Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Doughnut Hole Day.  The "Doughnut Hole" issue surfaced in the House K-12 Education Funding
Committee this morning, as four bills related to it were discussed.  The four were:

  1. HF 2547 (Radinovich)
  2. HF 2544 (Benson)
  3. HF 2256 (Dorholt)
  4. HF 2585 (Norton) 
HF 2547 is the "richest" of the four approaches.  It would provide discretionary levy authority for all school districts currently not receiving "metro" location equity revenue of $424 per pupil unit.  For districts with a referendum of more than $724/PU, there would be no direct new revenue but districts could renew a portion of their current referendum without having to go to a vote.  For a district with a referendum of less than $724/PU, there could be possible new money for a district equal to the difference between the district's current referendum per pupil unit and $724/PU.  All districts would be eligible for this provision, including those districts that received $212/PU in location equity revenue and those receiving small schools revenue.  No official cost has been calculated for the proposal, but it could amount to nearly $40 million--combination of aid and levy--if all districts took full advantage of the increased levy authority.

Representative Benson's HF 2544 is a scaled-back version of HF 2547.  It would give all districts currently not receiving location equity revenue the opportunity to receive location equity revenue of $212/PU except those districts currently receiving small schools revenue.  As in the case of HF 2547, some districts would receive new revenue (those with referenda less than $512/PU) and others would be able to "swap" referendum revenue and location equity revenue.

HF 2256 and HF 2585 are, in effect, local bills that would allow a smaller set of districts access to the metropolitan location equity revenue amount of $424/PU.  HF 2256 would allow non-metropolitan districts with enrollment greater than 7,000 metropolitan location equity revenue while HF 2585 would add Duluth and Rochester to the metropolitan reason as cities of the first class (although they are not located in the metropolitan area).

Tomorrow, the Senate E-12 Funding Division will hear the Senate companions to these House files.  The companion bills are:

SF 2730 (Jensen)--Companion to HF 2547
SF 2233 (Bonoff)--Companion to HF 2544
SF 1938 (Pederson)--Companion to HF 2256
SF 2079 (Nelson)--Companion to HF 2585

The House Education Finance Committee also heard HF 2919 (Sawatsky), the House companion to SF 2117, Senator Kevin Dahle's bill that would provide districts not currently eligible for the alternative facilities program $53/PU in revenue to repair and upgrade their facilities.  I urge everyone to contact leadership in the House and Senate telling them that more revenue for facilities is necessary and the these two bills would provide districts statewide with resources for this purpose.

Wednesday Bill Introductions.  

SF 2567 (Kiffmeyer)/Currently No House Companion: Expanding school district eligibility for location equity revenue:

Simpsons cartoon copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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