The AASA executive board met in late April to set a one-year plan for new Director, David Schuler. During this planning session the group identified several areas of focus that will be shared broadly with members via AASA communications throughout the upcoming year. Through the hiring and onboarding of a new director, the Executive Committee has created a stronger relationship with AASA leadership that will hopefully be felt by school leaders across the country.
Also at this April meeting, the Executive Committee had the opportunity to provide input on topics currently under discussion at the national level. One area for discussion was the Proposed Title IX Athletics Rule. The proposed rule included language that has not been part of most, if not all, school districts’ current athletics process and would likely create confusion for school leaders. The outcome of this discussion focused on two key themes. First, AASA has inclusion as a core value so participation in athletics for any student is consistent with that value. Second, every effort should be made to provide clear language within the guidance that is either familiar to school leaders or is defined in the rule. As a result of this conversation, AASA submitted comments to the US Department of Education. They are available from AASA for those interested.
During the last month, AASA leaders have been active advocating for public education. One of the areas of focus has been the proposed rulemaking change on IDEA that would require parental consent for billing Medicaid for any IDEA related service. This rulemaking was dropped by the Department of Education. AASA has also written a letter to Congress expressing concern about the calls for deep cuts to non-defense programs. This was very timely as the negotiations on the debt ceiling were happening.
Locally, AASA Region 3 leadership, the selected members from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, have been meeting every other month to discuss the common concerns surfacing for school leaders. The largest common issue across this region is staffing. This includes licensed and non-licensed staff. Other concerns included enrollment decline, limited resources, state level mandates that tap already limited funding, and community and school board political issues spilling into the classroom. These items will be shared in July at the Federal Advocacy summit in Washington DC.
If you have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to Dan Bittman: Elk River, Jeff Elstad: Owatonna, Chris Mills: Stephen Argyle, or Craig Oftedahl: Luverne, or David Law: Minnetonka.
Welcome to new AASA representative Lisa Sayles-Adams: Eastern Carver County who replaces Dan Bittman starting July 1.
Have a great summer!