THE HENTON HEADLINES
September 17, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…
The virus is spreading-please use caution:
Deputy Commissioner, Heather Mueller, asked me to send a reminder that due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, staff gatherings at restaurants and bars is not advisable at this time. Some of our colleagues have experienced this first hand with outbreaks in their school districts, or the need to quarantine staff, after social events at establishments. Gentle reminders to staff might be helpful as we move through the fall and into the winter flu season.
EdMN representatives added to weekly call with the Commissioner of MDE:
I was notified by MDE that representatives from EdMN have now been given access to the phone call the commissioner has on a weekly basis with superintendents.
Minnesota High School League, MSHSL:
Questions and concerns have been expressed to me regarding the MSHSL fee increase, communication from the League, which funding stream to use to pay increased fees, the survey request, superintendent representation on the MSHSL Executive Board of Directors, and more. Here is information I hope you find useful:
- The MSHSL is a non-profit voluntary organization in existence since 1916
- The League is governed by a 20 member executive board created by statute and consists of the following representation
- Four seats appointed by the Governor
- Two representatives selected by the MN Association of Secondary School Principals, MASSP
- 14 members selected in accordance with the League constitutional by-laws
- Four designated school representatives elected from Class A Regions
- Four designated school representatives elected from Class AA Regions
- Two representatives selected by the MN School Boards Association, MSBA
- Four activity representatives
- 1 Boys’ Sports, 2 Girls’ Sports, 1 Music, 1 Speech
- There is no dedicated seat for a superintendent representative to serve on the 20 member executive board
- The most recent attempt by MASA membership to add a permanent seat for superintendents on the MSHSL Executive Board of Directors was in 2015-2016. The effort failed to meet the requirements of the MSHSL constitutional by-laws. That effort is under review by the MASA Executive Officers, the MSHSL Executive Director and me
- There is also a 48 member Representative Assembly consisting of three members selected by each region
- The League’s membership consists of school districts, home schools, non-publics, and charter schools. Half of the member schools have fewer than 250 students
- The discussion on fee increases has been ongoing with activities directors for the past three years and then accelerated following the shutdown of spring seasons that led to a dramatic loss of revenue
- The approval of the increased fees occurred at an August MSHSL Executive Board meeting that acted on recommendations from a finance sub-committee
- The MSHSL has no guaranteed revenue stream and relies on tournament sponsorships, broadcast fees, ticket sales, and membership dues
- Michael Dietrich of MDE has stated in emails to superintendents that ESSR funds using FIN 151 may be used to pay the MSHSL two installment bills for the 2020-21school year. MDE is checking on the use of CRF for this purpose. Both installments to the MSHSL may be paid this year using the ESSR funding stream
- The MSHSL is subject to the Open Meeting Law
- The MSHSL is audited annually
- The media typically attends all MSHSL meetings and delivers messages to the public often times before the League
- The League communicates through activities directors
There has been frequent communication with Erich Martens regarding the concerns and questions expressed to me. I am gathering history on the failed attempt in 2015-2016 to add permanent seats on the MSHSL Executive Board for superintendents.
I will continue to seek improved communication from the League that includes superintendents, and keep you apprised of efforts to increase superintendent representation. In the meantime, should seats open up in your region for the greater 48 Representative Assembly, consider running for election.
In addition, in a meeting with the MASA Executive Officers yesterday, September 16, we agreed that in order to build superintendent voice, the MASA Executive Officers, the MSHSL Executive Director and MSHSL President, and I will begin meeting soon on a monthly basis. MASA members will be asked ahead of the meetings for questions/concerns and those will be addressed in these meetings. Responses will be provided in return. This is a temporary measure until permanent representation is acquired.
Finally, a deadline of June 30, 2021, was conveyed to Erich Martens for a MSHSL process to be developed which gives the superintendents a real opportunity to have permanent representation on the MSHSL Executive Board. The Amendment process for the MSHSL Constitution, used in the 2015-2016 effort by MASA, is not believed to be realistic by MASA leadership and we are seeking additional options to proceed forward.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant.”
— Jim Rohn, Author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker