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Articles: Business & Finance

Students from Richard J. Lee Elementary School, part of Coppell ISD in Dallas, have a lesson in the school garden.

Districts recovering from the recession and in need of new buildings and renovations can save money over time by building net-zero energy schools, architects say.

Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD offered space to an energy research firm, a business that converts wastewater into electricity and the builders of a solar-powered boat.

Faced with a nearly 40 percent decrease in enrollment and a middle school at 33 percent capacity, Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD in upstate New York offered empty space to startup companies. 

R. Pepper Crutcher, Jr., is a labor and employment attorney with Balch & Bingham LLP’s Affordable Care Act Strategists Practice Group. He regularly advises businesses, schools and other entities on their obligations under the Affordable Care Act.

An enforcement agency writes a rule to solve a specific problem. Applied to other situations, the rule makes less sense.

Will the agency restrict enforcement to those situations clearly referenced in the rule or will the agency enforce the rule more broadly? Among Affordable Care Act watchers, this is a common question.

Parsing the rule

Here’s an example. Do the IRS Employer Shared Responsibility Cost final rules convert substitutes into full-time teachers for employer mandate purposes?

Janice M. Tkaczyk is the national director for counselor and academic relations at Universal Technical Institute. She spent 35 years in public education, including 30 as the guidance director at a regional, technical high school.

In today’s education landscape, it’s common for teachers, school counselors and administrators to encourage students to graduate high school and earn a four-year college degree.

For years, we have seen this as the “right” path and perhaps the only path to success. But this one-size-fits-all approach isn’t a viable one. While many graduating seniors are excited to head off to college, many students with great skills and big dreams are struggling to decide on their next step. So, what’s the right path for those students?

Ohio administrators may face pressure to keep more art and music teachers, nurses, librarians and other staff, but have more control to reduce the numbers.

An Ohio law requiring certain ratios of art teachers, nurses, librarians and other staff was struck down by the state board of education in April.

The state now joins most others nationwide that allow local administrators to control personnel decisions, and superintendents are facing pressure to keep these positions amid budget cuts.

Tom Wohlleber, assistant superintendent for business services for Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, leads a safety session with administrators and teachers.

A “culture of safety”—at all levels of a district—is the first and most critical step in dealing with occupational injury. It also guides the prevention of, response to and mitigation of hazards in the workplace, including staff behavior.

46 states provide additional funding dedicated to ELL education, says a March report from the Education Commission of the States. (Click to enlarge)

English language learners (ELLs) perform better academically and achieve greater language proficiency when they have high-quality English language instruction, according to a 2014 study in the American Educational Research Journal.

These extra programs require additional funding above the average per-student amount.

A high school student in North Carolina's Newton-Conover City Schools won a grant to purchase a 3D printer, and built a mechanical hand for a student with limited mobility.

Superintendent David Stegall of Newton-Conover City Schools in North Carolina had a simple idea two years ago: The fees collected when community groups rent district facilities—instead of going to the general fund—could be given to students and staff to develop innovative programs.

The Innovative Grant program launched last spring. In its first year, students, teachers, parents and community members were awarded between $500 and $1,500 to bring a variety of projects to life.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions.

Gaps in high school graduation rates are narrowing. National Center for Education Statistics data shows that nearly every racial and ethnic subgroup has seen a growth in graduation rates.

President Barack Obama’s proposed FY16 budget invests in programs that have improved student outcomes. Some highlights that will provide more funds for college-and-career readiness include:

Katy ISD superintendent Alton L. Frailey was elected 2015-16 president-elect of AASA.

Alton L. Frailey, superintendent of Katy ISD in Texas and president of the Texas Association of School Administrators, was elected 2015-16 president-elect of AASA, and will begin his post in July.

Frailey became Katy ISD chief in 2007, after previously serving as chief of DeSoto ISD in Texas and Cincinnati Public Schools. “AASA champions the efforts to improve the lives” of public school children, Frailey says. “I look forward to advancing the mission in my new role.”

Georgia’s Gwinnett County Public Schools board and Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, on right, work together to gain trust.

Although a strong partnership between school board and superintendent is widely seen as crucial to district success, administrators and the non-educators filling board seats do not always receive training in how a disparate group of individuals becomes an effective team.

Predictive analytics is becoming more common in both public- and private-sector hiring.

Big data and analytics now offer districts some clues about which teacher candidates will be the most effective in the classroom.

These programs are designed to accurately gauge the impact teacher candidates will have on student test scores. Analytics companies such as TeacherMatch and Hanover Research are working with hundreds of districts nationwide to aid in the hiring process.

Presidio ISD, a remote, Title I, poverty-stricken Texas border district with a 98 percent Hispanic population, didn’t let limited financial resources block its goal of cultivating college-going ambitions among its nearly 1,400 students.

By leveraging a University of Texas partnership and creating a technology-infused community initiative, Superintendent Dennis McEntire and the district offered students remote access to learning opportunities over 200 miles away.

Tim Markley is superintendent at New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Our growing district faced numerous facility challenges in the fall of 2013. The only way to address these needs was with a $160 million school bond—the largest in our district’s history. What made this campaign different for us was the extensive use of social media and a very coordinated information campaign.

Students who have lived through tragedy—from Newtown, Connecticut, to Joplin, Missouri—have found comfort in a source not often seen in schools: golden retrievers.

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