The following is a listing and brief description of MSBA's services — some of which are included in a member’s dues and others of which an additional fee is required.
INCLUDED IN DUES AND AVAILABLE TO MSBA MEMBERS FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST
Answers — MSBA staff respond daily to member questions (from July 2007 to the present, between 150 and 160 telephone calls and emails/month) ranging from administrative processes/procedures to school board governance to statutory requirements to guiding rules/regulations to negotiations proposals, etc. with over a century and one-half of collective experience (156 years to be exact), MSBA staff are able to assist its members in almost every instance. In addition, various MSBA staff have had personal experience as school board members, superintendents, principals, classroom teachers, counselors, school district auditors, school nurses, insurance consultants, extracurricular coaches/advisors, lobbyists, lawyers, human resources specialists, private business owners, and media representatives. As a result, MSBA staff have been able to accurately address member questions/concerns and, in turn, have saved members time, trouble, and MONEY.
MSBA Leadership Conference — MSBA’s annual conference is its largest meeting and not only offers nationally known speakers, dozens of breakout sessions and training opportunities, and access to approximately 200 product/service exhibitors but also gives individual school board members the chance to provide input to their elected representatives on MSBA’s Board of Directors — all without charging members any registration fee (currently, the MSBA Leadership Conference is STILL the only free one of its kind in the country).
Public Education Employee Relations Network (PEERNet) — PEERNet is MSBA’s comprehensive database of facts and figures relative to district salary schedules, work days and years, and fringe benefits for teachers, superintendents, and other administrators. In addition, the database includes actual copies of districts’ negotiated Master Agreements and information about grievance arbitration decisions. The actual information in this extremely valuable resource is voluntarily provided by MSBA member school districts, and PEERNet itself will soon be undergoing a face lift to make it even easier to use and at the same time provide more data.
MSBA Journal Magazine — Read by more than 4,200 subscribers, the MSBA Journal is MSBA’s flagship publication. This magazine looks at education from every angle, chronicles life on a school board, features student art, contains the “Ask MSBA Column” which provides in-depth answers to commonly asked questions, and is a useful resource for finding vendors and services. The Journal has won the prestigious Minnesota School Public Relations’ “Star Award” all three times it has been entered — 2007, 2009, and 2011 (even more remarkable considering that publications can only be entered once every two years).
MSBA eClippings — MSBA staff send out an email containing links to the top K-12 education stories of the day. This daily service is used by nearly 2,000 subscribers.
The MSBA Leader Newsletter — The Leader newsletter updates members about MSBA news and events, topical news items, timely administrative topics, administrative job openings, and much more.
Teacher Salary Settlement Data (Green Sheets) — Teacher salary settlement data is compiled and updated each time a new settlement is received and verified by MSBA staff. Said data is compiled and averaged by district size (based on teacher FTEs), and historical settlement data is archived. As is the case with PEERNet this settlement data is voluntarily provided by MSBA member school districts, and, in an effort to provide more useful and detailed information, a revised “MSBA Teacher Salary Settlement Summarization Sheet” is being used for the first time for the 2013-2015 settlements.
School board brochures — MSBA members may also be kept informed through the use of special brochures such as “Running for School Board” and “School Boards and Referenda.”
Hiring Assistance — In addition to maintaining a list of retired superintendents who are willing to serve in an interim capacity, MSBA also maintains a list of professional search consultants and posts vacancies on MSBA’s Job Openings webpage and in the MSBA Leader newsletter.
AVAILABLE TO MSBA MEMBERS FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE
MSBA Summer Seminar — Similar to the MSBA Leadership Conference, this seminar, held every year in late summer, offers participating MSBA members national speakers and training designed to start off a new school year positively.
MSBA Master Agreement Analysis — Experienced MSBA staff will analyze all member collective bargaining agreements and will provide detailed, written analyses of their strengths and weaknesses in addition to providing “red-lined copies” of those agreements – all from a strong management perspective. Over the past 10 years, more than 425 Master Agreements have been analyzed, and those member districts that have taken advantage of this service have overwhelmingly found it to be beneficial not only in terms of cost-effectiveness but also in terms of improved administration.
MSBA School Board Workshop Series — MSBA prides itself on the following school board training and the development it offers members:
- Learning to Lead — School Board Basics: Phase I Workshop | Training is provided in the areas of board governance and board-superintendent relationships — in addition, scenarios typically encountered by school board members are reviewed.
- Leadership Foundations — School Finance and Management: Phase II Workshop | The state-mandated school finance training is provided along with additional segments dealing with Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law, other state/federal education laws, collective bargaining, and related personnel matters.
- Building a High-Performance School Board Team: Phase III Workshop | This training focuses on exploring and building a high performing school board with a focus on leadership styles, consensus-building, and policy development.
- Communicating with Your Community: Phase IV Workshop | The focus here is on community engagement and communicating with staff, students, and constituents.
MSBA Policy Services — MSBA member districts all have access to free model policies (developed by MSBA legal counsel) covering state and federal policy mandates. For additional fees, MSBA members may also receive model policies covering a myriad of issues with which school boards must deal, have MSBA staff audit an existing policy manual, request custom policy revisions, and purchase the “MSBA Model Student Handbook.” The importance of keeping policies in compliance with state/federal requirements and making certain policies do not conflict with collective bargaining agreements cannot be over-emphasized, and MSBA’s policy services assist with those efforts.
MSBA Executive Search Service — Understanding that selecting a new superintendent is one of the school board’s most important decisions, MSBA established a full-service superintendent search service in 2010 and, since then, has led 18 searches. MSBA-led searches can be customized to meet the particular needs of the school district and community, and MSBA search consultants provide assistance from start to finish. As a result, the school board can focus on the most important aspects of its search — interviewing the most qualified applicants and selecting the next superintendent.
MSBA Superintendent Search-Related Services — In addition to actually conducting a member board’s superintendent search, MSBA offers a variety of other services to help those boards conduct such searches. The most popular service is “MSBA’s Superintendent Search Workshop” which provides board members with a solid understanding of the process, their roles and the roles of staff and community members, and pertinent legal concerns. Staff will also analyze existing superintendent employment contracts.
Officers' Workshop — This annual workshop is offered to help school board chairs, vice-chairs, treasurers, and clerks. Using breakout sessions, presenters address the duties and training needs involved with each position.
In-District In-service Training — MSBA member school boards are able to access individual training right in their home districts in a one-to-one setting. Three standard trainings are available — “Developing Mutual Expectations,” “The 16 Tenets of the Board-Administrative Leadership Team,” and “Board Self-Evaluation” — and, depending on the needs of the board — other specific in-services can be developed.
MSBA Bargaining Basics Early Bird Session — Every odd-numbered year, MSBA offers an early bird workshop prior to its annual Leadership Conference designed to educate novice (and experienced) negotiators about the basics of collective bargaining in Minnesota. Included is an overview of PELRA (Minnesota’s bargaining law), bargaining issues to consider and track, and bargaining do’s and don’t’s.
MSBA Negotiations Seminars — Every odd-numbered year, MSBA also offers its members a series of regional, all-day training sessions designed for the more experienced negotiator. On average, approximately 600 school board members and administrators will attend representing more than 200 MSBA member school districts.
Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) — Only MSBA member districts have access to the insurance products provided through the MSBAIT: currently, group term life insurance and group long-term disability through National Insurance Services and property/casualty and workers’ compensation insurance through Marsh & McLennan Agency, LLC. Governed by a board of trustees comprised of seven currently seated Minnesota public school board members, the MSBAIT has provided MSBA members with quality insurance products since 1972.
Minnesota Tax and Aid Anticipation Borrowing Program (MNTAAB) — This program gives member school districts looking to borrow money the power of pooled purchasing to keep the costs involved low. Springsted Incorporated administers the MNTAAB program, and 52 member districts currently participate in the amount of more than $183.5 million dollars of borrowing.
Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund (MDSLAF+) — Established in 1984, this fund is a local government investment pool for MSBA members which operates like a mutual fund that offers competitive interest rates while assuring its participants security and liquidity. Overseen by a board of trustees, managed by public finance and legal professionals, and sponsored by MSBA, the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, and the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials, MSDLAF+ currently serves 336 participants and has $1.3 billion on deposit.
BoardBook — This program provides a paperless option for school boards allowing them to easily collate materials, distribute them, and place minutes and agendas on the participating districts’ websites. BoardBook not only saves money, but it also saves time. More than 100 MSBA member districts currently use this program.
Procurement Card (P-Card) — Participating member districts can use this free card to pay their bills and, in doing so, earn a rebate if the purchases exceed $50,000 in a year. Currently, 119 districts use the P-Card, and, last year, rebates were earned totaling $446,000 (the largest individual one being $62,812).
PaySchools — This program provides participating members with an easy and efficient way to collect fees and payments online by electronic check or credit card and, as a result, improves cash flow, drives traffic to the districts’ websites, and greatly reduces the hassle of dealing with bounced checks or having to call parents for lack of payment. Parents also value this convenient 24/7 way to pay for school expenses. No set-up costs exist, and merchant accounts are not needed; the payments go directly into the districts’ bank accounts. Currently, 61 MSBA members participate in this program.
MSBA Lease Purchase Program — This program is a tax-exempt program that provides short- to medium-term, fixed-rate financing for capital needs as an alternative to traditional loans, bonds, or internal funding.
SchoolFinances.com — This MSBA-endorsed provider offers for sale to MSBA members tools useful for long-range planning in terms of enrollment and school district financing. It also provides teacher salary costing and reporting forms as well as an election planning system designed to give districts voter information for upcoming referenda.
Educators Benefit Consultants (EBC) — This provider offers MSBA members a variety of cost-effective products that can save them — and their employees — money: I.R.S. Section 125 cafeteria plan arrangements (flex plans), health reimbursement accounts, health savings accounts, and 403b/457b administration and compliance services.
MSBA Playground Compliance Program — Working with the National Playground Compliance Group, this program ensures that playgrounds are compliant with state and federal safety and accessibility standards and offers solutions for safe surfacing, play and fitness equipment, inspections, design, and maintenance. Additionally, any MSBA member district can schedule a free playground inspection.
Eide Bailly Affordable Care Act Analytic — The product most recently endorsed by MSBA, the analytic will provide MSBA members with a valuable tool to determine the school district’s level of compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The analytic looks at a snapshot in time of the school district’s employees, determines the exposure to noncompliance, and shows the cost of possible choices in changing the current group health and hospitalization offering(s). The cost of the service is based on the number of school district employees.
SPECIAL SERVICES: MSBA also works to keep its membership informed and updated as relevant specific issues arise. For example, in 2013 alone, MSBA is conducting specialized training sessions dealing with developing and implementing a statutorily compliant teacher evaluation plan and providing solutions to certain issues generated by the Affordable Care Act.