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From the ED 2.2.17

Dear Colleagues,

Happy Groundhog Day!

I read this article in Time Magazine last week and wanted to share with you the story of the wise man, which you can read here. My hope for all of our schools is that we have schools where the “king” or leaders are loving and kind and where the wise man cannot find a ”truly bad person”. I realize that this is optimistic, but I do believe that with the missions of most of our schools including some language about character development – a unique attribute of independent schools – that during this time (or any time) of uncertainty we focus on our mission and look for the good, the loving, the kindness of everyone around us. I ask that you read this article without any political thinking, but only because it speaks to the value of being empathetic, caring, and loving – all attributes of the kind of leader our schools need.

Last week, Debra Wilson, General Counsel, NAIS and Whitney Silverman, Staff Attorney, NAIS published two papers which I believe are important for all independent school leaders to read detailing their research on potential issues facing independent schools with the new administration. From Debra Wilson: “NAIS produced articles outlining the ways the Trump Administration is likely to affect independent schools. They have encouraged us to share the information with you to help you understand the potential changes ahead. NAIS members may access the resources directly by logging into the NAIS website. If you are not a member of NAIS, please email to receive a copy of “The Trump Administration and Independent Schools.” A list of additional information published on this topic and other federal legislation and regulations being monitored by NAIS’s Legal and Government Relations Team can be viewed here.

Here are some of the key points that Debra and Whitney present for us to consider:

  1. Affordable Care Act – the goal of the new administration is to repeal and replace ACA. The employer mandate is a topic of discussion and may be removed. This mandate required employers with over 50 employees to provide health care. At this time there is no clear plan or timeline for repeal or replacement, so we will be watching closely.
  2. Labor Actions – as most of you know the new FLSA provision increasing the threshold for exempt status from $23,360 to $47,476 planned for December 1, 2016 was put on hold by a Texas court. At the moment this does not appear to be a priority for the new administration – no further actions have been taken and little has been discussed. Again, this is a watch and wait situation.
  3. Tax and Charitable Giving – the new administration is exploring changes to the tax codes which will likely decrease tax rates at the higher levels. Many itemized deductions are expected to be eliminated. However, mortgage interest deductions and charitable giving deductions appear to be safe for the time being. This could help all non-profits by providing a potential boost to giving.
  4. Education Policy – the nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is proving to be controversial and at this time has not been approved. “DeVos has a background in charter schools and vouchers, complementing Trump’s sweeping statements on the campaign trail about huge increases in funding for vouchers. As these programs are administered at the state level, any voucher program will likely be a state or local grant. Thus, the impact on independent schools is likely to be local rather than national. Vouchers could also support charter schools. Legislators will need to identify a source of funding for a voucher initiative, which will take some budget wrangling. Vouchers will also compete with other education policy issues for priority.”
  5. Immigration Policy – it is possible that increased scrutiny on immigration will have a negative impact on independent schools’ enrollment of international students. The availability of F-1 visas may become more difficult to obtain. This could impact employment of international candidates as well.

These are just some of the possible impacts. As you can see the real impacts are uncertain until more time has passed and actions are taken by the new administration. I urge you all to stay well informed.

Today is the first day to participate in the School Retool  Shadow a Student Challenge. You can still sign up and participate. Please note that the preferred window to participate is February 2nd – 17th, however you can still participate after that time if it is more convenient. School Retool is asking that participants sign up as soon as possible. We hope that a large number of MISBO school leaders will participate and we want to encourage business officers, human resources directors, technology directors, facilities director, as well and heads of school and all school leaders to take this challenge. At the 2017 MISBO Fall Conference we will offer a workshop led by Devon Young at School Retool including “storytelling” for those that participated in the challenge as well as all others that wish to learn about this amazing experience. Preliminary information about the conference can be found here with more details coming soon.

Next, I ask you to please mark your calendars for March 8th at 2:00 pm ET for “The MISBO Forum”. With no annual meeting in the fall of 2016 due to our cancelled fall conference, we still want the opportunity to update membership on the state of the association. This will also be an opportunity to hear from our incoming Executive Director, Damian Kavanagh. This will be a virtual meeting and more details will be provided soon. Please save the date!

The next MISBO On The Road will be held at St. Catherine’s School, Richmond, VA on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 starting at 10:00 am. The speaker for the day is Aaron Lundberg from Praesidium. You can find more information and registration by clicking here. This event is very limited on space, so I encourage you to register ASAP!

We just opened registration for the 2017 MISBO Human Resources Intensive and you can see the full schedule and register here. MISBO last offered this program in 2015 for a sold out group and we expect the same for 2017. This is a unique program focused specifically on the needs of human resources professionals in independent schools. The sessions are presented by a mix of your colleagues and industry experts, as well as a keynote presentation by Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a Senior Research Scientist in Psychology at Yale University. This will be an exciting, interactive session. I hope to see you in Atlanta June 11-13, 2017 for this event.

A final thought – last week I had the opportunity to visit Galloway School and I spent time with Head of School Suzanna Jemsby. We were discussing a variety of important issues facing independent schools, including the impending challenge our schools will face recruiting the next generation of leaders, especially women leaders and educators of color. Galloway School is offering an opportunity for ”passionate educators of color who are looking to grow in their careers and make an impact on education through leadership in an independent school.” The BOLD Summit will be held in Atlanta July 17-20, 2017. I would encourage any of you considering leadership to look at this opportunity. More information can be found here.


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO

We power independent schools.™

From → MISBO

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