Tuesday, April 12, 2016

House Releases Education Budget Article.  The House Education Finance Committee released its budget article this afternoon and it contains a number of interesting provisions.  The bill proposes to spend approximately $50 million, all but a handful in it in one-time money.  The House generates the $50 million by allowing a half dozen school districts currently in the maximum effort loan program to pay off their loans early.  Because these loans are paid off early, the state is the beneficiary of revenue that it would dedicate to the program.

With the $50 million, the House proposes to spend $7 million in FY 17 (the 2016-2017 school year) to create one equity region for the distribution of revenue under the equity revenue formula.  Currently, districts whose offices are located in the metropolitan area get a 25% "bump" over districts outside the metropolitan area.  The largest per pupil increase $27, with most adjustments falling in the low-$20's.  Because the Pay 16 levy has already been set, the new equity revenue will come totally in the form of aid for next year and will revert to the same aid/levy mix as the current program dictates.

Other than that, here are some of the other major spending programs contained in the bill:

  • $1.5 million for the Reading Corps Grants
  • $2.0 million for Collaborative Urban Educator Grants
  • $3.0 million for the Northwest Regional Partnership Program
  • $4.5 million for Minnesota Future Teacher Grants
  • $1.5 million for a Grow Your Own Teacher Pilot Program
  • $1.5 million for a Statewide Educator Job Board
  • $1.5 million for Mentoring Partnerships through the Sanneh Foundation
  • $1.5 million for Girls in Action Grants
  • $2.75 million for Increased PBIS Training
  • $6.0 million for staff development grants to education cooperatives and intermediate districts
  • $5.0 million for School-linked Mental Health Grants
  • $1.0 million for special education paraprofessional training
  • $1.0 million for loan forgiveness for teacher in shortage areas
  • $750,000 for concurrent enrollment teacher training
  • $240,000 to make districts approved for QComp "whole"
  • $7.0 million in broadband innovation grants.

As you can see, there are a lot of grants.  About the only Grants missing are:

Bud Grant

U.S. Grant

Former Twins' Pitcher Jim Grant

"Shampoo" Actress Lee Grant

British Actor Richard E. Grant (remember him in the Spice Girls movie?)

Back to the serious side of things, the House Education Finance Committee will be taking testimony from education groups tomorrow.  The committee will then mark up the bill on Thursday.

Here are links to information on the House bill:

The Senate Education Finance Division will unveil its education funding package tomorrow morning and then do a walk-through of the bill.  It is likely they will take testimony either tomorrow evening or at some point on Thursday.  The bills have to be out of committee by Friday.

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