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Operator Volume 42 Issue 4 • April 2012

2012 MSBOA Summer Conference: June 10-12, 2012 By Shari Danzeisen Plans for the 2012 MSBOA Summer Conference are well underway. We will be at a new location this summer: Chase on the Lake in Walker, Minnesota - right on the shore of Leech Lake. Chase on the Lake is an equisite facility. The Chase has a very rich, interesting history...and the resort (though not the original building) has been in existence since 1898. You can read the history of the resort on their website: www.chaseonthelake.com Besides having a new location for our conference we have some truly spectacular speakers lined up for the event! Ross Bernstein, author and reknown speaker will present “The Champion’s Code: Life Lessons of Values and Integrity from the Sports World to the Business World.” A big thank you to SFM Mutual and Wells Fargo Insurance sponsoring this speaker it should be a great event and we wouldn’t have been able to have Mr. Bernstein without their sponsorship! Tom Revnew, from Seaton, Peters, and Revnew, will be presenting “Hot topics in Transportation”. This presentation will help contractors deal with difficult employees, an aging workforce, and Federal Law updates. The resource officers from the MN Department of Public Safety will also be on hand to provide any new updates to our members on current or upcoming changes to state statute. We will also be featuring Dennis Mannering for a presentation entitled “Attitudes are Contagious, Are Yours Worth Catching?” Attitudes affect everything in our lives - our personal lives and our businesses. Learn how to put quality into your life both at work and in personal relationships. You have been asking....we deliver!!! “Sh-Boom” will be returning to play at our summer conference this year. For those of you who are not familiar with “Sh-Boom” it is a popular 50-60’s cover band of which our own MSBOA Board member, Rudy Lundahl is a member! They will be entertaining our group on Sunday night, and it will definitely be a good time! The MSBOA will be having a golf tournament and a silent auction as we have in past years. If you are interested in donating an item for the silent auction, please bring it with to the conference or send it to the MSBOA Office at 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302. We used the proceeds last year to fund our PAC, “Friends of the MSBOA”, which benefits all members in helping members of legislature get to know our issues. We have also used the funds for the MSBOA Safety Fund in the past which is used to fund safety projects like the “Stop and Stay Stopped” billboard campaign. On Monday night, we will be having our annual President’s Banquet with social hour sponsored by Wells Fargo and Dave Bakken. We will be honoring the 2012 Transportation Specialist Award Winners, along with this year’s Jim DeVeau Award recipient and the Lifetime Achievement Award winner. We will wrap up the evening by having our MSBOA Safety Raffle. Please take a look at the enclosed agenda. Registration is easy. Go to: http://goo.gl/nSZRM

Relax, Refresh, Reconnect & Recharge! Register Today!!! JOE BEATON SCHOLARSHIP & TRANSPORTATION SPECIALIST AWARD APPLICATIONS INSIDE


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From the President

The Operator MISSION STAT E ME NT:

Doug Grisim Lake City Bus Lines, Lake City, MN Greetings from Lake City! This spring is definitely going down in the record book. The topic of the weather seems to be what we all are talking about. I have found that this spring has everyone in an uplifting mood and rightfully so! I guess now we know what it feels like to live in the south. My thoughts lately have been about “Active Participation” How do we get more people to come together with open minds to accomplish a variety of tasks. I found a website called the “Balanced Life Center”. Let’s face it… Having a truly balanced life would be an accomplishment for most of us. The following is an excerpt from that site and does not necessarily mean I agree with it all, but I did find it interesting and felt it would be appropriate to share with you. It’s called “The 5 benefits of Active Participation”. 1. Fulfill your inner desire to connect When you actively participate in a community, whether online or offline, you experience your connection to other human beings. You share your ideas, bond with others who have similar interest, and get a sense that you are supported and accepted. Connecting with others deepens your sense of connection to Spirit. Actively participating is a way to practice expressing your true Self and recognizing that Self in someone else. 2. Build truer, deeper relationships Every time I hear the word “network” I cringe. It just sounds disingenuous. When you show up to an event, are you there to “work the room,” or are you there to build relationships, or, gasp…make friends? As an active participant in an ongoing group, or even a one-time event, you give people the opportunity to sincerely interact with you. They get to know you and realize that you’re not just there for the contacts. It helps you to build trust. And trust leads to deeper, truer relationships and friendships. Best of all, it takes the angst out of “networking” and it’s fun!

THE PURPOSE OF THE OPERATOR IS TO PROVIDE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE MINNESOTA SCHOOL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION WITH INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENT INDUSTRY ISSUES. THE OPERATOR IS PUBLISHED 11 TIMES A YEAR BY THE MSBOA, 10606 HEMLOCK ST. NW • ANNANDALE, MN 55302. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 320-274-8313. E-Mail msboa@lkdllink.net or FAX: 320-274-8027. Website: www.msboa.com SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE FREE WITH MEMBERSHIP. ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE $24.00 A YEAR. COPYRIGHT 2012. MEMBERS MAY MAKE PHOTOCOPIES OR USE ARTICLES AS NECESSARY PROVIDING THE SOURCE IS CITED. CO-EDITORS: SHARI DANZEISEN & SHELLY JONAS LAYOUT & DESIGN: SHARI DANZEISEN VIEWS PRESENTED IN THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP OR ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Continued on Page 5.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT DOUG GRISIM

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT GAYLEN LENZ

JOHN BENJAMIN, NORTHFIELD

STEVEN JANNINGS, ALBERT LEA

ROGER MILLNER, ANNANDALE

507.645.5720/FAX 645.5635 jbenjamin@northfieldlines.com

507.373.1467/FAX 373.2714 albc@charterinternet.com

320.274.8313 / FAX 274.8027 mmbus@lkdllink.net

BRIAN KOCH, WACONIA

CHARLES PETERSON, JR., ANDOVER

952.442.3370/FAX 442.2665 brian@kochbus.com

763.450.5385 / FAX 755.7622 cmp50bus@aol.com

JIM KOONST, BELLE PLAINE

JIM SCHIFFLER, MINNEAPOLIS

952.873.2362 / FAX 952.873.6499 stierbus@frontiernet.net

320.266.1312 / FAX 251.6547 jims@sunburstmemorials.com

MIKE CLARK, FERGUS FALLS 218.739.3393/FAX 739-5564 otmdc@prtel.com

CONNIE GRISIM, STEWARTVILLE 507.533.8775/FAX 533.8775 grisimbus@aol.com

SECOND VICE PRESIDENT

DOUG GRISIM, LAKE CITY

JIM KOONST

651.345.4112/FAX 345.2118 dgrisim@embarqmail.ccom

TREASURER ROGER MILLNER

EX-OFFICIO

GAYLEN LENZ, LAKE CRYSTAL 507.726.2832/FAX 642.3697 topbus65@hotmail.com

TOM HEY, MARSHALL 507.532.4043 / FAX 532.9398 thomashey@iw.net

TOM HEY

KEN INSELMANN, WILLMAR 320.235.2110/FAX 235.1301 keni@willmarbus.com

RUDY LUNDAHL, DULUTH 218.724.1707 / FAX 724.2432 rudyl@voyageurbus.com

JOSH SCHIFFLER, CROSBY 218.546.6156 / FAX 546.2886 jschiffler@crosbyironton.net

LINNEA WEIDA, LITCHFIELD 320.693.3292/FAX 693.8180 linnea@hicksbusandtruck.com


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Legislative Update By Tom Keliher, Keliher Government Affairs Consulting, LLC. Phone (612) 723-5168 • Email: thomas@keliher-mn.com There are three basic rumors at the State Capitol at this time in late March. First, are the Vikings going to get their stadium? Not likely at this point, the Vikings lobbying efforts have failed to excite the Legislature. Second, will the Racino supporters gain Legislative approval for slot machines at the State’s two race tracks? Seems very unlikely at this point in time, the education community does not want to support it for education funding. And third, when will the 2012 Legislation Session end? The latest hot rumor is that Session will end on April 5th, more than eight weeks early. The State Legislature has not adjourned early since 1998. With the State Budget basically sound for the next 12 months, and the continuation of current tax law, there is really not a need for the House, the Senate, and the Governor to come to an agreement on major issues. Tensions are high between the GOP and DFL, and the redistricting of the State’s Legislative Map has caused many members of the Legislature to want to go home to start campaigning. So far issues supported by MSBOA are progressing and are in good shape to pass the Legislature and by signed by the Governor. The State House has passed HF 392 as a Conference Committee Report. The Report contains both the new crossing arm standard for new buses and the 2010 National Safety Standards for school busses. MSBOA has worked hard, and in conjunction with the State Patrol, to pass both these issues into law. The Conference Committee Report is likely to be signed by the Governor next week. In the House Transportation Policy Bill, HF 2685 is an item of interest to MSBOA. We have been working to have the same Federal requirements for drug and alcohol testing for Type III vehicles that applies to A, B, C, and D buses. The language would super cede State Law and would have all vehicles under the same drug and alcohol standard. Two issues not included in the House Transportation Policy Bill, HF 2685 surround a prohibition on the use of cameras for disciplinary action against drivers and changing State Law to allow the State Patrol to possibly change the bus inspection system from a point system to a pass/fail system. The camera issue was really meant for Transit drivers, and was being promoted as by the Amalgamated Transit Workers, MSBOA worked with the State Patrol to ensure that this provision not be included in the Bill. MSBOA has also been working to restore two of the transportation cost allocation reporting options when school bus contractors report to school districts who in turn report to the Department of Education. Last year, the Legislature changed the reporting options removing the cost-per-hour and cost-per-route reporting methodology. After speaking with a wide range of education groups and the Department, it seems for now that our efforts may have these options restored and included in an Education Policy Bill. We had a hearing in the State House and all signs are positive. All education bills are held over for possible inclusion in the Policy Bill. There was a House Hearing on HF 2838 a Bill to create a supplemental pupil transportation grant for the Bemidji School District. The testimony stated that Bemidji’s transportation distances are great and they have special needs. The appropriation is for $250K and may or may not be funded, too early to tell. HF 2837, which may go nowhere, was recently introduced to direct the commissioner of transportation to utilize a consultant to study pupil transportation efficiencies. This would include the study of joint purchases, biding, merging and combining service delivery in order to achieve savings and better service. This proposal is part of a larger effort to reform state government. This particular proposal seems to not be moving this year. For those of you interested in the Right to Work Constitutional Amendment, the issue seems to be stalled a few votes short in the House and Senate. This proposal would place before the voters the right of employees to not join a union and pay dues. At this point, it seems that the necessary votes to place this before the voters may not materialize. Whether or the Legislative Session ends early or goes to the Constitutional deadline of May 21st, we will keep working on MSBOA issues. Stay tuned for further updates as time passes and issues progress through the process. If anyone has questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at thomas@keliher-mn.com and I will happy to respond to you.


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Safety and Compliance Outreach Sessions Reach Capacity The Safety and Compliance Outreach meetings have proven to be a huge success thus far. On March 14, the MSBOA, Driver & Vehicle Services and the MN State Patrol spoke to about 80 contractors and school district personnel at the National Guard Training Center in Mankato. Topics covered ranged from Driver Qualification Files, Towing Trailers and Post-Crash Drug and Alcohol Testing and the new self-certification requirements for CDL Drivers. There was a short question and answer period as well, where the attendees were able to ask questions. One question that came up was the post-crash inspections and when to notify the State Patrol. Because of the overwhelming numbers registering for the Central location on April 4th, the location changed from the Apollo High School to the St. Cloud Public Library. All those registered were notified by email. Currently there are over 100 registered for the St. Cloud location. Surveys are going out to the attendees requesting feedback. Thus far, 100% of the Mankato attendees stated that they would attend a similar session again. A big thanks to Albert Lea Bus Service for supplying coffee and donuts for the attendees.

Pre-Trip Inspection DVD Looking for new training ideas for your current drivers? Looking to update some of your old training materials for new drivers? Look NO FURTHER!!! In 2008, MSBOA partnered with MAPT to create “Inspecting Your School Bus” DVD in HD. Copies are available for immediate shipment. Please find the order form inserted into this issue of The Operator. Proceeds from this video go to fund new safety projects for MSBOA.

MAKES Great Driver Gifts!!! Don’t miss out! The recently published MSBOA Family Cookbooks are still available for $22.00. This is an exciting compilation of approximately 150 recipes from bus drivers and contractors from Minnesota. Many members have purchased these fun items for driver of the month awards, gifts, etc. Members purchased the books for their drivers for Christmas last year and reported to our office that they were very well received! All proceeds from the cookbook go to the MSBOA Safety Fund. To order your copy, please see the order form included in this issue of The Operator.


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From the President...

Continued from Page 2.

3. Establish yourself as an expert Let’s say you’re a tax attorney and you belong to a running club. Your club meets on Saturday mornings to run for an hour 3 times a month and has a business meeting on the other Saturday. Guess which one of these scenarios helps establish you as an expert. A) You don’t bother to go to the business meeting because you’re in the club to run. B) You show up to the meeting and talk to the guy next to you about the tax season the whole time while he’s trying to pay attention to upcoming events. C) You talk to the guy next to you about running and such and he asks you at the end what you do. You volunteer the information and offer to give him a free consultation. D) You’re the refreshments co-ordinator for the club. This basically means that you bring the bagels and coffee for the business meeting. You get there early, set up the refreshments, and hang around to tell people what type of bagels are there and find out how their running practice is coming. During the course of these conversations the topic of tax season comes up. Someone starts talking about some money they won in the lottery and wonders out loud if they have to claim it. Another member of the club says, “Bill’s a tax attorney. What do you think Bill?” You answer with confidence. Yay, it’s D! Active participation means that you are in the conversation. If the opportunity presents itself to share professional information, you are in the loop already. You’ll get the call when someone needs a business attorney or gets an audit. 4. Take ownership In church one Sunday, the minister asked if anyone felt disconnected since moving to a new space and seeing about 100 new faces. A few people had the courage to raise their hands. Almost immediately he said, “Sign up to volunteer.” Participating in a group in the surest way to gain ownership. You become a stakeholder, your voice is heard. Better than that, you are in a position to do something to make the changes you want to see. You own a piece of the pie. 5. Get free leadership training Active participants in communities emerge as leaders whether it be appointed, elected, or informal. You don’t have to wait for that management trainee class at work to acquire your leadership skills, and you won’t have to wait for the management position to be baptized by fire. Once you emerge as a leader in one of your “life” groups, you receive free training. Whether it’s the online community of personal development bloggers, your Mommy and me group, or the swim team, your experience in communication, dealing with different personalities, building buyin, or organizing events, will translate into solid leadership skills when you are called upon to lead professionally. Let’s all take something from here and use it next time you see an opportunity for Active Participation. I encourage all of us to make your reservations early for the upcoming Summer Conference at Chase on the Lake in June. I did! Travel Safe!! Doug


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Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers Conference - A Great Experience! By Ann Casey, Owner/Operator Adam Services, Inc. & St. Louis Park Transportation

The 21st National Convention & Exhibition on “Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers” and the “Special Needs Safety Roadeo” were held in Orlando, Florida from March 9-14, 2012. Transportation professionals from 38 states, including 17 participants from Minnesota attended the convention. The majority of attendees came from State Departments of Education and Public School Districts. Very few private bus contractors attended the convention. By a show of hands, there were fewer than ten contractors in the audience out of almost 300 participants. As far as I know, Tasha Schiffler, from Crosby-Ironton Transportation and I were the only two private contractors from Minnesota. The Edupro Group supplied great training and excellent speakers for the conference. Session topics included Student Safety Training Programs, Partnering for Success for Contractors and School Districts, Transporter’s Input to an IEP, Evacuation Training, Q-Straint and Besi Securement Training. Peggy Burns, president of Education Compliance Group and friend of the MSBOA, offered a workshop entitled “Executive Briefing” which covered legal and HR challenges for owners and operators transporting special needs students. Caryn Erickson, Adam Services Safety Director, graduated from the restraint training program and with 32 more hours of training, Caryn will be a nationally certified trainer in the safe transportation of special needs students. Having a nationally certified member of our in-house team is an invaluable service we can offer to our district clientele. Each year the number of Special Needs Students requesting transportation increases, and the importance placed on the safe transport of these students has become critical. School districts throughout the nation are demanding that drivers and aides for special needs students be more highly trained and tested than ever before. More and more, school districts are requesting additional services such as trained securement personnel, bus cameras and GPS systems. Bus aides with national background checks and pre-employment drug screens are being outlined on bid specs everywhere. Contractors must be prepared to meet these new standards. Not only was the national certification important to our business and the workshop information useful, but the networking opportunities were also a big part of the success of the trip. The Minnesotans in attendance were impressed that Adam Services, Inc. was the only metro area contractor at the convention. If you are transporting special needs students, I highly encourage you to participate in this national conference. Next year’s conference will be managed by School Transportation News. Experience, expertise and keeping ourselves on the forefront of innovation are all crucial to making private bus contractors the best choice for today’s transportation needs. Feel free to contact me directly at 952-797-4936. Safe Travels, Ann Casey, Owner/Operator Adam Services, Inc and St. Louis Park Transportation


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News and Views A CONTINUING SERIES OF BOARD COMMENTARIES

A Tribute to the Bus Driver By Tom Hey, Southwest Coaches, Inc. Marshall, MN

One thing I have learned over the years is to expect the unexpected. Returning from church one Sunday morning, I glanced at my phone to see 5 missed calls. Finding this unusual, I checked the log to see I had one from a friend who is also a police officer and four from my brother Jim. Returning a call to Jim, I learned our 61year driver had passed away in the night. Wow what a shock!! This guy was more than a driver - he was a driver and our driver trainer and for the last 15 years had played a very vital role in our operation. As his death was a huge shock to our operation the rest of the story was equally shocking. After the initial disbelief, it came time to deal with the facts. My first call was to our transportation director to ask for some advice. He suggested I contact the building administrator, so I did. A plan was put into place that we were going to bring the students from bus 2061 into the gym at 1:30 on Monday afternoon and tell them of the news of Steve’s death. I was blown away by the reaction by the students. Many were in tears and visibly upset. Taking into account these were 3rd and 4th graders sitting with their peers; I was amazed how big of an impact he had and how emotionally attached the kids were to him. I was also amazed by the outpouring from his former students, parents and school personnel. One of the comments by a parent was “ Steve made a wonderful caring, loving impression on many. What a gift. I hope his family is aware”. Where I am trying to go with all of this is I believe too often we forget that busing and education is really about the kids. Our job, commitment and responsibility we have with our students is so much more than just driving the bus. We play a key role in shaping the lives of the students we are entrusted. The part we play is so vital. Sometimes we need to slow down and reflect and see life and our drivers for what it really is and just how important each and every one of us is. How we conduct our “jobs” do affect the lives of our students. As owner/managers I would remind you how the roles our drivers play and how much more important the “jobs” they perform are than just driving a vehicle. We all have a Steve that works for us and that makes our places special. Steve will be missed in our operation, but more importantly his kids will miss him.

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8 Special Education Acronyms Excerpts from The Pennsylvania School Bus Report The realm of Special Education often seems to have its own distinctive language. It is full of abbreviations and shorthand that can be overwhelming for special needs transportation providers. If we, as transportation providers, want to be able to be on the same page as everyone on the education team, we need to have an understanding of the acronyms involved. Below are some of the most commonly used: ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Range of behavioral disorders in children characterized by symptoms that include poor concentration, an inability to focus on tasks, difficulty paying attention and impulsivity.

AT

Assistive Technology

Electronic, mechanical, or motorized adaptations to facilitate learning or communication

ED or EBD

Emotional Disturbance or Emotional Behavior Disturbance

ESY

Extended School Year

Type of disability with normal IQ but low tolerance to authority, poor social relationships, and difficult behaviors. Term used to define days/weeks added to a traditional public school calendar in order to provide extra opportunities for children to receive designated services.

IDEA IEP

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Individualized Education Program

Federal law covering all aspects of special education. Year long plan for each special education student.

LS

Learning Support

LSS

Life Skills Support

LD

Learning Disability

HI

Hearing Impairment

VI

Visual Impairment

ES

Emotional Support

TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury

OHI

Other Health Impairment

Type of classroom with emphasis on academic skills. Type of classroom with emphasis on functional daily living skills. Type of disability with normal IQ but low performance and achievement. An impairment in hearing that adversely affects a child’s educational performance This includes blindness. An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. A classroom with emphasis on dealing with behaviors and emotional issues. An injury to the brain caused by an external physical force. Impairments may include: cognition, language, memory, attention, judgement, and speech. Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, asthma, and attention deficit disorder that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

ID

Intellectual Disorder

Type of disability with low IQ and low performance across all areas of education. Used to be referred to Mental Retardation or MR.

ER

Evaluation Report

Written results of assessments, observations, interviews, etc., that concludes that a child does or does not qualify for special education (has a disability and needs specially designed instruction).


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Legal Notes

BY THOMAS REVNEW, ESQ., OF SEATON, PETERS & REVNEW

HOTLINE PHONE: (952) 921-4622 Federal Court Upholds Portion of NLRB Posting Rule On March 2, 2012, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled that although the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has the authority to require employers to hang a poster notifying employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), it did not have the authority to assess the penalties enumerated in the rule for an employer’s failure to comply. In National Association of Manufacturers v. NLRB, No. 11-1629 (D.D.C. Mar. 2, 2012), Judge Amy Berman Jackson held that the rule’s automatic penalties for failing to comply with the posting requirement - an unfair labor practice and an extension of the amount of time for the filing of such a charge - exceeded the NLRB’s authority. In December 2010, the NLRB issued a proposed rule requiring most private sector employers to hang a poster notifying employees of their rights under the NLRA. The rule was to become effective in November 2011 but was delayed twice and is now scheduled to go into effect on April 30, 2012. The rule included two provisions that would have been used to enforce the hanging of the poster. First, the rule provided that any employer who failed to hang the poster was guilty of an unfair labor practice. Secondly, the rule provided that if an employer failed to post the poster, the typical six month statute of limitations for filing an unfair labor practice complaint against that employer could be extended indefinitely. Judge Jackson, an appointee of President Obama, held that Section 6 of the NLRA provides the NLRB with the authority to engage in such rulemaking. She pointed to the broad language authorizing the Board to issue “necessary” regulations and held that, “[t]he Board is not attempting to regulate entities or individuals other than those that Congress expressly authorized it to regulate, and it is not extending its reach to cover activities that do not fall within the ambit of the Act.” Nevertheless, Judge Jackson found that the Board exceeded its authority by issuing a rule with penalty provisions inconsistent with the NLRA. In particular, the court held that simply failing to display the new NLRB poster cannot automatically trigger a finding of an unfair labor practice. The NLRA is clear that an employer must actually impede or hamper an employee’s exercise of the rights guaranteed by the Act to be guilty of an unfair labor practice. Where an employer’s failure to post the notice is intended to or actually does impede or hamper an employee’s exercise of his or her rights, Judge Jackson found the Board can find an unfair labor practice, but such a conclusion can only be reached by examining the specific facts of each individual case. Similarly, the court also found that the NLRB’s rule extending the amount of time for the filing of an unfair labor practice charge in cases where employers fail to hang the poster violates the clear statute of limitations set out in the NLRA. The Act provides a six month statute of limitations and Judge Jackson noted that “Congress plainly mandated a short time period during which an aggrieved person must file a charge.” Although the Board has the authority to extend the time limit in appropriate situations, this must be done on a case-by-case basis. The rule’s automatic extension would circumvent Congress’s intent and, as such, is invalid as a matter of law. As a result of this ruling, beginning on April 30, 2012. most private sector employers will still be required to hang the NLRB poster containing pro-union messaging in their workplaces. Although failure to hang the poster cannot automatically result in an unfair labor practice charge after this decision, employers who choose not to comply open themselves up to an unfavorable Board ruling if an unfair labor practice charge is filed. Such a failure to post could be used as evidence of employer interference with an employee’s NLRA rights. The poster can be downloaded and printed from the NLRB’s website (www.nlrb.gov). Finally, employers may post a properly drafted notice to employees which sets forth the employer’s philosophy on unionization and all of the employee’s rights under the NLRA, including the right to refrain from union activity.

Best Values: • Legal Hotline for MSBOA Members • Employee Handbook & Employment Materials Package $875 (Includes 2 hours of attorney time - hourly rates thereafter)

• Drug & Alcohol Testing Package $425 Ask for MSBOA Discount of $100 off above packages Contact Tom Revnew 7300 Metro Blvd., Suite 500 • Minneapolis, MN 55439 Tel 952.896.1700 • Fax 952.896.1704 www.seatonlaw.com


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Driver Distraction Still an Issue

Shelly Jonas

Lt. Brian Reu, the new director of the Office of Pupil Transportation Safety reported at this month’s Transportation Issues meeting that they have been receiving many calls from parents that their school bus driver is unbuckled or using his or her cell phone during the bus route. If your drivers do not think talking on a cell phone and driving are a big deal, consider these statistics: According the Distraction.gov website, researchers have found that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. All school bus companies should have a company policy prohibiting cell phone use while their vehicle is in motion. You can find a good sample policy here: http://www.distraction.gov/download/employers/Sample_Employer_Policy.doc The best advice for drivers who may be tempted by their cell phones are to turn them off and leave them off. They should notify their family, friends and business associations that they are not to call them during their appointed route times. They are not just driving around, they are responsible for the most important thing in the world - our next generation. If drivers need to make an emergency call, make sure that they pull over in a safe area. Never make calls during a student stop; this requires their complete and full attention! Drivers should also be aware that other situations that may arise during their route are distractions. Dealing with student discipline is a distraction. Reading a note from a parent = Distraction. Reading from the route sheet = distraction. Listening to a story from a kindergarten student about his or her dog and all of their extended family members = distraction. Talk about these scenarios and how your driver should deal with them. Remind your drivers that texting is absolutely illegal and will not be permitted. Same with wearing your seat belt. The students are watching us. Let’s be a good example!

Joe Beaton Scholarship Applications Due April 15, 2012!

The Joe Beaton MSBOA Scholarship was established in 2001 to honor Joe Beaton, the MSBOA’s former attorney and lobbyist. Beaton was a passionate supporter of education, as well as the Humane Society and various other causes. Children or grandchildren of school bus drivers, mechanics, contractors or drivers themselves may apply. Unlike other scholarships, this is not restricted to high school seniors. The Scholarship is open to anyone who is interested in furthering their education. The application is enclosed in the newsletter and is due on April 15, 2012. Applications should be mailed to 10606 Hemlock St. NW, Annandale MN 55302.


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Issues at the DVS

Shelly Jonas

Beginning January 30th, there was a licensing change for all CDL Drivers in Minnesota. CDL drivers are now required to self-certify when they apply or renew their commercial driver’s license. The self certification requires the license holder to declare whether or not they are required to have a medical certificate. For school bus drivers, obviously the answer is yes. The other self certification aspect is that the driver declares whether or not they can drive a commercial vehicle out of state. Some drivers may have a medical waiver that only allows them to drive in Minnesota, but the majority of school bus drivers should be medically qualified to drive interstate. Therefore, the majority of school bus drivers in Minnesota should be selfcertifying as a Category 1 driver. The self certification is a federal requirement. It requires DVS to track the medical qualifications of 250,000 CDL drivers rather than the 17,000 school bus drivers they were formerly required to track. To prepare for this increase, CDL drivers now can submit their medical forms at DVS exam centers as well as by fax. However, the influx of submissions has still created a backlog for the employees at DVS. The MSBOA was told that they hired additional workers to take care of this backlog, but then a computer glitch created additional obstacles. At last account, DVS reported a backlog of 16 days at the most recent Office of Pupil Transportation Safety Stakeholder’s group.

According to a recent survey conducted by the MSBOA: 58% of the respondents have experienced delays and other issues when renewing or applying for a CDL license. 35% have responded that they have had a driver who had their license class downgraded to a non-certified status and/or had their S endorsement removed. 52% report that they are still having issues with lost physicals in the fax system. To avoid the downgrade, DVS recommends that CDL drivers get their new physical updated well in advance of the expiration date. From a practical standpoint, the MSBOA Office knows that some CDL drivers like having their license and physical to expire around the same time and that going for their medical exam early results in an earlier and earlier expiration date. If you have a CDL driver who has waited until right before the expiration date to get his or her physical, he or she should go to an exam station to make sure the medical information is entered. Also, keep in mind that in this situation, a driver can have the medical examiner certificate in possession when it has been issued within the past 15 days and that is to be honored roadside. Currently, exam stations can only enter the medical information. They cannot re-instate endorsements. That has to be done manually in St. Paul. DVS is currently testing automation so that when the medical information is updated, it will trigger a re-instatement of the license class and endorsements. Drivers who have a waiver should keep that document in their possession at all times. Drivers should also carefully review the information that their doctor writes in on the medical card. If your doctor forgets to fill out the expiration date, the license will not be updated. If the doctor mistakenly writes an expiration date that is for 25 months in the future, their medical information will not be updated. The legibility of the information on the medical certificate has been an issue for DVS as well. Stay tuned as this situation develops…


MSBOA Planner Save these Dates!

Minnesota School Bus Safety Committee Meets 3rd Weds. of Every Month Locations Vary Contact: LeAnn Livingston 651-982-8193

June 10-12th, 2012 MSBOA Summer Conference Chase on the Lake Walker, MN

Transportation Issues Study Committee Meets 4th Weds. of Every Month Contact: Keith Paulson 763-506-1132

January 18-19, 2013 MN School Bus Safety Expo Crowne Plaza & St. Paul River Centre St. Paul, MN

Office of Pupil Transportation Stakeholders Quarterly Meetings Held, Dates Vary Contact: Lt. Brian Reu 651-405-6047

June 9-11, 2013 MSBOA Summer Conference Chase on the Lake Walker, MN

In This Issue: From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Legal Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 News and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

MSBOA 10606 Hemlock St. NW Annandale, MN 55302

MN State Patrol Contacts Listed to the right is contact information for the state troopers in charge of school bus transportation. Use this contact information! They are ready to help with any questions or concerns you may have!

Northern Region Sergeant James Senenfelder Northern Regional Trooper Phone (612) 360-5172 E-mail: james.senenfelder@state.mn.us Metro Region Sergeant Paul Davis Metro / Central Regional Trooper Phone (612) 685-4820 E-mail: paul.davis@state.mn.us Southern Region Sergeant Chad Dauffenbach Southern Regional Trooper Phone (507) 430-0791 E-mail: chad.dauffenbach@state.mn.us


April 2012