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TRI-STATE’S 11th CONFERENCE – “Changing Tides”

"Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -Robert F. Kennedy

For our 11th annual conference, the Cliff House Resort & Spa provided us with a panoramic view of Maine’s beautiful and rugged coastline, and our conference assisted us in changing the landscape of our everyday workplaces.
As I reflect on the above quote, I begin to realize the extent to which our fostering of new methods and initiatives enables us to collectively create a ripple that creates a new paradigm resulting in a new vision.

The 11th Annual Tri-State ASBO Conference will go down in history as having the highest attendance with 156 registered attendees. There were 51 attendees from Maine, 57 from New Hampshire, and 48 from Vermont. We thank you for your continued support and growing attendance at the Tri-State conference.

The three-day conference commenced on Wednesday, May 14, with a morning general session on GASB 34. Greg Chabot, a CPA from Runyon, Kersteen and Ouellette, did a presentation that focused on the implementation of GASB 34 with practical guidance in establishing record fixed assets and infrastructure, and reformatting financial statements to comply with the new reporting. Mike Trojano, Business Administrator for SAU#40 in Milford, New Hampshire and Bill Hall, Accounting Specialist at SAD#6 in Bar Mills, Maine, assisted Greg by offering a question and answer inquiry session on the pros and cons of their GASB 34 implementation. Their extensive insight into the new GASB requirements has undoubtedly helped us to answer the following question: "How do I implement GASB 34 and still maintain my sanity?" Great Job, guys!

The morning concluded with two concurrent workshop sessions in technology: "Personal Digital Assistant [PDA] Introduction" presented by Richard Abramson, Superintendent Of Schools in Union #42 and "Interactive Classroom Technology" by Susan Mexcur, Marketing Manager of Headlight Audio Visual. These sessions were very well attended, which continues to demonstrate that training in use of technology is a high priority.

The technology theme continued into the afternoon sessions which offered six concurrent technology workshops, including "Excel and Powerpoint Training," "PDA Novice/Advanced," "Powerschool Web-based Student Information," "Management and Information Highway Navigation on the Internet." Our special thanks go to our presenters Connie Hyslop, President of Hyslop & Associates; Larry Frazier, Principal/Technology Coordinator; John Martin, Technology Coordinator of Yarmouth, Maine schools; Deb Pluck, University of Maine in Farmington; and Ken Camp, Technical Consultant of Hill Associates.

The day ended with a delicious downeast feast during which attendees were treated to Foster’s famous clambake, and DJ and humorist Leighton Holt provided us with entertainment. A real Maine tradition lives on!

Our conference offerings have increased over the years, as has our ability to incorporate student entertainment. These students are a reminder to us that they are the primary reason why we are in this business.

Thursday morning breakfast ‘s session began with a special treat provided by Portsmouth High School’s Madrigal Singers. What a way to kick off our conference!

Dr. Henry Scipione, Superintendent of the York School District, officially opened the 11th Annual Tri-State Conference with a heartfelt Maine welcome. Dr. Scipione was awestruck by the extent of professional development opportunities listed in our colorful brochure. The brochure’s extensive offerings illustrated our ability to network to capitalize on this group’s talents and creativity.

Two general sessions kicked off Thursday’s highlight. Sam Pennington, Chair of SAD#40’s School Board and owner of the Maine Antique Digest in Waldoboro, Maine, conducted the first session. He shared his company’s philosophy and elaborated on business practices employed by the private sector that can help us manage the business of public schools.

Our second general session had standing room only. Attorneys Harry Pringle and Eric Herlan of Drummond, Woodsum & MacMahon in Portland, Maine; Bill Reedy, Esq., State DOE, Montpelier, VT; and Mark Joyce, Executive Director, New Hampshire School Administrators Association, Concord, New Hampshire gave a two-hour "No Child Left Behind" synopsis on the legal implications that this new federal regulation will have on public education. The regulation, an 1100-page document, has everyone pondering what full implementation of this regulation will cost. The swell of interest, which NCLB has generated, will undoubtedly warrant this topic returning to next year’s conference offerings. Watch for it!

Thursday afternoon afforded attendees with a variety of topics in four concurrent workshops. The listings reflected the diverse backgrounds of attendees, as well as their varying job responsibilities. Topics included: "Economic Outlook for Financial and Budgetary Implications" with Jill Thompson, Senior Analyst, of Fleet Financial Services, Boston; "Trends in Negotiations" with Roger Kelley, Labor Relations Consultant with Drummond, Woodsum & MacMahon of Portland and David Barrett, Chief Negotiator with the Maine Municipal Association. Lee Prevost, President of School, summarized the capabilities for streamlining work orders processed via Internet technology for the new millennium. Our NCLB presenters from the morning’s general session took questions/answers from inquisitive seekers wanting greater insight into the effect such regulations will have on their districts.

The Vendor Exhibit Hall opened at 2:30PM. While our vendor space was limited at the Cliff House, as compared to that of past conferences, 61 vendors were quick to respond with their applications. Vendors brought with them a great deal of energy and excitement, and conference attendees eagerly stormed the hall to learn of the latest products and services, underscoring the appeal and importance of what vendors bring to the conference. I would encourage you to show your support and appreciation of our vendors by patronizing their businesses throughout the year.

Thursday’s evening banquet was, once again, the conference’s major event. Conference attendees, their significant others, and vendors provided for a full house in the grand Cliff House ballroom. We were pleased this year to have Melody Douglas as our ASBO International representative and our dinner guest speaker. Melody is CFO of the fourth largest school district in Alaska and serves on the ASBO Board of Directors. Her trip to Maine’s rocky coast reminded her of her beautiful home State of Alaska. Melody expressed ASBO International’s pleasure at seeing Tri-State’s track record of 11 successful conferences. Our evening would not have been complete without the Westbrook Middle School singers. These young singers received a standing ovation after an impressive 45 minutes of live entertainment. The evening’s finale was dancing music provided by DJ Bob Learnard.

Friday, the conference’s last day, began with round-table discussions that allowed attendees to gather valuable information in short segments. The topics included the following:

  • "Essential Programs and Services Model for Funding Maine Schools" with David Silvernail, Director, Center for Educational Policy at University of Maine;
  • "Ten Most Costly Financial Mistakes Retirees Make and How to Avoid Them" presented by Greg Strong, Financial Educator and Retirement Planner;
  • "File It Electronically," with Derrick Higgins of IKON and Jane Golding, Director Of Instructional Support, Yarmouth School District;
  • "Practical Application of an Internet-Based Maintenance Work Order System" with our very own committee member, John Aubi, Asst. Superintendent Of Business, and Jonathan Brush, Director of Plant, SAU #70, Hanover, New Hampshire.

These sessions gave everyone greater opportunities for bringing home additional materials and options in a very short timeframe.

Our 11th Annual Tri-State Conference culminated with our keynote speaker and humorist, Dr. Charles Petty. Dr. Petty made us laugh and ponder the realities of life with profound and life-changing truths about ourselves. His ability to inspire, motivate, educate and entertain left conference attendees contemplating the differences we can make in our personal and professional lives. At the end of his talk, Dr. Petty received a rousing standing ovation, a fitting finale to another successful Tri-State ASBO Conference!

This is a reminder that the 12th Annual Tri-State ASBO Conference is planned for May 12-14, 2004 and will be hosted at the fantastic Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in the beautiful white mountains of New Hampshire at Whitefield. See you there!



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