Thursday, January 31, 2019

More on Special Education.

It is pretty clear from the get-go that the Legislature is going to spend a lot of time addressing special education funding and policy during the 2019 Legislative Session.  In addition to another presentation by Tom Melcher and Paul Ferrin, the House Education Funding Division heard from a panel of superintendents representing different types of school districts.  From the left, the superintendents were Drs. David Hansen, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart; Carlton Jenkins, Robbinsdale; Joe Gothard, St. Paul; and Mike Funk, Albert Lea.  The panel outlined angles that may differ from district-to-district, but the challenge of unpredictable funding exists throughout the state is consistent among all types of districts.

Here is a link to the MDE presentation regarding the funding formula:  MDE Special Education Presentation.  This is the same Powerpoint that was used at Wednesday's hearing, but yesterday's hearing centered on trends in the number of special education students and disability categories, while today's concentrated on funding (those slides start on page 23 of the document).

Bill Introductions

Thursday, January 31


SF 628 (Eichorn)--Increases state aid for school telecommunications projects.

SF 629 (Rosen)--Allows for the possession and use of sunscreen by students while on school property.

SF 638 (Kiffmeyer)--Creates aid guarantee for low per pupil revenue school districts.

SF 639 (Kiffmeyer)--Creates new categorical revenue program for low per pupil revenue school districts with low levels of per pupil property wealth.

SF 640 (Utke)--Eliminates requirement that transition planning begin in ninth grade.

SF 651 (Chamberlain)--Requires screening for dyslexia.

SF 661 (Carlson)--Modifies student absence for religious holidays.

SF 663 (Chamberlain)--Assigns authority for transporting certain homeless students.

SF 670 (Chamberlain)--Referendum equalization changes.  I have yet to see a data run and I may be able to develop something over the weekend, but the gist of the approach in the bill is to cap local effort in each tier of the referendum with all revenue in each tier above that cap being comprised of state aid.  Interesting concept.

SF 688 (Clausen)--Staff development and program evaluation for intermediate districts and cooperative units.

SF 706 (Nelson)--Creates task force to gauge progress of education finance reform efforts.

SF 709 (Chamberlain)--Modifies student assessment data collection.

SF 712 (Utke)--Provides grant to Minnesota Principals Academy.

SF 717 (Dahms)--Allows for functional behavioral assessment in certain circumstances.

SF 723 (Little)--Authorizes grants for adult English Learner programs.

SF 733 (Nelson)--Provides staff development to improve reading instruction and authorizes payment of  hiring bonuses.

SF 734 (Nelson)--Appropriates money for suicide prevention training for teachers.

SF 735 (Nelson)--Codifies teacher code of ethics in statute and repeals rule.  Further requires school district ethics complaints procedure.

SF 747 (Isaacson)--Establishes grant program for career and technical education needs.

SF 749 (Dahms)--Eliminates requirement for conciliation conferences.

SF 760 (Tomassoni)--Modifies building lease levy for geographically isolated school districts.


HF 501 (Persell)--Appropriates money for Minnesota reading and math corps programs at American Indian-controlled tribal contract and grant schools.

HF 508 (Haley)--Expands school board options when disposing of surplus computers.

HF 514 (Pryor)--Increases safe schools levy.

HF 523 (Drazkowski)--Modifies provisions on transportation of nonresident pupils within resident district.

HF 525 (Persell)--Modifies calculation of transportation sparsity revenue and creates task force to study transportation funding.

HF 531 (Christensen)--Allows school districts to start school prior to Labor Day in the 2020-2021 and 2021-22 school years.

HF 532 (Erickson)--Requires background checks and expands mandatory reporting.

HF 566 (Wazlawik)--Requires school district safety assessment teams.

HF 575 (Huot)--Provides for disposal of unclaimed drugs or medications at school.

HF 576 (Kunesh-Podein)--Requires school districts to pay for a college entrance test for all students in grades 11 and 12.

HF 577 (Heintzeman)--Reallocates 40% of the revenue in the arts and culture heritage fund to public school arts programs.

HF 578 (Lien)--Modifies K-12 education tax credit.

HF 579 (Kresha)--Authorizes certain school safety projects using long term facilities maintenance revenue.

HF 602 (Urdahl)--Ensures students are adequately prepared to be capable citizens able to fully participate in the political process.

HF 618 (Runbeck)--Modifies calculation of referendum equalization revenue.  Companion to Senator Chamberlain's SF 670.

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