Children's Mental Health Bills Introduced. A slate of children's mental health bills were introduced today in both the House and Senate. Each bill introduced had its companion introduced in the other body on the same day and while the order of the bills are not identical, the companions are closely packed in both Houses.
So here, from first to last, are the bills:
SF 259 (Hoffman)/HF 353 (Davnie): Funding of school-based mental health clinics: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0259.0.html&session=ls88
SF 260 (Dahle)/HF 354 (Selcer): Clarifies that mental health education and recognition of mental health issues can be part of curriculum for renewing teachers' licenses: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0260.0.html&session=ls88
SF 261 (Torres Ray)/HF 355 (Bly): Mental health instruction required for Grades 6 through 12: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0261.0.html&session=ls88
SF 262 (Johnson)/HF 356 (Newton): Safe schools revenue can be used for costs associated with colocation and collaboration with mental health professionals: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0262.0.html&session=ls88
SF 263 (Sheran)/HF 357 (Mullery): Appropriates funds for the early identification of psychosis: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0263.0.html&session=ls88
SF 264 (Lourey)/HF 358 (Loeffler): Requiring annual reviews of children's mental health programs and creates peer mental health specialist for adolescent mental health issues: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0264.0.html&session=ls88
SF 265 (Sheran)/HF 359 (Laine): Appropriates money for children's mental health services including school-linked mental health clinics: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0265.0.html&session=ls88
SF 266 (Eaton)/HF 360 (Morgan): Requires development of a program to certify certain behavioral health aides: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0266.0.html&session=ls88
This is a bold set of initiatives and are thankfully split between health and human services and education. So much in the area of mental health falls into a gray area between human services and education and this set of bills may go a long ways toward clarifying who does what and which budget pays for the services. This is a very interesting discussion and one that needs to take place.
Other bills of interest.
HF 309 (Atkins)/No Senate Companion as Yet. Allows Health and Safety Revenue to be used for facilities upgrades that enhance student security: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H0309.0.html&session=ls88
SF 211 (Bonoff)/No House Companion as Yet. Creates location equity index based on wage rates and housing values in various regions of the state. Unlike the recommendation of the Governor's Education Finance Working Group, which created a location equity index by rolling in a portion of a district's referendum revenue for this purpose, this creates a new general education revenue category comprised of state aid. Link: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0221.0.html&session=ls88
Great Forum in Rochester on Saturday. The annual Southeast Minnesota Service Cooperative's legislative forum was held on Satruday morning in Rochester and, as per usual, Executive Director Suzanne Riley and the area school board members and superintendents did a bang-up job in putting together a panel that clearly described the challenges facing school districts in that part of the state. Dover-Eyota Superintendent Bruce Klaehn did his usual exemplary job as moderator and helped lead the discussion of a number of vital issue areas. The presenters for each issue area were as follows:
Mandates: Steve Sallee, Superintendent, Southland Public Schools and LeRoy-Ostrander Public Schools.
Renewal of Referendum Levy without a Public Vote: Dave Krenz, Superintendent, Austin Public Schools.
School Calendar Issues (pre-Labor Day Start): Jeff Elstad, Superintendent, Byron Public Schools, and Jim Freihammer, Superintendent, Wabasha-Kellogg Public Schools.
Effects of Inflation on School District Budgets: Dave Thompson, Superintendent, Stewartville Public Schools.
All-Day Kindergarten: Ed Harris, Superintendent, Chatfield Public Schools.
Special Education Cross-subsidy: Todd Sesker, Superintendent, Faribault Public Schools.
Technology: Tammy Berg-Beniak, Superintendent, Pine Island Public Schools
School Safety: Gary Kuphal, Superintendent, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Public Schools.
The presentations were followed by remarks from the legislators present. I can't remember all that were present, but it was at least a dozen. Good job by all concerned with a healthy exchange between legislators and school officials.