ESPC. Also, the commissioner “shall create and staff an Office of Guaranteed Energy Savings Program to offer a technical assistance program for state agencies, local units of government, and school districts that elect to implement energy-saving and renewable energy improvements through Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts. The intent of this program is to maximize job creation, energy and operational cost savings, and investment in state facility infrastructure.” The State Energy Office at the Minnesota Department of Commerce will facilitate ESPC in the state and is in the process of hiring someone to lead the Office of Guaranteed Energy Savings Program; the office will open this fall. A Minnesota chapter of the Energy Services Coalition has been established and has met several times. One objective of Minnesota’s Energy Services Coalition chapter is to bring the public and private sectors together to ensure that all who participate in ESPC are on the same page – using the same strategies and goals. “It’s incumbent on us to make this work and to make sure that the energy services companies (ESCOs) that deliver the services and the end users are all working with the same pre-approved standardized contracts and processes,” said Streff, who cochairs the Minnesota chapter with Mike Taylor, vice president of municipal energy and Clinton Climate Initiative projects at Honeywell. The national Energy Services Coalition (ESC), with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during the past three years, has developed best practices for ESPC. Dale Hahs, the executive director of the national ESC, says Minnesota is doing all the right things.

Keys to success “Many of the keys to success are already in the works in Minnesota,” said Hahs. “The support of the governor and the state legislature provide the framework for the state’s Division of Energy Resources to build the program that

What is Energy Savings Performance Contracting? Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) enables building owners to use future energy savings to pay for up-front costs of energy savings projects, eliminating the need to dip into capital budgets.

Here’s how it works: You enter into an agreement with a private energy services company (ESCO). The ESCO will identify and evaluate energy-saving opportunities and then recommend a package of improvements to be paid for through savings. The ESCO will guarantee that savings meet or exceed annual payments to cover all project costs – usually over a contract term of about 10 to 15 years. If savings don’t materialize, the ESCO pays the difference, not you! To ensure savings, the ESCO offers staff training and long-term maintenance services. Many types of building improvements can be funded through your existing budgets – new lighting technologies, boilers and chillers, energy management controls and swimming pool covers, to name a few.

A qualified ESCO can help you put the pieces together: • Identify and evaluate energy-saving opportunities • Develop engineering designs and specifications • Manage the project from design to installation • Arrange for financing • Train your staff and provide ongoing maintenance services • Guarantee that savings will cover all project costs For more on ESPC, visit the Energy Services Coalition website at www.energyservicescoalition.org. Minnesotans deserve. Their dedication to providing a program with prequalified providers, prereviewed standardized legal instruments and processes, and an individual focused on oversight and ensuring success for each participating end user are exactly the keys to program success that we’ve seen in other states.” Hahs, whose ESC is lending direction to the Minnesota effort through the continued support of the DOE Technical Assistance Program, said the state will take extra care to review the concerns from the past and ensure that the new program addresses them. “That is the best way to actually apply lessons learned and to make sure that ESPC is successful for all those who elect to use the program,” he said. “As a final key attribute of successful ESPC programs, the providers will be prequalified through a request for qualifications to help ensure that the end users are working with providers who know the rules of the program and follow them, or risk being excluded from the prequalified list.” SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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Taylor, who works for Honeywell, a global ESCO, says state oversight and the Minnesota coalition are in place to make ESPC safe, transparent and productive for any customer. He says there are several keys to success:

Providing Energy Savings Performance Contracting for schools – with proper oversight

• For every public market – schools (K–12), state buildings, and local buildings – there needs to be legislation to define the process and establish performance contracting as an approved and desired approach to energy-efficient projects. • Customers need to contract with a company they feel comfortable with and trust – one from the state prequalified list with a track record of experience and the resources to stand behind its work. • Industry standard contracts should define each project, with measurement and verification of energy savings based on current energy prices. Taylor said a program that ensures full disclosure and provides technical assistance to customers from start to finish during a project’s life will go a long way to enhancing the credibility of ESPC. The only real barrier to its success, he said, is lack of awareness that ESPC has tremendous potential.

The state recognizes that retrofitting or recommissioning public buildings offers a great opportunity to save energy and money. The Public Building Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program (PBEEEP, www.PBEEEP.org) is another program in the state’s arsenal to improve energy efficiency. “PBEEEP and energy performance contracting are all about containing operational costs, creating jobs, reducing emissions, and saving energy,” said Streff. “We encourage schools and public entities to explore all options in pursuing cost-effective energy efficiency building improvements.” For more information on ESPC and the state Office of Guaranteed Energy Savings Program, contact the Division of Energy Resources at 651-296-5175 or energy.info@state.mn.us. Marty Duda is an information specialist for the Minnesota Division of Energy Resources. To contact him about this article, you can e-mail him at martin.duda@state.mn.us.

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Take T ake an inter interactive active tour at rrenlearn.com/lp/18917 enlearn.com/lp/18917


Sustainability.

Rosa Parks Elementary School is Mankato Area Public Schools, ISD #77â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, newest facility. It is an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly school, designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Schools Gold certification. In association with Educational planning consultant Wold Architects & Engineers

ARCHITECTURE | ENGINEERING |

INTERIORS |

PLANNING

PAULSEN ARCHITECTS

www.paulsenarchitects.com 507.388.9811 Mankato, Minnesota

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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Going from

Above: Summer Seminar keynote speaker James Burgett offered tips on how districts can move from Doom to the Zoom of advancing student achievement. Below: Closing keynote speaker Robin Getman taught the six stages of personal power to lead from your soul.

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Below: Mahtomedi engineering coordinator Mary George showed how the school was able to link up with Century College to create a fabrication laboratory that students could use in science and engineering curriculum.


Summer Seminar 2011 Scrapbook

Above: Minnesota Department of Education Finance Director Tom Melcher gave a Summer Seminar audience a run-through of how the 2011 special Legislative session will impact schools. Below: Byron Public School math instructor Jeremy Baumbach talked about using iPads and electronic curriculum that changed how math instruction is developed and taught.

Below: Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius answered audience questions that ranged from state funding shifts to applying for a federal No Child Left Behind waiver.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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MSBA’s VENDOR DIRECTORY MSBA’s Vendor Directory helps connect school districts with the products and services they need. The directory is always at your fingertips. You’ll find it printed in the back of every Journal magazine as well as on the MSBA Web site at www.mnmsba.org. Most listings in the Web version of this directory include a link so you can head instantly to a Web site or e-mail address. The directory includes everything you need to know to contact a company quickly—phone numbers, fax numbers and addresses—in an easy-to-read format. If you have a service or product you would like included in this directory, please contact Sue Munsterman at 507-934-2450 or smunsterman@mnmsba.org. Actuary Hildi Incorporated (Jill Urdahl) 11800 Singletree Lane, Suite 305 Minneapolis, MN 55344 952-934--5554, Fax 952-934-3027 www.hildiinc.com jill.urdahl@hildiinc.com Appraisal/Capital Assets Hirons & Associates, Inc. (Mark T. Hessel) 225 E. Fairmount Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53217 414-906-1921, Fax 414-906-1932 www.hironsassociates.com mhessel@hironsassociates.com Architects/Engineers/Facility Planners Architects Rego + Youngquist inc. (Paul Youngquist) 7601 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 200 St. Louis Park, MN 55426 952-544-8941, Fax 952-544-0585 www.aryarch.com pyoungquist@aryarch.com ATS&R Planners/Architects/Engineers (Paul W. Erickson) 8501 Golden Valley Rd., Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55427 763-545-3731 Fax 763-525-3289 www.atsr.com perickson@atsr.com Cuningham Group Architecture, P.A. (Judith Hoskens) 201 Main Street SE, Suite 325 Minneapolis, MN 55414 612-817-8839, Fax 612-379-4400 www.cuningham.com jhoskens@cuningham.com DLR Group KKE (Jennifer Anderson-Tuttle) 520 Nicollet Mall, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-977-3500, Fax 612-977-3600 www.dlrgroup.com jtuttle@dlrgroup.com GLTArchitects (Evan Larson) 808 Courthouse Square St. Cloud, MN 56303 320-252-3740, Fax 320-255-0683 www.gltarchitects.com larsone@gltarchitects.com

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MSBA JOURNAL

Hallberg Engineering, Inc. (Rick Lucio) 1750 Commerce Court White Bear Lake, MN 55110 651-748-4386, Fax 651-748-9370 www.hallbergengineering.com rlucio@hallbergengineering.com ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866 www.ics-consult.com pato@ics-consult.com INSPEC, INC. (Fred King) 5801 Duluth St. Minneapolis, MN 55422 763-546-3434, Fax 763-546-8669 www.inspec.com fking@inspec.com Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd. (Edward J. Kodet, Jr.) 15 Groveland Terrace Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-377-2737, Fax 612-377-1331 www.kodet.com arch@kodet.com MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 www.nssi-usa.com tim@playgroundcompliance.com Paulsen Architects (Bryan Paulsen) 209 S. Second Street, Suite 201 Mankato, MN 56001 507-388-9811, Fax 507-388-1751 www.paulsenarchitects.com bryan@paulsenarchitects.com Perkins + Will (Steve Miller) 84 10th Street S., Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-851-5094, Fax 612-851-5001 www.perkinswill.com steve.miller@perkinswill.com TSP, Inc. (Rick Wessling) 18707 Old Excelsior Blvd. Minneapolis, MN 55345 952-474-3291, Fax 952-474-3928 www.teamtsp.com wesslingrg@teamtsp.com

Wold Architects and Engineers (Scott McQueen) 305 St. Peter Street St. Paul, MN 55102 651-227-7773, Fax 651-223-5646 www.woldae.com smcqueen@woldae.com Athletic Sports Floors/Surfacing Fisher Tracks, Inc. (Jordan Fisher) 1192 235th Street Boone, IA 50036 515-432-3191, Fax 515-432-3193 www.fishertracks.com jfisher@fishertracks.com MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 www.nssi-usa.com tim@playgroundcompliance.com Attorneys Kennedy & Graven Chartered (Neil Simmons) 200 South Sixth Street, Suite 470 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-337-9300, Fax 612-337-9310 www.kennedy-graven.com nsimmons@kennedy-graven.com Knutson, Flynn & Deans, P.A. (Thomas S. Deans) 1155 Centre Pointe Dr., Suite 10 Mendota Heights, MN 55120 651-222-2811, Fax 651-225-0600 www.kfdmn.com tdeans@kfdmn.com Pemberton, Sorlie, Rufer & Kershner, PLLP (Mike Rengel) 110 N. Mill Fergus Falls, MN 56537 218-736-5493, Fax 218-736-3950 www.pemlaw.com m.rengel@pemlaw.com Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. (Jay T. Squires) 730 2nd Ave. S., Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-339-0060, Fax 612-339-0038 www.ratwiklaw.com jts@ratwiklaw.com

Construction Mgmt & Consulting Bossardt Corporation (Greg Franzen) 8300 Norman Center Drive, Suite 770 Minneapolis, MN 55437 952-831-5408 or 800-290-0119 Fax 952-831-1268 www.bossardt.com gfranzen@bossardt.com ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866 www.ics-consult.com pato@ics-consult.com Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. (John Huenink) 8625 Rendova Street NE Circle Pines, MN 55014 763-792-3616, Fax 763-786-2650 www.krausanderson.com john.huenink@krausanderson.com Metz Construction Management, Inc. (Deb Metz) 20759 Eastway Road Richmond, MN 56368 612-236-8665 www.metzmanagement.com deb@metzmanagement.com MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 www.nssi-usa.com tim@playgroundcompliance.com Educational Programs/Services Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind (Linda Mitchell) 615 Olof Hanson Dr. Faribault, MN 55021 800-657-3996/507-384-6602 Fax 507-332-5528 www.msa.state.mn.us linda.mitchell@msa.state.mn.us Renaissance Learning 2911 Peach Street Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494 800-338-4204 www.renlearn.com answers@renlearn.com Energy Solutions Johnson Controls, Inc. (Brent Jones) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N., Suite T Plymouth, MN 55447 763-585-5039, Fax 763-566-2208 www.johnsoncontrols.com brent.t.jones@jci.com


Financial Management MSBA-Sponsored Administration and Compliance Service (A&C Service) Administration and Compliance Service (Paige McNeal, Educators Benefit Consultants, LLC) 888-507-6053/763-552-6053 Fax 763-552-6055 www.ebcsolutions.com paige@ebcsolutions.com MSBA-Sponsored Lease Purchase Program Tax Exempt Lease Purchase Program (Mary Webster, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC) 800-835-2265, ext. 73110 612-667-3110 Fax 612-316-3309 www.mnmsba.org mary.k.webster@wellsfargo.com MSBA-Sponsored MNTAAB (MN Tax and Aid Anticipation Borrowing Program) MNTAAB (DeeDee Kahring, Springsted, Inc.) 800-236-3033/651-223-3099 Fax 651-223-3002 www.springsted.com dkahring@springsted.com MSBA-Sponsored P-Card (Procurement Card) Program P-Card Program 800-891-7910/314-878-5000 Fax 314-878-5333 www.powercardpfm.com MSBA-Sponsored SchoolFinances.com SchoolFinances.com (Jim Sheehan, Ann Thomas) Sheehan: 952-435-0990 Thomas: 952-435-0955 www.schoolfinances.com jim@schoolfinances.com ann@schoolfinances.com PaySchools (Patrick Ricci) 6000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 281-545-1957, Fax: 515-243-4992 www.payschools.com pricci@payschools.com PFM Asset Management, LLC MSDLAF+ (Donn Hanson) 45 South 7th Street, Suite 2800 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-371-3720, Fax 612-338-7264 www.msdlaf.org hansond@pfm.com Floor Coverings Hiller Commercial Floors (Dave Bahr) 2909 S. Broadway Rochester, MN 55904 507-254-6858, Fax 507-288-8877 www.hillercarpet.com dbahr@hillercarpet.com

Food Service Products & Services Lunchtime Solutions, Inc. (Deni Ferlick) 717 N. Derby Lane North Sioux City, SD 57049 712-251-0427, Fax 605-235-0942 www.lunchtimesolutions.com deni@lunchtimesolutions.com

Sustainability Consulting Paulsen Architects (Bryan Paulsen) 209 S. Second Street, Suite 201 Mankato, MN 56001 507-388-9811, Fax 507-388-1751 www.paulsenarchitects.com bryan@paulsenarchitects.com

Insurance Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) (Denise Drill, Gary Lee, John Sylvester, Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor) 1900 West Jefferson Avenue St. Peter, MN 56082-3015 800-324-4459, Fax 507-931-1515 www.mnmsba.org www.msbait.org ddrill@mnmsba.org glee@mnmsba.org jsylvester@mnmsba.org ataylor@mnmsba.org

Technology PaySchools (Patrick Ricci) 6000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 281-545-1957, Fax 515-243-4992 www.payschools.com pricci@payschools.com

Playgrounds MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 www.nssi-usa.com tim@playgroundcompliance.com

Transportation American Bus Sales, LLC (Jason Lustig) 12802 N. 103rd East Avenue Collinsville, OK 74021 866-574-9970, Fax 918-274-9970 www.AmericanBusSales.net info@americanbussales.net

Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. (Jason Anderson) 116 East Oakwood Drive PO Box 249 Monticello, MN 55362 763-295-5119, Fax 763-295-4992 www.hoglundbus.com salesmanager@hoglundbus.com Minnesota School Bus Operators Association (Shelly Jonas) 10606 Hemlock Street NW Annandale, MN 55302 320-274-8313, Fax 320-274-8027 www.msboa.com shellyj@msboa.com North Central Bus & Equipment (Sandy Kiehm) 2629 Clearwater Road South St. Cloud, MN 56301 320-257-1209, Fax 320-252-3561 www.northcentralinc.com sandyk@northcentralinc.com Telin Transportation Group (Jamie Romfo) 14990 Industry Avenue Becker, MN 55308 866-287-7278, 763-262-3328 Fax 763-262-3332 www.telingroup.com jromfo@telingroup.com

eco-friendly riendly school fundraisers

Roofing Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. (Darrell Schaapveld) 1410 Quant Ave. N. Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047 651-433-2443, Fax 651-433-2834 www.fseer.com info@fseer.com School Supplies/Furniture CTB (Kevin Stachowski) 26327 Fallbrook Ave. Wyoming, MN 55092 651-462-3550, Fax 651-462-8806 www.ctbcorp.com office@ctbcorp.com Software Systems PaySchools (Patrick Ricci) 6000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 281-545-1957, Fax 515-243-4992 www.payschools.com pricci@payschools.com

Recycle Old Clothes othes & Shoes Raise school funds and spr Raise spread read en environmental vironmental aawareness wareness among your your students, stu udents, faculty faculty and ccommunity. ommunity. USA gain’s textile textile t rrecycling ecycling fundr aising USAgain’s fundraising pr ograms are are fr ee, easy and an nd green: green: programs free, We’ll W e’ll plac place e and service service a ccollection ollection bin Y ou’ll rreceive eceiv ve quar terly payment payment checks You’ll quarterly F ree and automatic au utomatic sig n-up for for USA gain’s Free sign-up USAgain’s prize big cash pr ize ccontests ontests Download free informational Do wnload ffr ee inf forma ormational and promotional from pr omotiona al materials materials fr om our website website

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ASK MSBA

Well, someone did. Basically, the district went through a one-year community engagement process to go over the reasons for the change and asked the public to develop criteria to EARNING IN OUT be used to draw boundaries. After that, every parent with a 3rd-, 4th- or 5th-grade student OF THE ONFERENCE was told that they could stay at their current As many board members know, setting an school under a grandfathering clause. But example of learning is important. It’s why any parent of a K–2 student moved to the the MSBA staff also looks for learning new school in the boundary change. opportunities to pass along from conferences Grandfathering three years took the steam and seminars. And what I take away from the out of parents who were upset that their conference is usually combined with a child would be forced to a new school after doubling of “take-aways” simply from three years at the current one. So did the networking and discussions outside of the fact that the district could point to the seminars. criteria that THE PARENTS put together in setting boundaries. A few parents of first and At the National School Public Relations second graders protested, but the outcry was Conference, they have “Table Topics” with a relatively small after the engagement process facilitator to lead 20-minute discussions, explained why the boundaries were along with a “Create Your Own Topic.” If you changing. Yes, this “grandfathering” turned want to hear some of the most “on-the-edge” an immediate change into a three-year thinking about education, and some ideas change. But most of the people involved said that might make people in your district that doing an immediate change resulted in nervous, here is where it’s all laid out on the three years of dysfunction with parents line. So I’ll share a few: running for the board to oust the If consolidation is such a good idea when superintendent, trying to stop the process school districts are too small to survive on with lawsuits, etc. In this case, a three-year their own, why not break apart really large grandfathering was preferable. districts when they become almost too big to How can we stay accountable but back off all be effective? of the incessant testing that takes away from In a roundtable with California public actual learning time? relations people used to having 15 high In talking around the table, a Texas schools, 30 middle schools and 76 representative gained support for an idea elementary schools, the question really hit that would still have testing for reading in home: When does a school district become third grade, but stagger the math test for too big to respond in a personal way to fourth grade and the writing test for fifth students, parents and the community? Some grade. And only those students who weren’t systems have so many assistant proficient in reading during third grade had superintendents and various programs in to take the reading test again in fourth different schools that getting through the grade, etc. Proficiency levels would be administrative layers to do any type of checked with the more popular NWEA tests change is almost impossible. Some suggested to make sure students were on track in years that if your district has more than three high that they didn’t take the state-required tests schools, you should look at dividing up the (such as our MCAs). On a three-year cycle, it district and trying to keep decisions as grassroots and close to the community as you limited testing to just ONE subject a year, would save money and would avoid huge can. Big districts run the risk of being chunks of time needed to do both math and regarded on the same plane as “the reading tests each year. Nice idea. We’ll see if Legislature” or “the Government” instead of there are any lawmakers willing to make it “MY School.” Others equated it to our happen here. business model in a faltering economy: Do you create a business that becomes too big to So at the next Leadership Conference or fail? And what if it does? Summer Seminar, I encourage everyone to keep learning inside and outside the If any district ever finds a way to do conference. Some of the best experts who can enrollment boundary changes without the help you may not always be in front of the entire community erupting into chaos, let me room. They may be sitting right next to you. know.

L

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AND

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By Greg Abbott MSBA Director of Communications

Some of the best experts who can help you may not always be in front of the room. They may be sitting right next to you.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

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NON-PROFIT ORGN. U.S. POSTAGE

PAID PERMIT NO. 47 MANKATO, MN 56001

1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082-3015 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

MSBA is here to serve YOU... ENDORSED DISTRICT FINANCIAL SERVICES ! Educators Benefit Consultants 403(b) Administration and Compliance Service (ACS) Reduce administrative and compliance burdens associated with 403(b)/457 plans. Contact Paige McNeal: 763-552-6053 or 888-507-6053; paige@ebcsolutions.com

! SchoolFinances.com Develop a five-year financial plan for your district by entering baseline data and assumptions. Contact Jim Sheehan: 952-435-0990; jim@schoolfinances.com Contact Ann Thomas: 952-435-0955; ann@schoolfinances.com

! Educators Benefit Consultants Section 125 Flex Plan Administration Annual discrimination testing and Guaranteed Plan Documents for flex plans make this plan “audit proof.” Contact Paige McNeal: 763-552-6053 or 888-507-6053; paige@ebcsolutions.com Minnesota School

Boards Association

1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082 800-324-4459; fax 507-931-1515; www.mnmsba.org

MSBA’s mission is to support, promote, and enhance the work of public school boards and public education.


2011 Sept.-Oct. Journal Magazine