Tuesday, May 23, 2017

E-12 Bill Analysis.  The E-12 working group finished their walk-through of the bill and spreadsheet about an hour ago and now we are all wading through the 203 pages to get a better handle on the various elements of the bill.  There is only one surprise in the bill and that is the inclusion of a provision that will require school districts and their teacher bargaining units to negotiate an unrequested leave-of-absence policy that is not solely based on seniority (softening of LIFO). This provision was not in the vetoed conference committee report sent to the Governor last week and it's surfacing is a bit of a surprise.

Here are the highlights of the bill:

  • 2% increase in the basic formula in each of the next two years.
  • The current voluntary pre-kindergarten program is untouched and $50 million is appropriated for a program called School Readiness Plus (more on that later).
  • An additional $20 million in early childhood scholarships.  Pathway 2 scholarships capped at this year's level of participation.
  • Inclusion of the language from the vetoed bill relating to the creation of the Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board, including language that removes the requirement that teachers with an Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) license acquire a license in a discrete disability category in five years in order to retain their license.
  • Perpich Center for Arts Education is not mothballed (couldn't think of a better term), but director is required to hold a Minnesota Superintendents License.
There are other items, of course, and MDE will be giving us a full rundown at our general membership meeting on Thursday (yes, Thursday), but these are the items that have elicited the most interest and discussion over the past few weeks.

It is nearly midnight and the House will be taking up the tax bill shortly while the Senate takes up the E-12 bill.  They will then take up the bill the other body has just finished before moving onto other business.  While the tax and E-12 bills are assured of passing and receiving the Governor's signature unless there's a political foodfight over other bills, there are a few things brewing that could rile things up, especially as it relates to the pre-emption bill that would limit municipalities from setting wage and benefit packages higher than the state minimums for private industry.  The bill containing the pre-emption provision is being loaded up with some items of great interest to the Governor and it will be interesting to see if the resulting stew will clear the Legislature and find its way to the Governor's desk.

In the meantime, enjoy this musical treat from the 1950s featuring a very young-looking Dick Clark (who managed to be young-looking until the day he checked out) on American Bandstand introducing Santo & Johnny and their big hit "Sleep Walk," which is what I feel like I am doing.

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