Monday, March 06, 2017

Equalization Bill Heard.  SF 1206--the referendum and debt service equalization bill that SEE has played a major role in developing--was heard in the Senate E-12 Finance Committee this afternoon.  Testifiers included Pine Island Superintendent Dr. Tamara Berg-Beniak, South St. Paul Superintendent Dr. David Webb, South St. Paul student Andres Fernandez Alvarez, and yours truly.  The bill received a warm reception, but at a cost of $80+ million, it does put a bit of a shiver through legislators who want to curb spending.  It's always important to remind those with concerns that this is tax relief and is a tax cut to hard-working Minnesotans who support their school districts by passing ballot initiatives for both operations and buildings.  My thanks go to chief author Senator Dave Senjem, co-authors Senator Andrew Lang, Senator Chuck Wiger, Senator Jim Abeler, and Senator Ann Rest.  Thanks should also go to E-12 Finance Chair Carla Nelson who is also a very strong supporter of equalization.  The bill was re-referred to the Tax Committee where some measure of the bill may find its way into the Senate tax bill.

Other bills heard today included SF 1419, Senator Jerry Relph's bill to fund the Promise Neighborhood of Central Minnesota and three bills authored by Senator Carla Nelson:  SF 1555, a bill that provides funding for the Increase Teachers of Color Act; SF 1558, a bill that modifies the calculation of aid to nonpublic schools; and SF 1207, a bill that would provide for third-party payment of evaluations for special education services.



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