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Advocacy Will Be Vital During 2019 Legislative Session

Gary Amoroso
MASA Executive Director

As you may know, the 2019 legislative session begins on Tuesday, January 8th at noon. One of the most important aspects of the coming session is that state funding for the next two school years will be determined. With that thought in mind, I want to present the 2019 MASA Legislative Platform.

On November 15th about 40 of our members convened and crafted the platform draft. On December 5th the MASA Board of Directors approved the platform. The following areas will be the focus of our legislative efforts. Please keep in mind that we will also be involved in any issue/topic that has an impact on E-12 public school education.

Minnesota Association of School Administrators 2019 Platform


A fair and fully funded quality educational system is vital to Minnesota’s prosperity in the 21st century. Therefore, the state must:

  • General Education Formula Increase – Increase the general education basic formula by 3% in each year of the biennium and index future annual general education basic formula increases by at least the inflationary rate (Implicit Price Deflator).
  • Special Education Cross Subsidy – Implement a plan to fully fund the special education cross subsidy.
  • Renewal of Existing Levies – Allow school board renewal of all existing operating levies.
  • Safe School Revenue – Provide a permanent increase in safe schools revenue to reflect the critical needs identified by school districts.
  • Concurrent Enrollment Teachers: Provide resources to establish additional programs focused on helping eligible teachers to attain the requisite graduate credits necessary to teach school courses for postsecondary credit.


Educational policy issues impact every district’s ability to provide a high quality education system, develop the world’s best work force, and ensure all students acquire 21st century skills.   As a result, state education policy changes must:

  • School Board Authority – Provide all public school boards the flexibility to determine district educational decisions including graduation requirements.
  • Legislative Mandates – Refrain from new, underfunded or unfunded legislative mandates.
  • Open Enrollment Student Transportation – Align statutes so that transportation requirements are the same for all students including those who are open-enrolled.
  • Special Education Efficiency – Modify state special education requirements to achieve maximum efficiencies and reduce costs.

Your involvement in the session will be vitally important. Whether it is visiting the Capitol, responding to an ACTION ALERT, or interacting with your elected officials in your community your voice must be heard. Be sure to visit www.mnasa.org/atthecapitol for all of MASA’s legislative resources.

Thank you in advance for what you will do this upcoming session to advocate for the MASA legislative priorities. As always, please contact me at 651.319.1211 if I can be of service.

Get to know us as people

Deb Henton
North Branch Area Public Schools

Recently, I attended a candidate forum where the audience was composed of school board members, principals, district office staff, and superintendents. The candidates were vying for seats in the MN Legislature and one for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nearing the end of the panel discussion, I was able to ask those who had already served in office what they would really like to hear from us when we come to visit them at the capitol.

The question I asked received a very personal response that was followed by more comments from the veteran office holders about how they really want their visitors to first get to know them as people. They asked the audience to please ask them about their children, their grandkids, or their areas of work, and then talk to them about whatever is the purpose of their visit.

As the forum was held toward the end of the campaign season, it was clear that at least one of the candidates had faced intense personal attacks and was in need of constituents who would just treat him/her as a person. Yet, that sentiment was echoed by all seasoned legislatures, who appeared eager to respond to the question. The replies were soft in tone yet firm, and such poignant reminders to always remember the person first, not the position.

The election results are in and now is our chance to get to know our representatives as people. The message we heard that night resonated with many of us who also wish the same from those we serve-get to know us as people.

In addition, the panelists asked us to come and tell them what is working. They are eager to hear stories of success and seemed committed to moving forward programs that are proven to be effective. We’ve got that covered!

Whatever the future holds I am confident that, as educators and legislators, we can do great things for students, families, and communities. Let’s start with the premise that we are all just people – with families, hopes, and dreams – who all want the very best for the communities we serve.

Welcome 2018-19 New Members!


Joshua Anderson, Director of Communications & Technology Innovation, N. St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District

Mike Berding, Director of Technology & Integration, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District

Benjamin Bernard, Principal, Saint Charles Schools

Jeff Burgess, Superintendent, Clearbrook-Gonvick Minnesota School District

William Campbell, Executive Director, Rush City Public Schools

Renee Corneille, Superintendent, St. Anthony-New Brighton School District

Brenda Damiani, Director of Teaching & Learning, Cambridge-Isanti Public Schools

Jessica Denter, Director of Curriculum, Inst. & Assessment, Byron Public Schools

Wendy Eggermont, Teaching & Learning Coordinator, Owatonna Public Schools

Brian Erlandson, Superintendent, MN Transitions Charter School

Danielle Fields, Executive Director, MN Excellence in Learning Academy

Jon Fulton, Superintendent, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley School District

Connie Gayle, Director, Aspen Academy

Sandy Giorgi, Director of Elem. Teaching & Learning, Lakeville Area Public Schools

Dawn Holtz, Teacher, Hutchinson Public Schools

Craig Ihrke, Superintendent, Caledonia Area Public Schools

Marlene Johnson, Superintendent, Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools

Wade Johnson, Superintendent, Rothsay Public Schools

Sarah Knudsen, Director of Special Education, Winona Area Schools

Ryan Krominga, Director of Teaching & Learning, Faribault Public Schools

Dave Kuehn, Superintendent, Underwood School District

Wendy Marik, Student, Hamline University

Erich Martens, Executive Director, MN State High School League

Gail Netland, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Duluth Schools

Eric Olson, Superintendent, Monticello Public Schools

Jeremiah Olson, Superintendent, Crookston Public Schools

Don Peschel, Superintendent, Brandon-Evansville Public Schools

Sue Richards-Chase, Principal, Cass Lake-Bena Schools

Mike Rowe, Superintendent, Henning School District

Lonnie Seifert, Superintendent, GFW Schools

Patrick Smith, Ass’t. Superintendent, Osseo Area Schools

Stacie Stanley, Ass’t. Superintendent, Eden Prairie Schools

Corey Tramm, Cheif Technology Officer, Sourcewell Technology

Patrick Walsh, Superintendent, BBE Public Schools

Malcom Wax, Superintendent, Kelliher Public School

Erik Widvey, Superintendent, Kimball Area Public Schools

Jeremy Williams, Director of Teaching & Learning, Marshall Public Schools

Brian Zambreno, Associate Superintendent, Minneapolis Public Schools

Mark Zuzek, Superintendent, Intermediate School District 917

Kick Start Communications for 2019

Shari Prest
ARK Associates

This is the beginning of a new year and the time for superintendents in school districts – large or small – to develop a comprehensive communication plan for themselves. In some districts the superintendent is the communication department. Other school districts have a communication staff. Regardless of those variables, you are the voice of the educational community and you will be most successful if you are visible and approachable.

Education leaders have indicated that the majority of their time is spent communicating, but too few superintendents have personal communication plans for themselves with their stakeholders.

“The research leaves no doubt: The success of schools and programs — and all of the students that they serve — depend on outstanding communication by everyone.” (National School Public Relations Association Communication Accountability Project)

  • Publicize the chain of communication within your school district. For example, attempted resolution for a classroom issue begins with the teacher. If unresolved, the conversation may progress to the school principal, etc. Knowledge of this process helps to ensure that stakeholders understand they are invited into a process, not being rejected at any level.
  • Ensure all staff knows the importance of their role as communicators. Reinforce this concept regularly through staff communications and workshops.
  • Schedule fifteen minutes a day into your calendar to personally connect with a stakeholder. This is not a time to respond to the issues that crop up every day, but rather a time for follow-up and personal outreach. The payback will amaze you.
  • Visit a site at least once a week. If you are the superintendent in a large district, this may mean visiting a school. If you are in a smaller district it may mean visiting a classroom or department. Your visibility is important to staff and students and serves as a sign of your engagement. (These visits may also create a resource for directing your personal connection from the preceding bullet. For example, “I was in your school/classroom last week and was impressed with how…” This is a great conversation starter for you to engage and be engaged with a parent, student, teacher, principal, voluntees, support staff, et. al.)

You will accomplish more and enjoy your role as the leader of the school district more if you are fully engaged with the people and personalities in your community.

The research clearly underscores one straightforward concept: Students simply do better when parents and the community are involved with schools. Test scores climb. Remediation rates dip. Graduation rates improve. And everyone understands and values their roles in the success of the school enterprise.” (National School Public Relations Association Communication Accountability Project)

You’re Invited! AASA MASA State Breakfast Registration


You are invited to join us for the Minnesota State Breakfast honoring Jay Haugen, 2019 MN Superintendent of the Year, during the 2019 AASA National Convention in Los Angeles, CA.

Our breakfast program is a great opportunity for you to gather with your colleagues during the AASA conference, as well as hear a presentation from Superintendent Haugen!

Event Details

Date: Friday, February 15, 2019

Time: 7:30-8:30 am

Location: JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE | 900 W. Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA  90015

Room: Atrium I

Fill out your reservation form online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CYSZPZL

Reservations are due by Friday, February 1, 2019.

If you have not already registered for the AASA conference, you can find registration materials and information on the AASA website: http://nce.aasa.org/

Please contact MASA with any questions. We look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles!

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