Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Two Days of Hearings.  The House and Senate education-related committees have been holding a full schedule of meetings.  Here is a recent summary of the committees' proceedings.

Tuesday, February 14

House Education Innovation Policy.  The committee heard four bills, three of which produced a significant amount of discussion.  The three bills that consumed most of the committee's time were HF 675, Representative Quam's bill that would allow school districts to maintain a supply of asthma inhalers; HF 538, Representative Christensen's bill that requires schools to develop personal learning plans for all students not reading at grade level by the end of third grade; and HF 341, Representative Thissen's bill that would implement strategies to prevent the over-identification of students of color for special education services.  The committee also heard Representative Bly's HF 281, a bill that would clarify the language requirements for students studying Latin.

House Education Finance.  Five bills were tackled by the committee starting with bills funding the Minnesota Math Corps and Minnesota Reading Corp.  Representative Peterson is carrying HF 719 to fund the Math Corps and Representative Bennett is carrying HF 646 to fund the Reading Corps.  The committee also heard HF 602, Representative Sarah Anderson's bill that would make pre-kindergarten education expenses eligible for Minnesota's education tax credit; HF 574, Representative Urdahl's bill that would create a tax credit to assist teachers who are obtaining a master's degree in their curricular area financial help in that effort; HF 832, Representative Mariani's bill to reinstate funding for a college-level entrance examination program.

Senate Education Policy.  The committee heard three bills:  SF 574, the Senate version of the asthma inhaler bill carried by Senator Senjem; SF 504, Senator Clausen's bill that would create an endorsement that would meet the requirements of the Higher Learning Commission so high school teachers could teach concurrent enrollment programs; and SF 570, Senator Nelson's bill that would make changes to the PSEO program and graduation incentives program.

Wednesday, February 15

House Education Finance Committee.  The committee heard two bills:  HF 379, Representative Swedzinski's bill that would expand the program at Southwest State University that helps special education paraprofessionals obtain a special education teaching license, and HF 689, Representative Erickson's bill that provides grants for STEM programming.  The committee also heard a presentation from the Rock N' Read program.

Senate E-12 Finance Committee.  The committee spent its time listening to perspectives on funding issues related to the Teacher Retirement Association's unfunded liabilities.  It was a very informational hearing.  Here is a link to the powerpoint that TRA used in its presentation:  TRA Powerpoint.  Mark Haveman from the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence also provided solid input with this presentation:  MCFE Powerpoint




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