It rained a bit outside (hence B.B. King's version of Stormy Monday), but things moved along quite nicely inside the Capitol today as the Conference Committee on SF 3656 continued working through its agreement. The pace is a bit on the slow side as there is a considerable amount of policy language being adopted along with the appropriation amounts.
As I reported earlier today, the budget agreement contains about $31 million in new spending along with savings/reductions of just under $3 million, which makes the net target just over $28 million. I neglected to mention the $3 million in cuts in my earlier post this afternoon.
The highlights of the bill include:
- $19.9 million increase in school safety revenue for the 2018-2019 school year. That amount is reduced to $8.8 million and $7.1 million in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years respectively. I have yet to see the language explaining the amounts and how the program will unfold in the next biennium. I believe the allowable uses of Long Term Facilities Maintenance Revenue has been expanded to include school safety upgrades.
- $5 million for school-linked mental health grants with the amount folded into the long-term budget at $5 million per year in the next biennium.$1 million for physical school security audits.
- $725,000 for character education grants.
- $562,000 in telecommunications aid.
- $300,000 for St. Cloud's EL program.
- $300,000 for "Jake's Law," a drug abuse prevention program.
- $273,000 for an online suicide prevention training program for teachers.
- $250,000 for the Sanneh Foundation.
- $250,000 for Resource Officer training grants.
- $200,000 for Mounds View school district's early college program.
- $200,000 for the Legislative Auditor to study funding patterns for school districts and charter schools.
- $185,000 for a turnaround arts program.
- $150,000 for threat assessment grants.
- The first $300 per pupil unit of board-approved referenda has been folded into the local option revenue category. Equalization levels remain the same.
Here is a link to the entire spreadsheet: SF 3656 E-12 Appropriations
Pension Bill Takes a Crucial Step. SF 2620--the omnibus pension bill--passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee this evening and is now headed to the House floor, where it will likely be considered tomorrow or Wednesday. There were no amendments offered in the committee this evening, but there is a rumor going around that there may be an amendment offered on the floor that would take TRA out of the bill. Let's hope that is not the case.