Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Hearings.  There was a full slate of education-related hearings today at the Capitol.  The day began with dueling hearings with the House Education Innovation Policy meeting at 8:15 and the Senate Education Finance Committee beginning its hearing at 8:30.  The House Education Innovation Committee heard from the Minnesota Department of Education on a variety of topics, most notably special education, World's Best Workforce, and the regional centers of excellence.

The Senate Education Finance Committee spent its meeting on the subject of technology.  Four bills relating to technology (all authored by Senator Chuck Wiger, the committee chair) were discussed.  While all of the bills are interesting (and needed), the one that elicited the most interest was SF 18, the bill that would create an equalized discretionary levy to help districts acquire technology.  There is a similar provision in the School Facilities Finance Working Group report that will be discussed Thursday by the committee.  That report has a number of provisions that could stand alone if the entire set of recommendations is not adopted.  This is clearly one of them.  SF 45 would increase capital expenditure revenue and create a reserve within the that fund for technology and this route may be another way to help school districts pay for their increasing technology needs.  SF 20 proposes to take any future increases in the school endowment fund and place the revenue growth into a fund that would pay for school technology.  The revenue would be distributed equally to all schools (including charters) on a per pupil basis.  Senator Wiger's SF 78 would appropriate revenue to pay for telecommunications access equity revenue.

The House Education Finance Committee met in the early afternoon and spent its committee time talking about the School Endowment Fund and its management.  The School Endowment Fund is comprised of the revenue generated from the leasing of state-owned lands.  The genesis of the program comes from the two sections in each township that were set aside for educational purposes as part of the Northwest Ordinance.  Most of these sections were used for actual school buildings (and you still see some of them standing as you drive through Minnesota) and as those buildings were closed, the land was sold.  The proceeds from those sales were placed in the Permanent School Fund (now known as the School Endowment Fund) and the interest from this revenue has been distributed to school districts.  A lot of this land is in areas where there is an abundance of natural resources (particularly lumber and minerals) and the state is now more aggressively marketing these lands in hope of leasing it to companies that will generate more revenue than it currently being earned through the existing leases.  It was a very informative presentation from a variety of perspectives.

Tuesday Bill Introductions.


SF 163 (Hoffman) -- Increases general education formula basic allowance by $300 per pupil -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF0163&session=ls89&version=latest&session_number=0&session_year=2015

SF 164 (Johnson) -- Establishes additional accountability measures for charter schools serving at-risk students -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF164&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

SF 167 (Dibble) -- Allows Minneapolis school board to remove a member by a majority vote -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF167&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

SF 195 (Hoffman) -- Provides a grant to the Minnesota Council on Economic Education -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF195&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

SF 213 (Bonoff) -- Appropriates money for the parent-child home program -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF213&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

SF 217 (Weber) -- Exempts Hendricks school district from the general reciprocity agreement between states for educating students from another state -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF217&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

SF 221 (Thompson) -- Modifying certain provisions of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF221&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0


HF 217 (Selcer) -- Allows 9th and 10th grade students to enroll in concurrent enrollment world language courses -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF217&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 224 (Gruenhagen) -- Allows school boards to elect to levy debt service against referendum market value tax base -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF224&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 225 (Winkler) -- Reserves future increases in school endowment fund apportionments for early learning programs -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF225&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 245 (Urdahl) -- Allows a tax credit for K-12 teachers who complete a master's degree in a content area directly related to their licensure field -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF245&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 247 (Urdahl) -- Provides for interstate reciprocity agreements for teacher licensure -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF247&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 250 (Newton) -- Adds school personnel notice and reporting requirements -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF250&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 251 (Newton) -- Clarifies that children under age seven who voluntarily enroll in school are subject to compulsory attendance law -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF251&version=0&session=ls89&session_year=2015&session_number=0

HF 263 (Peterson) -- Makes a sales tax exemption on school tickets and admissions permanent -- https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?f=HF263&b=house&y=2015&ssn=0

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