ASBA Connect E-News


ASBA stays vigilant on opposing bills, Senate’s election audit slows down negotiations

As of May 10, the Legislature has passed the 120-day mark, when per diem compensation for legislators is significantly reduced. Small group meetings are beginning to try and reach a budget deal among the Republicans in both chambers, but the Senate’s audit of the election might be slowing down negotiations.

As far as K-12 education goes, last week the House passed SB 1532 (impeding school operations; civil liability) with a floor amendment sponsored by Representative Udall that prevents teachers from discussing “controversial issues” in the classroom unless they give equal consideration to both sides of the issue. Shortly after, a few House Republicans used a procedural move to overcome party leadership and pass SCR 1044. This bill, which passed the Senate in March but stalled out in the House, will bring a question on the 2022 ballot to allow Arizona’s Dreamers to receive in-state tuition at our public universities. All of the House Democrats and four Republicans (Cook, John, Osborne and Udall) united to pass this important bill, which is also a priority on the ASBA political agenda.

We are staying vigilant about the few remaining bills that ASBA is opposing that are still alive, but work at the Capitol has slowed down to a trickle as we’re hopeful a budget deal is reached sooner than later. Make sure you’re signed up for Advocacy Updates for the most up-to-date information.

Ahéhéé (thank you), to all that supported students and families this year

Written by Desiree Fowler, ASBA Secretary

As we rise early in the morning dawn, we give our offering with the corn pollen to welcome the birth of a new day in hózhó. The Diné (Navajo) word hózhó gives us a sense of balance, beauty, harmony and well-being in a holistic environment. We give thanks and appreciation to step upon Mother Earth, breathe in the air of Father Sky, and be present with our kinship.

It takes a community to raise a child with the help of local leadership. As board members, it’s important to understand the local demographic to address the barriers and challenges to help students to be successful.

School districts have gone above and beyond to meet the needs of students and families this past year. This pandemic not only brought out the good, the bad and the ugly, but it has been a blessing in disguise in so many ways. The demand to provide students with Chromebooks, iPads, hotspots, instructional materials and meals became essential for many school districts.

While cable companies offered affordable prices for internet connections, schools in rural communities faced a larger monster connecting to broadband. That didn’t stop rural school districts, educators and bus drivers who met families at bus stops to deliver instructional packets and meals. School buses and local community buildings offered Wi-Fi for students to connect virtually with teachers. The collaboration in many school districts blossomed to help children and families navigate through barriers. 

Teachers have not gone unnoticed through this pandemic. They are the modern-day warriors teaching students to reach their full potential in a virtual, hybrid and in-person learning environment. Teachers have shown resilience with each new change they have endured. Ahéhéé (thank you), may you Walk in Hózhó.

Priorities for Legislative Committee to consider  

Don’t forget to add this to your next board meeting agenda, proposals due May 21

It is time once again to begin the process of developing the ASBA Political Agenda for the 2022 legislative session. Though we are still in the process of completing the 2021 session, it is never too early to start thinking about the association’s future priorities. It is our pleasure as your GR staff to facilitate this important process and we look forward to hearing your proposals.

As you know, your input to the Legislative Committee is critical. This year we ask that you take a moment to review the current 2021 Political Agenda and reaffirm your top five priorities. Furthermore, you may submit two additional priorities you would like the Legislative Committee to consider. Click here to submit the form online or here to download the pdf version. Once submitted, these proposals will be compiled by staff and provided to the ASBA Legislative Committee for consideration. The Committee will then create a draft document that will be circulated to all governing boards and superintendents. This draft agenda will be the basis for discussion and final approval at the official Delegate Assembly on Saturday, September 11th. The timeline is as follows:

  • Friday, May 21st – Proposed Items Due 
  • Friday. June 4th- Legislative Committee meets 
  • Week of June 21st- Legislative Committee recommendations sent to all governing board members and superintendents 
  • Saturday, September 11th – Delegate Assembly (Saturday morning following the Law Conference) 

As a reminder, you should schedule this item on an upcoming Board agenda for discussion. Please remember, only one submission per District and it must reflect the collective will of the Board. These proposals are due by the close of business on Friday, May 21, 2021.

As you are aware, the 2021 Delegate Assembly will determine the positions of the Arizona School Boards Association for any future Special Sessions of the current legislature and for the Second Regular Session of the Fifty-Fifth Legislature. In addition to submitting proposals, your board has the opportunity to help craft ASBA’s advocacy stances by registering your district’s delegate. Your delegate will represent your district at the Delegate Assembly, a critical meeting where the views of your district can be represented and discussed. The Delegate Assembly will be held on Saturday, September 11 at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn.  

If you have any questions, please call Chris Kotterman, ASBA Governmental Relations Director directly at 602-254-1100 or 800-238-4701. You can also reach him by email at ckotterman@azsba.orgOnce again, all proposals are due by May 21, 2021.

Meet ASBA’s Cochise County Director, Keith Guin

ASBA celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. ASBA celebrates by elevating the voices of board members, administrators and local leaders by sharing their stories. Meet Julie Read, School Board Member in Deer Valley USD.

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 (PDF, 166kb) which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (PDF, 285kb) which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

ASBA’s commitment to equity is deep and reflected in the association’s beliefs, goals, services and actions. Part of this commitment is to ensure we celebrate the culture and history of our students and families and that they see themselves represented within school district communities. Learn more about the board’s role in equity by clicking here.

May 12 #Wed Webinar: Focus on Communications: Protocols for Social Media Engagement and Online (and Offline) Conversations

Join ASBA Wednesday, May 12, 4 – 5 p.m. and learn from communication key experts from Mesa Public Schools and Sahuarita USD as they provide examples of protocols and strategies to help members navigate social media comments and how to drive conversations offline and connect community members with the appropriate district contacts.

AZEdNews Highlights: Amendment to bill would prohibit teachers from discussing controversial policy & social issues not essential to learning objectives

An amendment to Senate Bill 1532 by House Education Chair Michelle Udall would prohibit schools from requiring teachers to attend training on race, ethnicity or sex; prohibit teachers from discussing controversial public policy or social issues that aren’t essential to course learning objectives; and allow the court to impose a $5,000 civil penalty for each violation……read more

FAQs on School Board Safety, Open Meeting Law and Parental Rights

ASBA has created an FAQ document as guidance to boards and their communities due to recent issues regarding school board meetings being canceled and concerns that the meetings could not be conducted safely for members of the board or the public.

Considering these events in which opposition to school mask policies have been discussed and debated, and recent assertions regarding Arizona’s Open Meeting Law (OML) and the parental rights of parents made at these meetings, we want to ensure our member districts are supported with the correct information and legal guidance. 

This document provides guidance on canceling a meeting without 24-hour notice if there is a concern, law enforcement presence at a board meeting, parental rights found in Arizona Revised Statutes 1-602 and more. View it here.

Join our ASBA Book Study on “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo

The dates/times will be: Tuesday, May 18, 5-6 p.m. and Tuesday, June 8, 5-6 p.m.

We will discuss chapters 1-8 on May 18 and chapters 9-17 on June 8, with a special focus at that time on Chapter 18: “Talking Is Great, but What Else Can I Do?”

Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams, ASBA Executive Director will lead the conversation around three questions at each meeting. This opportunity is limited to 30 people. Registration is required. This will take place on Zoom.

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

The book is available on Amazon and from most major booksellers. Register here

POLICY ALERT – Policy GCO, Evaluation of Professional Staff Members

Senate Bill 1165 (Fifty-fifth Legislature, First Regular Session, 2021), an act relating to performance evaluations during the 2020-2021 school year, was approved by the Governor and filed in the office of the Secretary of State March 18, 2021.  It is an emergency measure which applies retroactively to from and after June 30, 2020 and is repealed from and after December 31, 2022.

Senate Bill 1165 temporarily removes the statutory mandate for performance evaluations.  Districts still have the authority to undertake the evaluations if they so choose. View it on the ASBA website.

As laws change and new opinions are issued by the courts and legal officers, ASBA Policy Services subscribers receive policy model revisions so compliance may be maintained. To request access, policy service subscribers may contact Renae Watson, policy services technician, at or 602.254.1100.

Upcoming ASBA Events

May 12, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Wednesday Webinars: Focus on Communications: Protocols for Social Media Engagement and Online (and Offline) Conversations

May 26, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Wednesday Webinars: Is Your District Ready For an Equity Policy?

Plus more! You can find all Wednesday webinars on the ASBA webpage, Can’t view the webinar live? No problem. Go ahead and register and you will receive the recording automatically by email so you can view it later. There is no cost to register for this webinar.  We encourage advance registration.

Reserve your spot! Virtual Summer Leadership Institute, June 11

Registration is now open! This summer conference encourages school boards and super­intendents to get away together to help expand their learning on diverse topics and current educational issues.

Even though we won’t be in Flagstaff, this event is still a great way to work as a board team with your superintendent in leadership areas.

SPECIAL GENERAL SESSION with Neil Staker on “Collaborate: How to Work More Effectively with Others.”

Special invite for ASAP members! An administrative assistant track is created especially for superintendent and board administrative professionals.  Walk away with strategies that help you work with a fractured board and overcome trials and tribulations of the Public Records retention and request process.

You will also have an opportunity to collaborate with your own counties in the County Conversations!

Registration fee for the Summer Leadership Institute is $100/person for members and $200/person for non-members.

Part Two: New Board Member Orientation, June 10

Register now. ASBA will cover topics such as policy, conflict of interest, board and superintendent evaluations and working in a team. This virtual event also includes a panel of veteran board members sharing their perspectives and stories of school board service. Individual board members will also have the opportunity to share their most difficult and inspiring issues so far in their service on the board.

Agenda sessions include:

Facilitated Conversation: What is the Most Surprising, Inspiring, and Difficult Thing You Have Learned So Far?

Teamwork: Essential Components

Communication is Key!

Conflict or Not?

Funny, Uplifting and Illuminating Stories from School Board Veterans

What Does It Take to be Board President?

Top 5 Advocacy Issues for 2021

Board Policy: The Who, What, Why, Where and How

Evaluations: The Board and Superintendent

You Asked For It! Q and A with ASBA Staff

Registration fee is $100/person member registration fee includes access to online materials. Non-member registration fee is $200/person.

new board member

AZEDNews Featured Articles

Why Teacher Appreciation Week is so important this year

Youth 12 to 15 receive COVID-19 vaccines starting Thursday; Voters to decide whether to repeal in-state tuition ban for DREAMERS

How sleep impacts students’ and teachers’ social emotional health

Sign Up for ASBA Connect E-News