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NSBA, AASA to combine national conferences

AASA hopes to hold its 2013 conference in San Diego in conjunction with NSBA.

The National School Boards Association and the American Association of School Administrators will combine their annual conferences into a single event beginning in 2013, the two organizations announced during AASA’s National Conference on Education Feb. 17.

The move is expected to save money for the organizations and also for school systems, which won’t have two separate events for district leaders to attend.

With the hostile economy, it just wasn’t economically feasible for these shows to exist as standalone conferences any more, organizers said. Last fall, NSBA announced that its long-running Technology + Learning (T+L) conference no longer would exist as well.

Through their newly announced partnership, AASA and NSBA will combine forces to create a larger, more cost-efficient national conference, the two groups said.

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The organizations will continue to serve their members’ and conference attendees’ interests, while at the same time featuring some overlapping content, officials said.

“A joint conference will realize significant savings for both organizations. Our intentions are to pursue separate tracks for superintendents and [school] board members, but a track common to both in areas like board/superintendent relations,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA.

AASA still plans to hold its National Conference on Education in Houston next year, and it hopes to hold the first joint NSBA-AASA conference in San Diego in spring 2013. A tentative date for the event has not been announced.

Economic pressures have had an impact on organizations that traditionally have funded their own conferences. Indeed, Domenech said the AASA-NBSA partnership will not be the only collaboration between two education-oriented organizations, as AASA also has announced a partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

“With NAESP, we intend to move into their building at some point during the next two years,” Domenech said. “Here again, we envision significant savings as a result of facilities sharing and staff consolidation.”

Upon hearing the news, some administrators told eSchool News they were worried about a combined meeting. It might blur the images and reduce the autonomy of the two organizations, they said. One administrator claimed many superintendents dislike attending conferences with board members. “The superintendent can get roped into acting as a babysitter for the board members,” the administrator explained.

On the other hand, the vendors who spoke with eSchool News generally were pleased with the announcement. Consolidating the conferences will cut costs, ease logistical demands, and reduce the strain on staff resources, they said.

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