Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Deadline Approaches.  The second deadline is Thursday, March 29, and that is the day the Senate Education Policy Committee will be marking up the Senate's version of the 2018 omnibus education policy bill.  The bill may be available online tomorrow and I will certainly post it when it becomes available.  The Senate hasn't indicated what will be in the bill other than the framework of technical changes from the Governor's policy bill that was laid out in HF 3086.  There will clearly be additions to that bill.  One item that will be contained is the special education funding working group and it is expected that the approach advocated by the Senate will differ than the one suggested in HF 3315.  The Senate reportedly wants to have the working group comprised wholly of legislators while the House prefers a membership roster with no legislators, but instead 19 different education-sector stakeholders.  The Senate bill may also contain Senator Carla Nelson's SF 2487, the academic balance bill that was the subject of intense discussion earlier this session.  However, SF 2487 is currently in the Education Finance Committee and Senator Nelson may want to have her academic balance provision in the omnibus funding bill instead.

Showdown over Early Childhood Funding.  One provision in the Governor's budget bill is the expenditure of more dollars into an early childhood education initiative that has been championed by the Governor over the past four years.  The budget accord reached at the end of the 2017 session put $50 million (approximately $25 million per year) into a program labeled School Readiness-Plus.  The agreement made this program only effective for the current biennium.  In his budget proposal, the Governor seeks to make this funding permanent, but that is hardly going to be a slam dunk.

Here's a news story from MPR about the impending (but polite) collision of mindsets:  Dayton pushes again for pre-K funding

More from MPR.  Monday's Midday (or what used to be called Midday) program featured a roundtable discussion from three Minnesota teachers (one being current Education Minnesota President Denise Specht) on school safety and what teachers need to help keep schools safe.  Here is a link to the podcast:  Do we expect too much from teachers?

Legislative Auditor to Study Equalization.  The votes have been cast and the Legislature has directed the Legislative Auditor to study equalization (it appears the concentration will be on debt service equalization, but that is unclear at the moment) during the interim.  I want to thank Representative Connie Bernardy for giving me a heads-up that a study of equalization was going to be forwarded to the Legislature as a possible study topic.  She urged me to contact SEE members and have them contact their legislators with a message to support this topic for study.  Voila!  It worked.  I don't know if there has ever been a Get Out the Vote effort on a Legislative Auditor proposal, but there has been one now and it was successful.  So thanks to all who contacted their legislators and thanks to the legislators who voted for the proposal.

Bill Introductions (Monday, March 26)


SF 3800--P. Anderson--Modifies requirements for milk for school lunches and vocational programs.

SF 3801--Dahms--Establishes STEM program that focuses on agriculture.

SF 3807--Dziedzic--Creates state fund to pay for unreimbursed special education costs.

SF 3808--Torres-Ray--Makes permanent the authority for certain students with interrupted formal education to participate in an early middle college program for one additional year.

SF 3810--Torres-Ray--Appropriates money for students in alternative programs.

SF 3821--Hoffman--Modifies education partnership program and grant process.

SF 3831--Kent--Prohibits school lunch providers from shaming students.


HF 4214--Peterson--Authorizes transportation for certain pregnant or parenting teens.

HF 4229--Sandstede--Modifies teacher licensure requirements.

HF 4238--Bennett--Provides a statutory definition for special education cooperatives.

HF 4239--Bennett--Expands pathway for paraprofessionals to obtain a teaching license.

HF 4255--Smith--Modifies probationary period provisions for teachers and principals in school districts outside cities of the first class.

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