Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Afternoon Committee Wrap-Up.  Wednesday features two education-related committee meetings.  At 1 PM, the House Education Finance Committee met and discussed several bills related to special education.  Foremost among these was Representative Marion O'Neill's HF 2877, which would provide a special education aid adjustment to the Monticello school district to defray a very puzzling and unfair shortfall to which the district has been subjected.  Determining how the shortfall came to be requires a compass and a Swiss Army knife to cut through the complexity and find one's way out of the woods, but basically, Monticello was once the fiscal host to a special education cooperative that was forced to convert to a joint powers agreement and in that process, some legitimate costs that were reported got lost in the shuffle, making a considerable dent in the amount of revenue Monticello received through the special education formula.  It does have to be mentioned that Monticello was changing its special education governance structure in the same time frame as the implementation of a new special education formula, which also adds to the complexity.  What is frustrating to Monticello staff is that they performed the reporting in the manner prescribed by the Minnesota Department of Education and were assured that additional money would be there as a result.  Alas, not the case.  Testifying on behalf of Monticello were business manager Tina Burkholder and former superintendent (and current St. Cloud State professor) Jim Johnson.  The bill calls for a aid adjustments of $200,000 per year for fiscal years 2020 through 2023 (a total of $800,000).

The committee also heard Representative Drew Christensen's special education task force bill--HF 2846--and Representative Linda Runbeck's HF 3013.  HF 3013 would require teachers renewing their licenses to receive training toward implementing strategies to help students suffering from dyslexia.

The Senate Education Finance Committee convened at 3 PM.  The Monticello squad reprised its testimony from the House in supporting Senator Bruce Anderson's companion to HF 2877, SF 2522.  The committee also heard from the College Board on the Khan Academy and the PSAT/SAT tests.  The day was rounded out with further discussion of Senator Carla Nelson's SF 2754, the school safety bill that would provide additional aid to school districts for facility and personnel upgrades related to school safety.

Bill Introductions (Not Even the State of the State Address can stop the Continuing Onslaught)


SF 3268--Eichorn--Modifies innovation research zone pilot project.

SF 3302--Kent--Provides a complaint procedure for certain pupil dismissals.

SF 3312--Relph--Clarifies immoral character or conduct by a teacher.

SF 3315--Eichorn--Requests Legislative Auditor to compare revenue generation and spending between school districts and charter schools.

SF 3335--Ruud--Authorizes online learning providers to generate 
online learning aid for courses offered to nonpublic pupils.

SF 3338--Bigham--Resurrects January 15 teacher negotiation deadline.

SF 3340--Pappas--Increases funding for Grow Your Own teacher preparation programs.

SF 3343--P. Anderson--Modifies definition of a textbook.

SF 3351--Rest--Requires budget forecast surplus to be dedicated to reducing special education cross-subsidy.

SF 3353--Franzen--Appropriates money for after-school and summer STEM programming.

SF 3368--P. Anderson--Authorizes fund transfer for Minnetonka School District.

SF 3369--P. Anderson--Authorizes additional facilities levy for Hopkins School District.

SF 3370--P. Anderson--Creates process by which district and charter school programs may be combined.


HF 3739--Erickson--Provides for an academic balance policy.

HF 3796--Loon--Authorizes Commissioner of Education to award school safety facility grants to school districts.

HF 3797--Haley--Increases safe schools revenue and equalizes the safe schools levy.

Interesting Article from The New Republic.  It seems like every day a national magazine publishes an article related to education, especially in the wake of the Parkland tragedy.  Here's the latest from The New Republic.  Be forewarned:  left-leaning.

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