2017 IASB Employee Relations Conference

Employees are the board's most important resource. 

Thanks to all who attended and made this conference such a success. Check for conference handouts and presentations below. 

Opening General Sessions

You Reap What You Sow: Models for Staff Management Engagement , Jim Hanks and Drew Bracken, Shareholders, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.     View Handout
Recent changes to law have narrowed the scope of collective bargaining in Iowa. However, those changes have not removed the importance of maintaining a positive district culture that is focused on improving student achievement. This session will explore options districts can use to increase communication with staff and the possible pros and cons of each.
Iowa Public Employment Relations Board Update - Amber DeSmet, Administrative Law Judge, Iowa PERB     View Presentation
One of the more significant changes House File 291 made to collective bargaining was to require all employee organizations to hold re-certification elections to maintain their ability to negotiate. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will provide an update on the re-certification election process, as well as recent negotiability decisions and other information related to school districts collective bargaining.

Afternoon General Session

Free Speech, Social Media and  Your Employees: How to Get it Right - Derrick Franck, Senior Member, Franck and Sextro, P.L.C.     View Presentation  
School districts are charged with implementing staff conduct policies that promote student achievement and respect staff members’ first amendment rights. This can be difficult in our current political environment. This session will focus on the issues surrounding employee free speech in Iowa schools, including political speech on and off school grounds, criticism of school district policies and employees, and practical tips that districts can use.

Closing General Session

School Access: Legal Implications and Practical Applications - Miriam Van Heukelem, Shareholder, Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. and  Pam Rosa Safety Compliance Specialist, Des Moines Schools     View Presentation
Controlling access to school buildings is important to maintaining a positive school culture where staff and students feel safe. Learn from experts in school safety about the considerations and practical approach to maintaining safe school buildings.

Morning Breakout Sessions

Is Alternative Licensure Right For Your District?     View Presentation

Joanne Tubbs, Consultant, Iowa Board of Educational Examiners; LuAnn Haase, Associate Professor, Morningside College

Having a hard time recruiting teachers in hard to fill areas? Are traditional methods not working anymore? This session will provide an overview of alternative licensure in Iowa. Hear from experts about the options available to districts, the licensure implications, what districts can expect from new teachers who have completed the teaching intern program and how alternative licensure can be used for recruitment.

Ethical Considerations Related to HR     View Presentation
Mary Jane Vens, Board Development Director, IASB; Josie Lewis, Director of Human Resources, West Des Moines Schools

Boards want the best possible staffing to serve the needs of students. But what can they know and say about what is actually happening in schools? How can the board be conscientious about their role as governance leaders and still stimulate and promote high quality interactions between staff and students? This session will provide guiding principles to help board members make informed decisions as they interact with employees and the public, around issues involving staff.

Planning for Initial Negotiations and Proposals, After House File 291     View Presentation  
Joe Kramer, Superintendent, Pocahontas Area Schools; Tony Voss, Superintendent, Hudson Schools 

The changes in Iowa's collective bargaining laws have altered the scope of negotiations, including the mandatory, permissive, and illegal topics of bargaining. How are districts preparing for negotiations and initial proposals given these changes? Hear how two districts are approaching this process and what they are taking into consideration as they plan and prepare.

Introducing IASB's New Teacher Compensation and Benefits Toolkit     View Presentation

Shawn Snyder, Finance Support Director and Eric Howard, HR Services Director, IASB

An overview of the new IASB Teacher Compensation and Benefits Toolkit (formerly the Collective Bargaining Toolkit), including new data detailing last year’s settlements and other features in the new tool. Learn how to use this new toolkit to make informed decisions that will benefit your district.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Website Accessibility: What You Should Know     View Presentation

Rebecca Reif, Shareholder, Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. 

Is your school district's website “accessible” for persons with disabilities? Does your district know how to handle a complaint? In the last year, access to websites and other electronic content has emerged as the “new frontier” of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Hundreds of school districts nationwide are negotiating with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) over complaints, and individuals are filing lawsuits. This presentation will explain the concept of “web accessibility,” the governing laws,and what steps to take before and during an OCR investigation or lawsuit.

School District Stories on Collective Bargaining     

Stan Rheingans, Superintendent and Phil Kramer, HR Director, Dubuque Schools; Justin Wagner, Superintendent, Harlan Schools 

House File 291 presented Iowa school districts with a tough choice: settle before the bill was signed to maintain the status quo or settle after and enter a new era of bargaining. Hear the experiences of two districts that settled after House File 291 was signed.

Drafting and Utilizing Your Employee Handbook     View Presentation
Kim Lingenfelter, Superintendent, Cherokee Schools

What changes are districts making to their employee handbook in response to the collective bargaining changes? What considerations should your district think about when making updates and changes? In this session, attendees will learn about one district's employee handbook, how it was developed and how it is being utilized.

Prevention of Child Sex Abuse: What School Leaders Should Know 
Liz Cox, Board Member, West Des Moines Schools   
View Presentation
Additional resources: 
Child Sex Abuse Prevention Questionnaire for Schools and Other Organizations
20 Boundary Violating Behaviors
Prevention Guide for Parents

This presentation goes beyond mandatory reporting to address ways to prevent harm to children. The dialogue sets the tone for a frank conversation about a topic that can be incredibly difficult to talk about, yet if not discussed can put students and schools in jeopardy. This presentation provides concrete actions school leaders can take to reduce risks of sexual abuse incidents in schools.


Early registration is $140 for IASB members. Fee includes program, materials and lunch. After Oct. 6, the fee increases to $170.


Room blocks are available until October 12 at Prairie Meadows Hotel for $55 for a King/Queen rooms. Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 325-9015.


   For more information, contact Marte Brightman at mbrightman@ia-sb.org or by phone (515) 247-7048.

Conference attendees earn
15 Better Boardsmanship credits!

Learn more about
Better Boardsmanship Awards