What would be the cost of a 20% increase in teacher salaries in Arizona?

Join us for a free webinar on April 11, 5-6 p.m. to review some of the issues around increasing teacher salaries in our state. Included in the webinar will be information on what would a 20 percent increase in teacher salaries cost, exiting funding for teachers from the Classroom Site Fund Prop 301 and other issues related to teacher salaries. Dr. Anabel Aportela, ASBA Director of Research, Chris Kotterman, ASBA Director of Governmental Relations and Chuck Essigs, AASBO Director of Governmental Relations will be participating in the webinar. You can register for this free webinar by clicking here.

Leadership Lab deadline extended to May 11 - New Webinar! Leadership Lab: Connecting and Growing School Boards Leaders

The deadline has extended to May 11. Join us for a 30-minute webinar on April 19, 11:30 a.m. about our newest program. We’ll talk about what to expect and where the Leadership Lab field trips will take you. And we give you some tips on filling out the application. Tuition and travel assistance is available. If you can’t attend, no worries. Just register and receive the recording to view on your own time.

NEW Pillar Award for Advocacy Pin

ASBA’s new Pillar Award for Advocacy Pin recognizes school board members for service in the advocacy arena that goes above and beyond their regular board duties. This award includes many of the same activities as the former Cactus Pin. The pin will be awarded to members at our Legislative Workshop who have accumulated a total of 125 points based on several advocacy related activities. The application for the Pillar Award for Advocacy will open July 1 and will close September 1. More information will soon follow.

Equity Event photos available PLUS free ASBA Equity webinar series released

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Doing Nothing Cannot Be the Right Answer

By Linda Lyon, President, ASBA Board of Directors

Last month ASBA drafted and distributed a School Safety Resolution and asked school boards around the state to review it and consider adopting it. Hopefully by now, most of your governing boards have either considered the resolution for adoption or have it on a future agenda to discuss.

ASBA has received numerous comments about the resolution from those who either think it doesn’t go far enough or think it goes too far. I’ve heard from both ends of the continuum, and from those with positions, and continue to learn much about the issue.

I qualified as an expert marksman during my 22 years in the Air Force and even now own a revolver, which I occasionally fire at a local range. I understand both the incredulity of those who question anyone’s need to own a military-style “assault” weapon, and the defiance of those who believe that if they “give an inch” on gun issues, the other side will “take a mile.”

I don’t know how to best protect our students and school employees from gun-related violence. Properly enforcing laws and policies currently on the books is no doubt a good place to start. Knowing and understanding our district policies and procedures, and revising them if necessary, would be another. But I fervently believe that to do nothing cannot be the correct answer.

Neither can it be correct for adults to remain so ideologically polarized they can’t have thoughtful discussions about the safety of our schoolchildren or, equally as unacceptable, for adults to purposefully avoid the discussions to save themselves stress and discomfort. Whatever the answer, I believe it will take us working together to find it.

At our local levels, discussion of the ASBA resolution is a way to open that door, whether your board ultimately adopts it as is, revises and adopts, or even chooses not adopt it at all. Nothing is more fundamental to the job of being a school board member than to ensure the safety of our students. Have the discussion.

Parents still list improved school safety as one of their top concerns and polling shows concern spikes after school shootings. As both district and community leaders, governing boards must not only ensure our schools are safer but also effectively communicate to parents and community members that their concerns are heard and being taken seriously.

The discussion will be difficult, because it necessarily will include gun violence. Of course, we are all sadly well aware that gun violence is not the only threat our students face, but it is the one form of violence that is getting worse instead of better. Rates of both student-reported bullying and total victimization (theft, assault, robbery and sexual assault) have dropped over the last couple of decades. Mass shootings, however, are increasing in frequency and getting deadlier, and schools are the second-highest risk location.

In light of this dark data, our districts have, over the past two decades, taken steps to try to ensure schools are safer places, with more security cameras, better controlled access, and written and well-coordinated and drilled active shooter plans. We continue to be provided examples that these efforts are not enough.

The bad news is we are being forced to undertake these efforts and make improvements on funding that is already inadequate. We know for example, that school counselors – another important part of the solution – are woefully lacking in our schools. Instead of the 1:250 counselor/student ratio recommended or the 1:450 nationwide average, Arizona has a 1:952 ratio, a level that has worsen over the past decade of funding cuts. The damage caused by our anemic district funding isn’t limited to just a critical teacher shortage and dilapidated school facilities, it also makes our schools and the students and staff within, less safe.

ASBA’s School Safety Resolution recognizes (and states within) what everyone must recognize, that although student safety is a primary function of governing boards, it is a shared responsibility that cannot be borne by public schools alone. Rather, it requires support from the community, local and state public safety agencies, and policymakers at the local, state and federal levels. That’s why the resolution “calls upon leaders at all levels to prioritize the protection of students and school system employees from gun violence on campus.”

We have a very diverse membership with many different perspectives. That diversity makes us stronger when it is additive versus subtractive, in other words, when we can listen to and learn from, versus just talk “at,” each other. In the military, when we had a tough problem to solve or hard job to do, we would often just look at each other and say, “Well, if it was easy to do, they could get anybody to do it.”

That’s the thing, you see. Our students and employees need us. They need their leaders to find a way to make a real difference, before the violence finds its way to each of OUR schools. If there ever was an issue where “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way” applies, this must surely be it.

ASBA leads equity conversations with community

Community members joined ASBA in conversation about what school boards should know to pursue and achieve equity in schools. Additional meetings will be scheduled around the state to continue to seek the community’s input on how ASBA can support boards as they work to embed equity into their districts.

Where does the student funding go?

Teachers are the key to student learning, but they are only a part of what it takes to operate a school. This infographic shows how funding for a class of 30 students is used to provide all students an opportunity to learn. This infographic and other resources can be found on the ASBA Resource Center.

Do you know someone running for school board?

Do you know anyone thinking of running for school board? If so, please pass this information on to register for two free webinars hosted by the ASBA. The Leadership Development team and a group of diverse school board members from across the state will share their knowledge and insights during both webinars.

Superintendent search for Sanders USD closes April 13

The superintendent search closes on April 13 for Sanders USD. For more information or view other search positions click here.

ASBA Challenge Coin given to state leaders

ASBA proudly presents the Leadership Challenge Coin to Senator Brophy-McGee and Representative Coleman for their sponsorship of Prop. 301 renewal.

ASBA Events

Register for Summer Leadership Institute, June 7-9
Reservation room update

Conference and hotel registration opens Monday, April 2, 2018. We continue our summer tradition by traveling to northern Arizona at Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Little America Hotel at a rate of $128 single/double. You can reserve your room by visiting their website. Reservations for lodging must be made by Wednesday, May 16, 2018. After this date, any remaining rooms in the block will be released for general sale and the group rate will no longer be guaranteed.

To be fair to all conference attendees, we request that you only reserve the number of rooms that will be utilized. If you need to make multiple hotel reservations under one name, you have until Friday, May 25, 2018 to substitute those names with registered conference attendees. After that time, multiple reservations under the same name that have been verified as not registered for the conference will be canceled and used for other attendees on the waiting list.

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