MASBO Newsletter

June 2014

In this issue:

Welcome New Members!

Active Members

  • Rotimi Lamikanra, Paladin Academy
  • Teri Patterson, Columbia Heights Public Schools

Associate Members

  • Michael Korf, RJ Ahmann Company
  • Janeen Fettig, McKinstry
  • Craig Wieber, Springsted Inc.


Publication Policy

Published monthly by the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials – MASBO.

The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the beliefs or policies of MASBO or its members. Articles should be generic, avoiding the tone of promotion or advertisement. Articles should address and create an awareness of new information or issues relevant to members' job responsibilities. Articles can be up to 1,000 words in length. The author's name/company name will be credited to the article. Articles may be reprinted in the publications of ASBO affiliates if credit is given to MASBO.

MASBO Newsletter articles, announcements, job openings, retirements, career recognitions, promotions, etc., may be submitted by the first of each month to Connie Nordquist.


President’s Message

By Bruce Lamprecht, MASBO President

Bruce LamprechtOver this past month I have taken time to reflect on having been the president of MASBO for the 2013-2014 year. I remember changing jobs and careers back in January 1994 and joining the ranks as the business manager for a school district. At the time, I really didn’t necessarily know what I was getting myself into and a friend of mine, Lee Warne, who had been a superintendent and was the service cooperative director at that time, schooled me on the different funds and everything he knew about school business. But he gave me the best advice when he said I should join MASBO, as that is where I can really learn about the profession not only from the workshops and programs, but from my colleagues, as well.

That first year when I attended the MASBO annual conference, I was directed to the new member orientation and learned about all the things that the organization had going on and all of the learning opportunities that were available. I was initially overwhelmed by it all — but had also been told by Lee that I should look up his former business manager, Donn Hanson, from when they had been together at West Central Area Schools. This was good advice, too, as I learned from Donn the importance of networking and developing and building strong relationships and friendships. Back then I had no idea that 20 years later I would be president of MASBO but it is because of you, my fellow members, that I have been encouraged and supported to serve in that role. As I remarked at the annual conference, I have been truly humbled and honored to be your president this year. It has been a remarkable experience.

Speaking of remarkable experiences, wasn’t the annual conference another great event? Kudos to Heide Miller, Connie Nordquist, Dan Tait and Ewald Consulting for organizing and putting on a wonderful conference. Considering we lost our keynote speaker two days before he was scheduled to present, I think our “sub,” Ross Bernstein and his presentation, “The Champions Code,” served our membership extremely well. All in all, the conference came off without a hitch and we take away fond memories from Breezy Point but look forward with anticipation to making new ones in Duluth.

Congratulations to Kelly Benusa on being recognized as the School Business Official of the Year and to Val Mertesdorf on being named the Rising Star. Both are very deserving of these awards for their dedication and leadership in our association and profession. I would also like to congratulate Tom Deans, who received the Associate Leaders Award.

I want to give thanks to my fellow board members (past and current) and Connie, our Executive Director, for their support and leadership while I have served our association. Margo Bauck will leave the board at the end of this month. She deserves special thanks for the leadership and guidance that she has provided to our organization. We appreciate her commitment and support of MASBO.

As I close my final newsletter, I want to congratulate and extend my support to Heide Miller as she serves MASBO as President for 2014-2015. The organization will be well served by Heide and the Board. Have a great summer, and thank you for the opportunity to serve you!

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By Connie Nordquist, MASBO Executive Director

Connie NordquistIt was wonderful to see so many of you at the Annual Conference in May. Thanks to all of our members who attended, planned, presented and exhibited at the MASBO Annual Conference. Presentation handouts from the annual conference are available on our website. All conference attendees were emailed a link to a post-conference survey, and I hope you took a few minutes to share your comments. Please also feel free to contact me to give additional feedback and ideas.

For our active members (those performing school business functions) this is renewal time, as our membership year ends on June 30. Renewals can be completed at any time by simply going to your individual profile page on the MASBO website. Effective July 1, membership fees for both Active and Associate members will increase slightly. Membership rates had not changed since 2005 — and although MASBO is in a strong financial position now, it is important that we accommodate for rising costs, and ensure that this financial position continues well into the future.

With this new membership year starting, we are excited to be able to offer a new program from ASBO International to all MASBO active members who are not currently ASBO members — participation in the Global School Business Network. The Global School Business Network is ASBO International’s online networking community, designed especially for school business officials. Through the Network, you can:

  • Connect with thousands of school business professionals online.
  • Access useful tools and resources.
  • Share and read articles on trending school business topics.
  • Receive relevant news and exchange information.
  • Join online discussions and solve problems in real time.

This will be rolled out to our members in the fall, so be sure to watch for more information on this exciting new benefit!

We are busy getting ready for the Legislative Conference, to be held June 3. This conference is a great way to get a recap of the past session, and learn how it will impact us. This year, an audio recording of the conference will be made, and available on our website after the event. For those of you unable to join us on June 3, I hope you can take some time to listen in on this valuable information.

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New Board Members Elected at Annual Conference

Tina Burkholder Kim Eisenschenk

Tina Burkholder, MASBO's new
Vice President.

Kim Eisenschenk has
been elected as a
MASBO Director.

At the annual Business Meeting held at the conference, Tina Burkholder (Monticello Schools) was elected as Vice President, and Kim Eisenschenk (Sauk Rapids-Rice Schools) was elected as Director to the MASBO Board. Directors typically serve a three-year term, and at that time may choose to continue on as Vice President, President Elect, President and finally Past President. Thanks to Tina for her continued service on the Board, and congratulations to Kim on her election to the Board. Their terms will begin July 1.

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Awards Presented at Annual Conference

One of the highlights of our Annual Conference is the presentation of our awards, and this year we recognized three individuals:

Kelly Benusa Named School Business Official of the Year

School Business Official of the Year Award
Kent Johnson of PMA (left), and MASBO President
Bruce Lamprecht present the School Business
Official of the Year award to Kelly Benusa.

Kelly Benusa, Director of Business Services at Osseo Public Schools, was named the 2014 Minnesota School Business Official of the Year. The award, presented at the MASBO Annual Conference, was created to recognize outstanding school business professionals, and the great value they bring to their districts and communities. There were numerous well-qualified candidates from throughout the state, and the nominations were reviewed by a panel of individuals from the education field.

Kelly has served in her current role at ISD 279 since 2001, and prior to that time, was a manager at MMKR. In her current role, Kelly has helped transform her district’s budgeting process through development of a long-range financial planning framework that provided coherence between the district strategic plan and the allocation of resources. This not only improved the financial outlook for the district, but also increased community engagement.

Kelly has served on the MDE Advisory Committee on Financial Management, Accounting and Reporting. She has also been an active participant of MASBO and ASBO, having served on MASBO committees, presented at educational sessions for both organizations, and holds the Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations (SFO) Certification.

Our thanks to PMA Financial Network for its continued sponsorship of this award program.


Valori Mertesdorf Receives Rising Star Award

Rising Star Award
Valori Mertesdorf receives the Rising Star Award from MASBO President Bruce Lamprecht.

Valori Mertesdorf, Director of Finance at Northfield Schools, was presented with the MASBO Rising Star Award at the annual conference. Val joined the district in 2011 as District Accountant, and was promoted to Director of Finance in 2013. During this brief time, Val has created several new initiatives, such as implementing the district’s first procurement card procedures, and developing an operational “dashboard” that has been valuable in tracking budget activity.

In addition, she has been a key part of the District Services Leadership Team, and has been instrumental in developing strategies for significant collaboration and alignment of district-level services within the district mission and vision.

The Rising Star Award was created to recognize and acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of MASBO Active Members with a minimum of two, and not more than seven years of experience in the profession. Our thanks to John Siffert, who, through a generous legacy gift, makes this award possible.


Tom Deans Recognized with MASBO Associate Leaders Award

Tom Deans Associate Leaders Award
Tom Deans, recipient of
MASBO Associate
Leaders Award.

MASBO’s Associate Leaders Award (ALA) was created to recognize an individual associate member who has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the school business profession; it is awarded every other year. At the annual conference, the award was presented to Tom Deans of Knutson, Flynn and Deans.

Tom has served as legal counsel to numerous Minnesota school districts and cities in the areas of municipal and school finance, reorganization, elections, legislation and school and municipal law. He is general counsel to the Minnesota School Boards Association and served as the legal part of the MSBA lobbying team from 1978 through 2011. He also represents the Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus (MSDLAF). Tom has been a trusted colleague, advisor and friend to MASBO members and districts throughout the state, and has also served as a presenter at our annual Legislative conference for many years.

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Energy Conservation Initiatives: Being Green and Saving Green

By Gary Sabart, TSP Architects and Engineers

What’s in your wallet? Some hard earned cash, or maybe a thick clump of receipts? Whichever condition your wallet may favor, you likely have heard this question posed by actor Samuel L. Jackson in Capital One commercials promoting its new cash-back rewards credit card. From the onslaught of these commercials to making purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and department stores, it’s evident how popular reward programs have become. School Districts are not exempt from this saving and reward trend. Districts can cash in on being green, while at the same time saving green.

Good Habit-Forming Behavior

Businesses set up reward programs to attract more of your business through incentive-laden programs creating “buy-in” for the businesses’ products or services. The more you purchase, the more you save, or the more rewards you earn. Reward programs can also create “buy-in” and be an incentive to changing behaviors for important energy conservation or recycling initiatives in schools. Districts can organize energy conservation challenges between schools with the building that saves the most energy being rewarded with a pizza or ice cream party. Of course, not all efforts need to entice participants with pizza or a reward to make a positive impact. Oftentimes, educating people to do the right thing by conserving energy and consequently saving money is reward enough.

Several companies offer programs to encourage behavior change to conserve energy. These programs provide resources to educate and engage all stakeholders, and tools to measure and track savings. One local program has been implemented in more than 800 schools in seven states including Minnesota, helping districts reduce energy usage and collectively avoid more than $34 million in energy costs.

Energy Savings Performance Contracts

Energy savings performance contracts (ESPC) are a method for school districts to implement large energy conservation measures (ECMs) through a third-party Energy Service Company (ESCO). ESPCs are typically executed for larger school buildings or a set of buildings with a project cost greater than $500,000. The table summarizes some of the advantages and disadvantages of energy savings performance contracting.

Advantages of Performance Contracting

Disadvantages of Performance Contracting

Accountability. The performance contractor is the single point of financial and technical accountability for all project measures.

Long contract term. Performance contractors typically seek arrangements that last from 5 to 10 years, a duration that can be problematic for some local governments.

Risk reduction. By guaranteeing a minimum level of performance, the contractor takes away much of the risk for non-performance of the project from the building or facility owner.

Higher project costs. Costs associated with the performance guarantee and other services will typically increase the overall cost of a project by 10 percent or more over an in-house approach.

No capital outlay. A performance contract eliminates the need for the owner to make capital investments. All contractor outlays are considered off-balance-sheet costs to the building owner.

Comparative evaluations. Because services, features, and guarantees may vary significantly among performance contractors, comparing their offerings may be difficult.

Levelized cash flow. Generally, payments are structured to maintain a constant fee schedule funded fully or in part from the savings the owner realizes.


Source: Guide to Financing EnergySmart Schools, U.S. Department of Energy, Page 25.

Technical Assistance for Minnesota School Districts

In 2011, Gov. Dayton issued Executive Order 11-12 establishing the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. GESP provides state agencies, local governments and school districts participating in the program with the technical, contractual and financial assistance to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements through Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC). GESP is a self-funding program with improvements paid for over time from guaranteed energy, operation and maintenance savings. Local governments and school districts need to enter into a Joint Powers Agreement with the Department of Commerce to access the GESP Master Contract and technical assistance.


Download for free Class5’s Ultimate Guide to Saving Energy & Money In Schools
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) Financial incentive programs in Minnesota
Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts, Funded by U.S. Department of Energy, April 2013
Energy Star K-12 School Resources
123B.65 Energy-Efficiency Projects for School Districts, 2013 Minnesota Statutes

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Two Funding Opportunities Available

“Now is the Time” Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grant opportunity: Funding goes primarily for professional development and training of school staff to recognize mental health problems and help students get resources and help. Due June 16, 2014. Up to $50,000 is awarded per year.

School Climate Transformation Grant/Local Education Agency: Funding is diverse and can be used to: 1) build capacity for implementing a sustained, school-wide multi-tiered behavioral framework; 2) enhance capacity by providing training and technical assistance to schools; and 3) include an assurance that the applicant will work with a technical assistance provider, such as the PBIS Technical Assistance Center funded by the Department, to ensure that technical assistance related to implementing program activities is provided. Due June 23, 2014. Award is up to $750,000 per year.

*Please note: In order to qualify for the Now is the Time grant, you must also apply for the School Climate Transformation Grant-Local Education Agency.

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Member Profile – JoDell Timm

In an effort to better connect MASBO members with each other, the Membership Committee provides a “Member Profile” column in the monthly newsletters. If you or someone you know, would like to provide an article, please contact Jean Personius, Membership Committee Chair.

I am JoDell Timm, currently Finance Manager for United South Central Schools ISD 2134 in Wells, Minnesota. I graduated from Bricelyn High School in 1975 and Mankato Commercial College in 1977 with a Senior Accounting degree. Following my education in Mankato, I landed an accounting job with Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa. I married my husband Dan, a Bricelyn farmer, in July 1978. The accounting job at the Bricelyn School ISD 217 opened up, I applied, and the rest is history.

I started working for the school on September 18, 1978. In 1978 the schools used the “gray manual” for accounting guidelines. Everything was done manually – both finance and payroll. Eventually we went to FINIBIM, where the work was saved on a floppy disk; we mailed both finance and payroll to Region V, where they printed the checks and the reports on 11 x 17 paper and mailed everything back to us. We then moved on to SMART FINANCE. With my many years of experience, I carry a lot of history of the Minnesota school district accounting system and all the changes that have occurred over the years in accounting and reporting, special education and education as a whole. Business personnel have EDRS, SERVS, MARSS, SWIFT, GASB, IDEAS – to name a few – which continually change and make our lives at work “interesting.” We all are continually learning.

The last graduating class of Bricelyn was 1987. The Bricelyn Braves were no more and we became the South Central Warriors, sharing with Kiester-Walters ISD 222. Bricelyn/Kiester managed to hang on until 1991 when it graduated its last class.

In 1991, we paired with Freeborn ISD 244 and Wells-Easton ISD 224. Each of the four districts maintained its own set of books and things got really interesting with coding of chargebacks to each school.

On July 1, 1993, the four districts of ISD 217, ISD 222, ISD 244 and ISD 224 consolidated to form the current United South Central Schools ISD 2134. It was a matter of time when we had to close schools because of declining enrollment. Bricelyn Elementary was the first to close in 1998. The following year Freeborn Middle School closed, but the district formed Freeborn Sober School, which remained open until 2005. Kiester Middle School was the last to close in 2008 before we became a K-12 School in Wells.

On August 14, 2012, the voters of the United South Central School district approved building a new K-12 building; plans are for completion in July 2014 and for school year 2014-2015 to be held in the new facility.

JoDell Timm and StephanieI am retiring June 30, 2014, after 35 years, 9 months with the district. During this time, I have raised two daughters with strong work ethics, values, and an appreciation of education. Sarah, our eldest, attended the University of Minnesota obtaining her B.S. in Nutrition and Master’s in Public Health. She currently works as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and is attending the University of St. Thomas to obtain a MBA in Health Care Management. Our second daughter, Stephanie, attended Minnesota State University – Mankato, obtaining a triple major in Accounting, Finance, and Human Resource Management. She currently works for the Albert Lea Area Schools ISD 241 as Coordinator of Business Services and has started back part-time at Minnesota State University – Mankato to obtain her Master’s. (JoDell and Stephanie are shown in the photo at left – both attended the MASBO Annual Conference this year!)

Both girls received scholarships from the School Business Officials Scholarship Fund; this was much appreciated. They both love school, and the money was put to good use!

During my career I have worked for a number of Superintendents. You may recognize some of these names: Francis Lee Mears, Interim James Schmidt, James Hauder, Everett Harvey, Lowell Mohn, Robert Dell, Frank Lorentz, Interim Donald Berkland, Robert Stuerman, Interim Keith Klein, Interim John Widvey, and currently Dr. Jerry Jensen. Twelve bosses in 36 years — that’s quite a turnover! It seems to go with the territory for small schools.

My work and family have been my life. I do not have many hobbies, but plan to spend more time with my two grandchildren (Logan, age 7 and Keegan, age 3) who live in Roseville (Mounds View School District) and get more time for exercise, reading and time with friends and family. My husband and I enjoy movies and traveling to warmer climates in the winter months.

Region V – Mankato, the MN Dept. of Education employees, former and current colleagues and MASBO have been invaluable resources in my career. They have been a strong support system for me. I enjoy learning — and school district accounting is truly a career where you are continuously learning. Education is constantly changing and many changes are always being made in regards to state funding and reporting. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my career.

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