By Deanna Mayer, CPA, CFO, MSBO Board President, Director of Finance and Human Resources, Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD
The Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (UPISD) and its 18 constituent districts have a long history of collaboration that has resulted in the creation of a strong infrastructure. That infrastructure includes all aspects of teaching, learning, compliance, and fiscal management and is crucial in supporting our local districts.
In 2011, our formal Business Services Consortium was created. In 2012, we all worked together to move under the umbrella of one finance system with a common account number structure, common deduction codes, and common ORS codes, which allows our districts to share in specialized report writing. This level of district to ISD collaboration is possible because of the decades of prior collaboration leading to this innovative step.
The unique geography of the region, which includes approximately 4,000 square miles, several island schools, and harsh winters, has provided both challenges and opportunities. Our history includes early use of various technologies to keep our districts well connected and enhanced opportunities for students, teachers, and administrators across the region. A cornerstone of the region’s collaboration around technology is the well-established “tech consortium” which has been in place for more than 25 years.
We currently provide services, in some manner, to thirteen of our districts. The EUPISD business office is known for its attention to detail and tracking around local, state and federal projects. We have cross-training and back up support on all aspects and are able to step in and help each other to ensure the most efficient operations within any of the districts we work with.
In recent years, this collaboration has allowed our districts to come together and create positions that are shared among districts to provide unique opportunities to our staff and students. Opportunities our districts would otherwise not be able to afford on their own. As we all have fewer staff doing more with less funding, we need our systems to work for us and provide us accurate information, available when we need it. We need to be able to meet & communicate effectively.
The definition of “collaboration” can be described in two ways – the “action of working together to produce or create something” or “traitorous cooperation with an enemy.” I like to think that since we are all working together for the same reason – providing every possible opportunity to our students – that we are collaborating with the spirit of intention to create. The Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD districts do not consider each other an “enemy,” rather, we are finding ways to survive and provide for our students so they can have as many opportunities and offerings as possible given our size and geographic challenges.
I challenge all of you, find a way to collaborate within your region, district, building, or classroom and see the powerful outcomes that can come from working together for a common goal – opportunities for the next generation!
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Challenge Yourself with the MSBO Leadership Institute
- Investing in MSBO Members: Certification Track Scholarships
- MSBO Board Elections: Thinking of Running?
- MSBO Update – David Martell
- Piper and Stebbins Scholarships are an MSBO Tradition
- Recognizing MSBO Members
- Save the Date! Don’t Miss out on These Professional Development Opportunities.
- Welcome New Members
- What Is Your Mindset? – Tim Peraino