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.
March 24, 2017  
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Budget targets released

It has been a week of numbers.  The House and Senate released their budget targets. The budget numbers can be confusing because both bodies compare the 2016-17 biennium to the proposed 2018-19 biennium.  Education increases by over $1 billion but $844 million is from how the formula works or actions taken by previous legislatures. This amount is in the forecast and the state's surplus is still $1.65 billion.  Following are the factors that contributed to the $844 million growth over the last biennium.  Read more.
  • The growth in student enrollment, approximately 33,000 students more than projected.
  • A 4.6% increase in special education funding,.  Special education increases 8% annually on average.  This is the only education funding stream that is indexed to automatically increase.
  • The third and final year phase-in for the long term facilities maintenance program passed in the 2015 legislative session.
  • The impact of last year's 2% increase on the upcoming biennium.
The education target is how much of the state's $1,65 billion surplus will be dedicated to education.  The Governor updated his budget proposal to reflect the increase of the state's surplus from the November to February forecast.  He doubled down on voluntary preK, adding $100 million to the 75 million he originally proposed, increasing his education education budget target to $700 million 

Education Target
$258 million
$300 million
$700 million
% of $1.65 billion surplus

Taxes Target
$1.3 billion
$900 million
$300 million
I know the House and Senate are positioning in regards to future negotiations with the Governor but it is frustrating to see such a low commitment of funding for our schools.  Particularly since education, public safety and trunk highway systems are the only areas of government that the state must fund according to the Minnesota Constitution. Read more on how the budget battle is shaping up.

As always, you can keep up with all the action at the Capitol by following Brad's Blog
The House education finance and policy bill released

HF890 (Loon) is the education finance omnibus bill with the education policy omnibus bill rolled in. You can find more information on the bill here.  The bill includes 1.5% increases to the basic formula for the next two years.  The House education target doesn't even cover the cost for this increase.  Thus, to pay for it and additional provisions in the bill, other programs were eliminated or reduced.   Most notable, the Governor's voluntary preK program is completed abolished.  Additionally, to free up more dollars, several categorical funding streams that automatically increase with the basic formula were de-linked, funding will be frozen at the current levels.

Here are some of the key highlights.
  • 1.5%/1.5% basic formula increase, $91 each year- ($275 million)
  • eliminates voluntary preK - ($47 million savings)
  • increases early learning scholarships- ($24.6 million)
  • eliminates early learning Pathway 2 scholarships
  • makes children birth to 3 eligible for early learning scholarships
  • increases the School Readiness funding - ($8.5 million)
  • establishes the Office of Early Education and Development to coordinate early learning scholarships, School Readiness and Parent Aware programs) - ($400,000)
  • de-links compensatory (funding for children who live in poverty - ($26.6 million savings)
  • establishes a new targeted compensatory program that eliminates the concentration factor - ($24 million)
  • establishes a school finance legislative study group
  • ends seniority for teacher layoffs
House research bill summary 
SEE Governor and House education budget provisions side by side 
I will post the individual district data run when available here.  

The Senate bill will be released any minute now.  The omnibus bills will progress through appropriate committees next week and brought to the floor for passage.  They will then head to conference committees where the House and Senate versions will be negotiated into a single omnibus bill for each area of government.  Stay tuned.
 As always, you can keep up with all the action at the Capitol by following Brad's Blog
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. 


Deb Griffiths
Schools for Equity in Education
Director of Communications and Community Outreach