To call 2019-20 a challenging year for Missouri’s public schools would be a considerable understatement. School buildings throughout the state were closed for much of the 2020 spring semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak, requiring students to learn remotely, a significant challenge for those without internet access. During the summer, school boards and administrators faced the daunting task of developing and implementing reopening plans best suited for their own communities.

Through it all, Missouri’s public schools continued not only to meet the educational needs of students, but also to support them in other ways such as providing millions of free meals while school buildings were closed.

Message from Rhonda Gilstrap, 2019-20 MSBA President and Melissa Randol, MSBA Executive Director

Embracing New Opportunities

As school boards and administrators navigated these difficult issues, MSBA was with them and still is every step of the way. MSBA’s Center for Education Safety worked with numerous other organizations and state agencies to develop the Pandemic Recovery Considerations: Re-entry and Reopening of Schools guide. This guide provides considerations on a wide range of issues, including the reopening of schools for the new school year. The guide was available to school boards and administrators to use for guidance to develop reopening plans based on their local circumstances. It is one of many numerous resources related to COVID-19 developed and compiled by MSBA that provides guidance for school boards and administrators as they work to continue to provide quality education to Missouri’s public-school students during the coronavirus pandemic.

As new research and resources on COVID-19 become available, MSBA provides updates to the Pandemic Recovery Considerations: Re-entry and Reopening of Schools guide as well as the Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic page.

2019-20 saw MSBA play an important role with the National School Boards Association, ensuring voice of Missouri school board members is heard.

Mike Pratte

Mike Pratte

Past President

Served on the National School Boards Association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee as well as the search committee for a new executive director for NSBA.

Mike Pratte

Rhonda Gilstrap

2019-2020 MSBA President

Serves on the Board of Directors for the National School Boards Action Center, the advocacy arm of NSBA.

Mike Pratte

Linda Daugherty

2019-2020 MSBA Vice President

Appointed to the NSBA Nominating Committee.

Mike Pratte

Melissa Randol

MSBA Executive Director

Served on the National School Boards Action Center Advisory Committee and on the NSBA Executive Director Liaison Committee.

MSBA Policy Services

For more than 40 years, school boards throughout Missouri have relied on MSBA for policy support. All MSBA members receive the basic MSBA policy service as a benefit of membership. In addition, MSBA offers a unique full-maintenance, customized policy service that includes online support, the most comprehensive school board policy support service in the nation. While every school district must have policies and procedures that are regularly updated to reflect court decisions and legislative and regulatory changes, policies also should help guide a district toward excellence. MSBA members have the opportunity to work one-on-one with experienced policy editors and a team of attorneys specializing in Missouri school law, whose aim is to allow boards to put more money in the classroom and not in the courtroom. A new, streamlined policy platform will have more options for districts to post all types of documents in the policy module, provide easier editing of documents and instant online posting of adopted policies, and many more features.

MSBA is not only the go-to resource for school boards throughout the state, we also continue to be a sought-after source of information for the news media. Once again this year, MSBA was the most-often quoted source in the news on issues related to public education in Missouri.

Embracing New Opportunities

Annual Conference

The 2019 MSBA Annual Conference in cooperation with the Missouri Association of School Administrators was once again the largest gathering of school leaders in the state. During that conference, it was announced that the 2020 Annual Conference was moving from the Lake of the Ozarks to Kansas City to enable the Conference to provide even more learning opportunities for board members and administrators. But, in response to the continuing COVID-19 challenges impacting Missouri school districts, the MSBA Board of Directors later voted unanimously to take the 2020 MSBA Annual Conference in Cooperation with MASA completely virtual.

The 2020 virtual Annual Conference programming includes approximately 30 interactive presentations. Participants also will have access to approximately 80 additional sessions posted each week through the end of the school year.

MSBA Annual Conference
Igniting Great Ideas Summit

Igniting Great Ideas Summit

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the decision to hold MSBA’s Igniting Great Ideas Summit in June virtually.

General sessions at the Summit covered several coronavirus-related topics, including a presentation on internet access featuring Federal Communications Commission member Jessica Rosenworcel, who coined the term “Homework Gap” and Dr. Nicol Turner Lee of the Brookings Institution. The virtual Summit allowed them to appear from the Washington, D.C. area.

MSBA’s June Delegate Assembly, held virtually in conjunction with the Igniting Great Ideas Summit was where the 2020-21 state officers were elected and delegates adopted a new purpose statement for MSBA: Helping School Boards Ensure All Students Succeed.

ListServs – MSBA launched new listservs this past year for school board secretaries and board presidents, allowing them to pose questions and share ideas among colleagues throughout the state.

Protecting Public Education

Once again this past year, the advocacy efforts of Missouri school board members had a significant impact on legislation and policy being considered on the state and national levels.

The 2020 regular session of the Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 18 following one of the most unusual legislative sessions in state history. The session was shut down for six weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, and when legislators returned to Jefferson City, there were only two weeks left to pass a state budget and three weeks left to consider other legislation.

MSBA was successful in lobbying against harmful legislation during the 2020 regular session, including charter school expansion without adequate accountability and voucher proposals. MSBA also was successful in seeking a gubernatorial veto of House Bill 1854, an omnibus bill that contained provisions putting more restrictions on the time available for school board candidates to file for election.

Grassroots involvement is a key to successful advocacy. This past year, MSBA began supporting the work of the newly created Delegate Coordinators who are members of the 17 Regional Executive Committees. Delegate Coordinators are local school board members who regularly communicate with members in their regions on issues before the legislature and encourage grassroots advocacy by MSBA members when needed.

MSBA’s advocacy work is not limited to the state level. MSBA is in regular communication with our state’s U.S. Representatives and Senators on public education issues being debated on the federal level. This past year, MSBA worked closely with Missouri’s Senior U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, who chairs the important Senate Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies. Senator Blunt has been instrumental in opposing federal voucher proposals and maintaining federal funding levels for K-12 education.

Amicus Brief

Amicus Brief

In addition to advocacy work with legislative bodies, MSBA attorneys file amicus briefs in court cases involving issues of statewide and national significance as part of our advocacy efforts on behalf of members. This past year, MSBA attorneys drafted and filed an amicus brief with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving the determination of special education services for a student by the St. Louis Public Schools. The National School Boards Association, along with the other state school boards associations within the 8th Circuit, signed on to MSBA’s amicus brief.

Protecting Public Education

While MSBA has been engaged in the issue of educational equity for years, this past year has seen the issue rise to even greater importance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the focus on racial and social justice issues.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or gender, all Missouri students deserve to have the access and opportunities needed in order to receive a quality education.  In order to help school boards ensure success for all students, MSBA announced several initiatives this past year. They include:

Two additional board workshops added to in-district board development opportunities:  The Board’s Role in Pursuing Equity and An Introduction to Unconscious Bias.

A Policy Toolkit will be developed to assist boards in examining their policies and practices through an equity lens.  In addition, MSBA will be working with the National School Boards Association on a review of all current MSBA policies.

An article on equity to be published in the MSBA’s Board Bulletin newsletter each month.

A virtual book study for board members and superintendents on Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald.

MSBA Delegates

MSBA Delegates

Each MSBA member district has at least one representative in the Delegate Assembly.

MSBA 17 Regions

MSBA 17 Regions

MSBA divides the state into 17 regions.

MSBA 2019-2020 Board of Directors

MSBA Board of Directors

One representative from each region, KC, STL, Springfield, K-8 & 4 officers.

MSBA 2019-2020 Officers

MSBA Officers

President, President-Elect, Vice President, & Immediate Past President

Regional Executive Committee (REC)

Regional Chair
Regional Chair
Board of Directors Representative
Board of Directors Representative
Leadership Development Representative
Leadership Development Representative
Advocacy Representative
Advocacy Representative
Delegate Coordinator
Delegate Coordinator
Learn more about MSBA’s Regional Structure

Partners

ACI Boland Architects  |  All Systems Designed Solutions, Inc.  |  American Fidelity  |  BOK Financial  | Buxton Kubik Dodd Design Collective  |  Cam-Dex Security Corp  |  Catapult Learning  | Central States Bus Sales, Inc.  |  Commerce Trust Company  |  Connell Insurance, Inc.  |  Convergint Technologies  |  CTS Group  |  Curtis, Heinz, Garrett and O’Keefe  |  Dake Wells Architecture  |  David Griggs Enterprises, LLC  |  Dickinson Hussman Architects  |  DLR Group  |  Edgenuity  |  Elliott Data Systems  |  Energy Systems Group, LLC  |  Epic.Insure  |  Facility Solutions Group  |  Federal Protection, Inc.  |  FGM Architects  |  Forrest T. Jones & Company  |  GRP Mechanical  |  Guin Mundorf LLC  |  Heartland Seating Inc.  |  Henderson Engineers, Inc.  |  Hoener Associates Architects  |  Hollis + Miller Architects  |  imageQUEST, Inc.  |  Interpres Building Solutions  |  Ittner Architects, Inc.  |  KPM CPAs & Advisors  |  KRJ Architecture  |  L. J. Hart & Company  |  Lashly & Baer, P.C.  |  Lunchtime Solutions, Inc.  |  McCownGordon Construction  |  Midwest Computech  |  Midwest Transit Equipment  |  Missouri Health & Educational Facilities Authority  |  Missouri Propane Education Research Council MOPERC  |  Mohawk Group  |  Nabholz Construction Services  |  NORESCO  |  Odysseyware  |  Opaa! Food Management, Inc.  |  Paragon Architecture  |  Primary Systems, Inc.  |  Raymond James and Associates, Inc  |  Renaissance Learning  |  S. M. Wilson & Co.  |  SafeDefend  |  Safe Hiring Solutions, LLC  |  Sapp Design Architects  |  Schneider Electric  |  St. Louis Electrical Connection  |  Stars School Services  |  Stifel  |  Thomeczek & Brink, LLC  |  Trane U.S. Inc. – Fenton  |  Tremco, Inc  |  Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt P.C.  |  UNESCO  |  UnitedHealthcare  |  Virco  |  Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation  |  WGU Missouri  |  Winter-Dent & Company