Sunday, March 12, 2017

Weekend Report.  The Senate E-12 Policy Committee met Friday and passed its version of the 2017 omnibus education policy bill, SF 1222.  The bill has a few more provisions than the House version (and some will find these provisions controversial), but it still comes in under 50 pages, which is considerably lighter than most years.  The policy contained in the bill that most in the E-12 world will find controversial is the permissive language that lets public school students attend a private school for nonsectarian academic credits.  This policy was introduced as SF 1281, authored by Senator Justin Eichorn and heard in the E-12 Policy Committee the day before.  The language in the bill changes the "must grant credit" in the original bill to a "may grant credit," which certainly softens some, but not all, of the criticism.

Other provisions emanating from bills heard during the session include:

  • Allowing districts to maintain a supply of asthma inhalers.
  • Requirement for districts to report their monthly utility consumption into the B3 benchmarking program.
  • Expanded efforts to ensure students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
  • A number of provisions relating to charter school operation and allowing a charter school to change authorizers. 
Here is a copy of the language that the committee was working from at Friday's hearing.  Two amendments were adopted and will be incorporated into the first engrossment of the bill.  I will post that when it becomes available.

MASA Spring Conference.  It was great to see a number of SEE superintendents at the MASE Spring Conference.  Special kudos go to Superintendents Beth Giese and Ray Queener for being named the Administrator of Excellence for their MASA Region, Regions 1 and 6 respectively.  A number of retiring superintendents were also recognized.  Among them were Dr. Linda Madsen of Forest Lake and Dr. Dave Thompson of St. Charles.  Both have been stalwart SEE members for a number of years and I want to thank them for their service and support.

From the Media.  There seems to be a lot more articles hitting the national media these days about education policy.  This one is from The Week in Review section of Sunday's The New York Times.  The article does a very good job of highlighting the importance of having an effective school principal.

Bill Introductions from Last Wednesday and Thursday

With the passage of the first policy committee deadline, bill introductions will be tailing off.  There will likely still be a number of tax and funding proposals introduced in the coming two weeks, as the deadline for the funding committees is two weeks away.  There has been a plethora of bills introduced this year, but it appears from the release of the omnibus policy bills that much of this proposed legislation will have to wait until next year for a true shot at being enacted.







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