«FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): MINNESOTA’S STAFF DEVELOPMENT STATUTES Minnesota Statutes, sections 122A.60 and 122A.61 Created September 2001 ...»
Second, the plan must not conflict with collective bargaining agreements. For example, if the collective bargaining agreement limits staff development to three staff development days per teacher per year, the plan may not expand the number of days beyond three. At the same time, if the agreement requires at least three staff development days per teacher per year, the plan may not restrict the number of days to fewer than three.
Third, school board policies and the board-approved staff development plan must not conflict with each other. To protect against this, school boards may want to use their policy on staff development as a preamble to their staff development plan.
Collaborative efforts between and among the employer, the district advisory staff development committee, and the unions should help minimize potential conflicts between the various documents and the statute.
16. How can an individual get copies of staff development reports, plans, budgets, or other staff development information?
Staff development reports, plans, policies, and budgets are public information. A person seeking public data on staff development may request it from the appropriate school official (every district must designate a person to be responsible for responding to requests for data). Districts may also consider developing an internal procedure for staff members to access staff development data. Easy access facilitates the work of advisory committees, site teams, individuals applying for best practices grants, etc.
Another source for much of the public data is the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), which receives and retains the staff development data from districts:
http://w20.education.state.mn.us/MDEAnalytics/Data.jsp and http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/Welcome/Legis/LegisRep/index.html.
Access to government data is governed by the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13). A refusal to provide access to public data violates the Act. Each situation, of course, must be evaluated on its own facts and merits to determine whether a violation did occur. The Act sets forth legal remedies for individuals who are denied access to public data.
As you already know, the district plan and the annual report to MDE are both required by the staff development statutes. For more details on the plan and the report, refer to FAQ 1B (the plan) and FAQ 12 (the report).
Each district must develop and adopt a staff development plan. The plan forms the basis for all of the district’s staff development efforts and activities.
Each district must also annually file a report with MDE. The report keeps the MDE informed of the district’s staff development goals and progress towards those goals.
MDE includes this in its annual report to the Legislature.
18. What are the technical differences between a district staff development plan and the required staff development report? For example, the report is annual, but what about the plan? Must it be revised and/or approved by the board each year? If so, is there a particular date by which the plan must be in place each year? Does MDE require school districts to provide any documentation of the district staff development plan? Is there a certain format that must be used for either the report or the plan? When is the annual report due to MDE?
Revising the Plan. The law does not specifically require school boards to annually approve a plan, and does not specify a date for completing plans. However, revenues are allocated on an annual basis, and the expenditure of staff development revenues is conditioned on having an approved and current plan in place.
Therefore, the district’s advisory staff development committee should update or revise the district’s plan each spring for approval by the board. The revisions should be consistent with progress towards or changes in the district’s stated goals and outcomes. Renewing and revising the plan before the end of the school year also allows districts to begin implementation of the approved plan over the summer and for the upcoming school year.
Districts are not required to submit their staff development plans to the MDE.
Format. The commissioner of MDE determines the format and content of the report.
There are no similar format or content provisions for the plan. However, alignment of the plan to the report’s format and content will help districts in their efforts to continuously improve, and to implement and evaluate the plan.
A checklist for district-wide staff development planning is available at the Teachers as Learners and Leaders (TALL)4 section of Education Minnesota’s website. Staff development resources are available at the Professional Development5 section of MDE’s website, as well.
4 Find the checklist at http://www.educationminnesota.org/professional-development/tall.aspx 5 Find the resources at http://w20.education.state.mn.us/MDEAnalytics/Data.jsp
Deadline. Districts must submit the annual report to MDE by October 15. This information is compiled in the MDE Data Submissions/Staff Development Report.
19. What are the details of the statutory authority for waiving the requirement to reserve the revenue?
There are many questions on this point because the statutory language on this issue is minimal: “A district may annually waive the requirement to reserve their basic revenue under this section if a majority vote of the licensed teachers in the district and a majority vote of the school board agree to a resolution to waive the requirement.” Minn. Stat. § 122A.61. The absence of specific statutory guidance means there are no “right” answers to most of the questions on this topic. Regarding some of the most frequently asked
questions, however, here are some practical tips:
19A. What are the details of the voting procedure for waiving the requirement to reserve the revenue?
The statute is silent on this question. The guidelines set forth in FAQ 20 may be of some help.
If the first vote is “no,” can a second vote occur at a later date?
The statute only says a district may “annually waive” the requirement. If a vote beyond the initial vote is requested, contact MDE or your local organization.
19C. Who can call for a vote?
The statute says the district may waive the requirement, but must do so by a vote of the board and a vote of all licensed teachers in the district. Any school board member may “call for a vote” by the school board by making a motion to that effect. A teacher, other staff member, or citizen may ask the board to take such a vote, but a motion to that effect must still come from a board member. Similarly, the teachers may conduct their own vote, but cannot require the board to vote on the question. Again, however, because it is the district that may waive the requirements, the board can require the teachers to vote on the question. The board will probably want to delegate the job of conducting the teacher vote to another body or individuals, such as the administrative staff, the advisory committee, site teams, or the union. Again, refer to FAQ 20.
19D. Do we need to use ballots? What should the ballots say? Who counts the ballots?
The statute is silent on these questions. The board should use its usual procedure for voting and counting votes for its own vote on the question. For the teacher vote on the question, the board might consider following the guidelines outlined in FAQ 20.
The statute is silent on who can “run” the vote. The statute does not prohibit any group from running the teacher vote. The board may follow the guidelines outlined in FAQ 20, work out its own arrangement with the other interested parties, or find some other way to secure the teacher vote.
19F. Are there any timelines involved?
The only statutory timeline is that districts may “annually waive” the requirement. Districts receive basic revenue on an annual fiscal year basis, and it is from this annual distribution of basic revenue that districts must reserve funds for staff development, or vote to waive the requirement to reserve the funds. Therefore, districts that decide to conduct a vote on whether to waive the requirement should determine when such a vote best fits in the budget planning cycle, e.g., the vote should occur before the board sets the school district’s budget for the upcoming year.
19g. Can the waiver contain a condition such as an agreement not to lay off staff?
The statute is silent on this question. With or without a condition, the question voted on by the School Board and the certified teachers must be identical. The sample ballot and procedures outlined in FAQ 20 may be of some help.
20. How should a district conduct the board and teacher votes on whether to waive the requirement to reserve the revenue?
As previously stated, Minnesota Statutes, section 122A.61 provides: “A district may annually waive the requirement to reserve their basic revenue under this section if a majority vote of the licensed teachers in the district and a majority vote of the school board agree to a resolution to waive the requirement.” This is all the statute says about the waiver vote; therefore, it is incumbent upon the district to develop a process that will work locally.
The board should endeavor to develop this process collaboratively, requesting input from the administration, district-wide and site staff development committees, and teacher representatives.
The following steps should be considered when running a “request to waive” election:
a. Board takes action to request a waiver in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 122A.61.
b. Board should solicit input and discuss the waiver request with the parties identified above. The discussion should include the proposed use of the funds to be waived, dollar amounts being requested, distribution of the remaining funds, make up of ballot and voting procedures.
c. District sends notification to staff identifying its desire to waive some or all of the required 10 2 percent staff development set aside. This notification should include information on the date of the election. It may include additional information such as the rationale for the request, proposed use of the funds, and any other agreed upon points.
Delineation of Dollar Amount and Percentage to Be Voted On School Year _____ Yes, I vote to waive the dollar amount and percentage as requested by the School Board.
_____ No, I vote not to waive the dollar amount and percentage as requested by the School Board.
d. Ballots should be distributed using a clear procedure that ensures that all licensed staff have an opportunity to vote. This process should include procedures to ensure the privacy rights of those voting, as well as the integrity of the election itself.
e. Election results should be tallied as previously determined with results shared immediately.
[Go to FAQ 19A]
TO: Superintendents, Principals, Staff Development Chairpersons, Human Resource Directors, Curriculum Personnel, and Business Managers
The 2012 Minnesota Legislature enacted a change in staff development pertaining to the requirement to allocate portions of reserved staff development revenue for particular purposes (Laws of Minnesota for 2012, Chapter 206, Section 2).
What is the legislative change in staff development? Minn. Stat. § 122A.61, Subd. 1 Districts are no longer required to allocate revenue reserved for staff development by school sites, district-wide staff development and exemplary grants.
School boards are no longer required to allocate 50 percent of the reserved revenue for staff development to each school site in the district on a per teacher basis. Nor are school boards required to retain 25 percent to be used for district-wide staff development efforts or use 25 percent of the revenue to make grants to school sites for best practices methods. This change is effective July 1, 2012.
What has not changed? Minn. Stat. § 122A.60 Staff Development Program
1. Districts and schools develop staff development plans.
Districts and schools are required to develop, implement, evaluate and report staff development plans, activities and results.
Districts and schools establish staff development committees.
The school board must establish an advisory staff development committee to develop the plan, assist site staff development teams in developing a site plan consistent with the goals of the district and evaluate staff development efforts at the district and site level.
A-1 Districts and schools submit an annual report of staff development goals, activities and results.
A report is submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education that includes staff development activities, results and expenditures for the previous school year by October 15. The commissioner provides a legislative report each year on district and school site staff development progress and expenditure data.
Staff development decision making policies.
The district should use the district staff development committee to form policies around staff development programs and use of funds. These processes should be transparent, well documented and include any information on ongoing actions. Many staff development decisions are made at the local level but also need to be aligned with Minnesota staff development statutes.
The requirement to set-aside two percent for staff development has been temporarily suspended.
Under Laws of Minnesota for 2011, First Special Session, Chapter 11, Article 1, Section 35, school districts may use revenue reserved for staff development under Minn. Stat. § 122A.61 Subd. 1, according to the requirements of general education revenue under Minn. Stat. § 126C.13 Subd. 5 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 and FY 2013 only. Also, a vote of the teachers is not required to waive the staff development two percent set-aside requirement for FY 2012 and FY 2013.
The reporting requirements under Minn. Stat. § 122A.60 Subd. 5 have not been waived.