The 2014 legislative session began on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and concludes on Monday, May 19. There are a couple of key items that I’d like to share with you.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Act (anti-bullying bill) will be a hot topic in this session. Keep in mind that the Eden
Valley-Watkins school district staff and educators across the state believe that every child deserves to attend a school that is safe and supportive. You may have read of some concerns that revolve around the details of implementing and the lack of funding for that implementation. Most notably, the limits to the 37-word state statute that prohibits bullying behaviors. Currently, the EV-W district has a six-page policy that guides and directs our efforts to prevent bullying behaviors. Our policy provides:
• Purpose: prevent behaviors and conduct that interferes with students’ ability to learn
• General Statement: addresses technology, teasing, threats, defaming, or terrorizing
• Reporting: is the first step to prevent bullying, and information is confidential
• Action: includes investigations, applicable law, consequences and private data
• Education: the district provides resources, notifications, and initiatives to prevent bullying
In conversations with your area legislators, please reinforce that we have always embraced the fact that all students need to be in a safe environment in order to maximize their learning.
Education Minnesota is also making the news as they’re in the process of forwarding a health insurance transparency bill. Apparently, the bill would require school districts to solicit sealed bids from at least three insurance companies for their health insurance coverage, and PEIP must be one of the companies. It sounds like this bill will be faced with an interesting journey with all of the challenges and impact put forth by MNsure.
Thank you in advance for your involvement during this session. Remember, you are the only one that can tell your personal story of how specific pieces of legislation will impact the children and staff in our district. Regardless of the position you hold, each of you has a unique perspective. Please do not hesitate to share that perspective with your legislators.
This is a busy time of year for school board members and administration as we get into our financial planning phase for the upcoming school year. This is a difficult process as school districts are required to adopt an annual budget in June while they wait for proposed legislation or anticipated revenue cuts from the state, and don’t receive final notification until the middle of May when the legislative session ends. As a result, our board continues to monitor the current legislative session, budget status, and make recommendations if necessary.
In order to maintain fiscal responsibility for the school district, we’ll continue to gather valuable data to guide our decision-making process with a common goal of increasing student achievement levels. We plan to review projected enrollment numbers, revenue assumptions, anticipated expenditures, program staffing, appropriate class size, contracts, and potential legislative action. The majority of the planning and budgeting takes place during the months of February and March, and as usual, your input and questions are always appreciated.
Senior of the Week
The EV-W School District would like to recognize Tori Pauls, daughter of DeeAnn. Tori is enrolled in a number of college and honors classes, and is very involved with her church. She also takes part in the EV-W softball program and volunteers with Big Brothers-Big Sisters. The Eden Valley-Watkins administration, faculty and staff are extremely proud of her accomplishments. Congratulations!