PSBA's Legislative Platform

Identifying the issues, influencing legislation and shaping the debate on key education issues

2014 Platform as adopted by the PSBA Delegate Assembly, Oct. 15, 2013

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, the PSBA Delegate Assembly adopted an official platform for the association for 2014, consisting of the following resolutions and legislative proposals. The date in parentheses following certain planks indicate when the item was adopted as new or revised by the Legislative Policy Council.  

General Principles

Recognizing that learning is a lifelong process, it is resolved that PSBA: work in cooperation with parents, guardians, students, school district staff, community groups and others toward the establishment and maintenance of child-centered public education as a local, state and national priority; support reform for the betterment of public education that prepares students to be productive citizens; and promote the achievements of public schools, students and local school boards. PSBA's members will hold the state Legislature and individuals accountable for actions that legislators take that create or increase inadequately funded mandates and/or force school districts to raise taxes.

PSBA will assert school boards' authority to prioritize educational policy, administration, and curriculum in order to best balance local educational practices, available resources, public input and accountability. PSBA opposes any policy initiative that is inadequately funded, diminishes educational opportunities for all children, undermines board governance, or minimizes communities' investment in their schools.

PSBA's Legislative Priorities

Identifying the issues:  Drafting and adopting PSBA's legislative platform

PSBA's legislative platform, which is drafted and approved annually by school directors, serves as PSBA's official record of positions on legislative issues and is the guide for the association's advocacy efforts. This means that PSBA staff will support or oppose pending legislation that aligns with platform positions and also will draft legislation that corresponds with platform statements.

The adoption process formally begins during the spring and summer when PSBA invites school boards to submit their proposals to be considered for the association's legislative platform for the coming year. All proposals must be formally approved by a majority of the school board and verified by the board secretary prior to submission.

Boards may submit new proposals as well as revisions to the current platform and include a brief statement of rationale for each proposal submitted. The rationale includes a summary of the reasons the board believes this issue should be addressed in the platform, any specific problems the district has encountered and how the board believes the problem could be resolved. In addition, boards are encouraged to submit any data related to the issue as it affects the district or any draft language that could be crafted into proposed legislation. This information is shared with the PSBA Platform Committee and is helpful to the association's Governmental & Member Relations staff in its advocacy efforts.

Proposals and accompanying rationale can be submitted to PSBA in three ways: 1) By completing a form provided by PSBA and published in select issues of the School Leader News and also mailed to school board secretaries; 2) by sending the proposal on school district stationery; or 3) by using the online submission form on PSBA's Web site.

PSBA Platform Committee

The next step in the process is for the PSBA Platform Committee to review proposals. This standing committee meets once a year, typically in August, prior to the School Leadership Conference. The members deliberate and vote on all items submitted to PSBA for consideration in the platform. Proposals that receive committee approval are then presented to the Delegate Assembly for further discussion and a final vote.

The Platform Committee is comprised of PSBA officers and representatives of the association's 15 state regions and five organizational departments. Two members are appointed by each of the regional directors. Anyone interested in serving a one-year term on the Platform Committee should submit his or her name to the regional director or to PSBA, which will provide it to the regional director for consideration.

In addition, the Platform Committee includes one member appointed by each of the association department presidents. The departments are: Department of School Board Secretaries and Affiliates, School Board Solicitors Association, Association of Educational Office Professionals, Pupil Transportation Association and Association of Career & Technical Administrators.

The Delegate Assembly

Under the changes to the governance structure and PSBA Bylaws that were approved in October 2012, a new Delegate Assembly was created and met for the first time in 2013. Under the new bylaws, the Delegate Assembly will meet immediately prior to the start of the annual conference in the fall to make the final determination on which recommended proposals will be incorporated into PSBA's legislative platform for the coming year.

The number of appointees to the Delegate Assembly and manner of selection will be the same as they were for voting delegates for the Legislative Policy Council.  Representatives from every PSBA member entity may serve as voting delegates to the Delegate Assembly. Only board members and board secretaries are eligible to serve as voting delegates.

Under the association's bylaws, school boards appoint their voting delegates as follows:

  • First-class school districts may have four voting delegates.
  • Second-class districts may have three voting delegates.
  • Third-class districts may have two voting delegates.
  • Fourth-class 1districts, intermediate units, career-technical schools and other PSBA member entities may have one voting delegate.
  • No representative may be appointed by or represent more than one member entity.

Linked here is a PowerPoint presentation to use with your board to explain the platform adoption process.  

Selecting priority issues and meeting with legislators

PSBA's advocacy efforts include the selection of priority issues from items in the platform. Once the priorities are chosen, school directors meet at the local level with their legislators. PSBA assists in arranging these meetings.  The meetings takes place in the spring so that school directors may discuss priority issues while the General Assembly is making key decisions on the new state budget that must be finalized by June 30. 

Unlike the annual adoption of the platform, the selection of priority issues is done every two years to correspond with the two-year sessions of the General Assembly. Selection of the priorities is also to be completed by the Delegate Assembly. This will be effective for the selection of priorities for the 2015-16 legislative session. 

For the 2013-14 session, PSBA will be focusing its legislative advocacy efforts for the 2013-13 session on three key issues: addressing the pension crisis, enacting meaningful charter school reform measures, and increasing funding for basic education. These legislative priority issues were selected by the PSBA Board of Directors under an interim process until the work of the association's new Delegate Assembly is in place.