Monday, January 23, 2017

Scary Moment at the State of the State.  Governor Dayton collapsed from dehydration near the end of his State of the State speech tonight.  Before the speech prematurely ended at about the 45-minute mark, the Governor laid out his top priorities for the coming session.  Included in these priorities is a 2% increase in each year of the biennium on the general education basic formula and an unspecified commitment to expanding access to early childhood education.  It was great to see Marshall superintendent Scott Monson and his early childhood team present at the speech to receive recognition from the Governor for the district's commitment to providing greater access for pre-kindergarten learners.

Other items mentioned by the Governor included a fix for health insurance premium sites, increased funding for higher education, long-term resources to invest in our transportation system, and a substantial bonding bill.  Some of these items will obviously clash with the Legislature's vision and it will be interesting to see how these inevitable confrontations play out.

Monday Hearing.  The Senate E-12 Finance Committee spent today's committee time on programs that aim to assure students are reading by the end of third grade.  Testimony was also taken from groups that represent students with dyslexia and ServeMinnesota/Reading Corps.  It was a very interesting hearing with lots of data presented showing what works in pursuit of the state's reading goals.

Here is a link to the materials presented at the hearing.

Senate E-12 Finance Committee--Monday, January 23, 2017, Hearing




You can see from today's introductions that it was a big day for bills relating to increasing tax deductions relating to tuition and contributions to scholarships to private schools along with an increase and expansion of Minnesota's education tax credit to make tuition payments to private schools eligible for reimbursement under the program.  It is School Choice Week in Minnesota and all of these bills will be heard tomorrow in both the House and the Senate.  Could be a long day with a lot of testimony.

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