Friday, January 18, 2008

Have Camera, Will Travel (But I Don't Have Paladin's Mustache). It was great to see some many of you at the annual Minnesota School Boards Association convention in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday and Friday. I ran into a number of SEE member delegations between meetings and other convention festivities. As promised, I showed up with my camera and took a few shots. On the left are Cambridge-Isanti board members Phil Rodriguez and Jane Skogman. In the pictures below, we see Jackie Magnuson (President-elect of the MSBA) and Joel Albright from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school board talking with representatives of the Minnesota Dairy Council. Below them is a picture of Laurie Swanson and Cathy Storey from the White Bear Lake School District talking with Grand Marais school board member Mary Sanders.

The convention was highlighted (perhaps the wrong word) by the Governor's speech on Thursday. He didn't offer much in the way of optimism, saying that it would be difficult to envision any significant new revenue finding its way to school districts in the coming year. I am not going to use the blog to espouse any particular viewpoint, but it's pretty clear from the Governor's comments that the education community is going to have to work in a concerted and unified manner to change the expected direction of the upcoming legislative session.

PS Minnesota was also present at the convention.

I had the pleasure of joining Robin Smothers (who is heading up the PS Minnesota public relations effort) in a series of roundtable discussions that led off Friday's proceedings. Attendance at each of the 20-minute sessions was impressive, with a number of board members and district administrators standing because chairs were not available. The questions from participants were solid and there seemed to be levels of both interest and energy that would indicate that the desire for comprehensive education funding reform that provides more resources to schools and distributes them more fairly is growing. With the legislative task force poised to say more about comprehensive reform in the coming weeks, the time may have truly come for the kind of discussion that desperately needs to take place.

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