November 1, 2017
Dear Participants, thank you for the great discussion of the following topics at our Mentor Teams meeting on October 25! Here’s a quick review of the facts, ideas, and pertinent info that we shared…
1. Negotiations -- For the most part the contracts that have been settled overall package ranged between 6.4% and 6.8 % over the two year contract! For those that had not settled, health insurance seemed to be the biggest “obstacle”! Some Supts. undicated that they are waiting until after their referenda votes before they were going to begin negotiations.
2. TRA Impact -- We talked about how a possible increase in the employer portion of TRA would affect the school budget. If imposed upon us, the rate would probably see an increase of .5% per year. This problem will NOT go away. The Legislature will have to/need to contribute more to get this problem fixed! (This is my biased opinion!)
3. Talking With the Media -- Many ideas were brought up, including: Keep your comments short; don’t comment until you know all of the facts; have only one spokesperson for the district; you may have to “teach” the reporter about the “story”; don’t let social media tell your story; if you know a potential story is coming, call the media first to tell your side of the story; “NO COMMENT” may or may not be the best comment to make, depending on the situation.
4. Parking Lot Tax Abatement -- Stewartville and Kasson-Mantorville Schools are using this approach to the tune of over $1.4 million each to reconstruct parking lots, so as to not have to use LTFM dollars. Please remember that this is a levy and the citizens will not get to vote on this expenditure! You have to have one public meeting before the Board approves this action.
5. Referendum Strategies -- Many ideas were offered, including start early; create a “YES” committee; use a strategy that gets the “YES” committee to secure yes votes; don’t get too upset if few people or no one comes to the referendum information meetings, but be concerned that the correct information is getting out to the public; use social media to get the correct info out; take advantage of the “AG” tax credit for farmers; know about Paul Doer and his techniques to try to defeat your referendum; make sure the vote from the Board to run a referendum is unanimous; to “sign or not to sign”, that is the question; speak to your union leaders regarding securing dollars for supporting your referendum; and my personal advice, let your Board know that a referendum takes five years off of a Superintendent’s life because of the constant mental and physical stress!?! As evidence to my point, there were several Supts. who reported that they have already been involved with or attended 25 or more referendum informational meetings! Good luck to all of you who are running a referendum this year!!
One thing that we did not talk about at this meeting but may be helpful to talk about is the “process and procedures” that you use for attending the January 10-12, 2018 MSBA Winter Conference!
A reminder that the Mentees should be logging the contact hours for the mid-year contact log review to be shared with the Mentors and then forwarded to Suzanne and myself before the New Year! We will try this “working lunch” format again at the next Mentor/Mentee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 28, 2018! Continue to have a great year! SkolVikes! DDT