Monday, February 06, 2017

Bills!  After a month of listening to reports, the Senate E-12 Committee dove into hearing legislation today as six bills were presented to the committee.  All of the bills were laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus education funding bill that will likely take shape in March.  Here is a list of the bills that were heard in committee:

SF 158-Clausen-STEM Grants

SF 305-Utke-Appropriation for Principals Academy

SF 310-Weber-Southwestern Minnesota Career and Technical Education Consortium

SF 312-Weber-Exemption from General Reciprocity Agreement with South Dakota for Hendricks School District

SF 443-Nelson-Appropriation for Minnesota Reading Corps

SF 489-Nelson-Makes Funding for Compensatory Revenue Pilot Sites Permanent

A number of SEE districts participated in the testimony.  The Iron Maidens, a girls' robotic team from Apple Valley High School, testified in favor of SF 158.  Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent David Law testified in favor of SF 489.  All of the compensatory revenue pilot sites have shown a lot of progress with their grants (which were established in 2003 and have been renewed in each finding cycle since).  The necessity for the grants springs from the building concentration factor that puts districts with poverty spread relatively evenly throughout the district at a disadvantage.

Another Superb Job by the SE MN Service Cooperative.  Suzanne Riley and her awesome team at the SE MN Service Cooperative put together another stellar legislative forum on Saturday morning.  I have to leave the house at a little after 6 AM to get there in time, but it's always worth the trip.  This year's forum included presentations on a wide range of school needs, including more money on the basic formula, increased funding for special education, and increased support for debt service and referendum equalization and was attended by more than a dozen legislators.  Goodhue County Education District Director Cherie Johnson, Cannon Falls Superintendent Beth Giese, and Zumbrota-Mazeppa Superintendent Gary Anger did an excellent job outlining the teacher shortage we are facing across the curriculum, with Johnson pointing out the extreme shortages in special education.  For those of you looking for a model to emulate when putting together a legislative forum, I urge you to take a look at what they've done at the SE MN Service Cooperative.




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