Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Committees Winding Down.  With the final target announced--the House Majority Caucus' target for E-12 is $258 million above base--the finance committees in the House and Senate will be putting together their bills very shortly.  It was announced today that the House Education Finance Committee may be rolling out their bill tomorrow and will take public testimony on Thursday.

I was remarking to someone today that it's almost like I'm Rip van Winkle, but instead of falling asleep for 20 years, I only fell asleep for two.  Like two years ago, the Governor doubled-down on voluntary universal pre-kindergarten in his supplemental budget and both houses of the Legislature have come in well below his nearly $700 million above base budget target (almost identical to what it was two years ago).  While the House target is about $100 million above what it was two years ago, it is still below what is needed to get to a 2% increase in the basic formula (as is the case in the Senate).  It will be interesting to see what rolls out in the next couple of days.

The House Education Finance Committee did have a hearing today in which they heard Representative Ron Kresha's HF 1558, a bill that would change the way districts bid for insurance.  The big change in the bill is that a district and the bargaining units would have to agree in order to request a bid from PEIP, which is a substantial change from current law when the bargaining units can request a bid without district approval.

The Senate E-12 Policy Committee met to listen to a presentation by the Legislative Auditor on their recently-released study on Minnesota's student testing system.

Here is a link to the report's page on the Legislative Auditor's site:  Standardized Student Testing Report

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