All public school children must have equal access to a high quality education regardless of where they live in Minnesota.




Legislative Update  
A c ommunication for education advocates in SEE districts.
May 12, 2017  
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Check out Brad's Blog for detailed information on legislative activity
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What is happening at the Capitol
With just 10 days to go before the mandatory end of session on May 22, budget negotiations broke off between the legislative leaders and the governor this week.   The legislature decided to pass the 10 budget bills that were crafted in the conference committees to show that they are able to get their work done. The bills will be sent to the governor for a certain veto.  The slim one-vote republican majority in the Senate hindered this effort.  A republican Senator left the Capitol on a family emergency Wednesday.  With the remaining 33 - 33 split in the Senate, none of the five remaining controversial budget bills can be passed without DFL support, which isn't going to happen. 

The tax conference committee met this week and amended the tax omnibus bill.  The property tax relief through debt service equalization was extended from one year to two years beginning with property taxes paid in 2018 for the 2018-19 school year.  The good news is it will be easier to make this property tax relief permanent in 2020 during the next major budget session.  The bad news is the existing funds were spread over the two years cutting the annual increased equalization funding in half.  Here is the updated equalization aid per district. 
 
As always, check out Brad's Blog for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.
What can you do?
Continue to make some noise.  Your legislators and key leadership need to hear from you! 

Email your state senator and representativeFind out who represents you with their contact information.

Copy these key legislative leaders (cut and paste into your email):
rep.greg.davids@house.mn, sen.roger.chamberlain@senate.mn, rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn, sen.carla.netson@senate.mn, rep.kurt.daudt@house.mn, sen.paul.gazelka@senate.mn  

Include the governor in your communications.  Cut and paste your email into his contact form.

Key points about the current state of affairs.
  • The legislative session is ending soon on May 22. We expect the legislature and the governor to get their job done and agree on a balanced budget for Minnesota.
  • The state's public schools must be a top priority.
  • The basic formula must be increased to keep up with inflation. Two percent increases each year to the basic formula is the very minimum our schools need to minimize cuts.
  • Lowering the cost of school levies makes the education funding system more equitable and provides immediate property tax relief in low property wealth districts. The 40% agricultural bond credit and increased debt service equalization included in the tax bill from the conference will lower the cost for school building bonds and must be in the final budget agreement. The debt service equalization needs to be made permanent. Help to lower the cost of operating referendums should be included as well.
  • With the growing unfunded cost for special education and the required 2% increase for the school district's contribution to the teacher pension account, school districts need additional resources so increases to the basic formula can be focused on maintaining education opportunities for all students.
These sample letters may help you get started.  
  If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Regards,

Deb Griffiths
Schools for Equity in Education
Director of Communications and Community Outreach
612-309-0089
www.schoolsforequity.org