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MSBA priorities shared with legislators.
The 2020 legislative session begins today.  There are a number of issues expected to be front and center, including:
  • supplemental budget;
  • school safety;
  • changes to the newly enacted teacher licensure system;
  • elections
  • unpaid school meal debt, and
  • statewide unfunded mandates surrounding curriculum and graduation requirements.
The Government Relations team asks each district superintendent (to avoid duplication) to complete the attached 5 minute survey.  Your input will help the GR team better represent you during the legislative session.

Join school boards across Minnesota by passing the local control resolution.
Week 1- February 11, 2020
91st Legislature - Reconvened 
Legislative Session Begins with $1.3 B Surplus and Proposed Constitutional Amendment for Education
Today at noon, the Legislature begins work on the second year of the biennium. Though this session will focus on bonding projects across Minnesota, discussions around early childhood education, paid family and medical leave, wage theft and school safety are highly anticipated. Another topic sure to be debated is the proposal for a Constitutional Amendment on education. 

Recently former Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari held a summit with business and community leaders to discuss how a Constitutional Amendment could close the achievement gap.
 
The proposed language would replace Art. XIII, Sec. 1 of Minnesota's constitution in its entirety, and reads:

EQUAL RIGHT TO QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION. All children have a fundamental right to a quality public education that fully prepares them with the skills necessary for participation in the economy, our democracy, and society, as measured against
uniform achievement standards set forth by the state. It is a paramount duty of the state to ensure quality public schools that fulfill this fundamental right.

The current constitution reads:

UNIFORM SYSTEM OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS. The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools. The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state.

MSBA President Deb Pauly, Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind, and Director of Policy and Legal Services Terry Morrow met with Justice Page and President Kashkari last week to discuss the impact of the proposal and school districts and students.  
 
MSBA agrees with the broader goal of closing the achievement gap, but believes the amendment does not go far enough to ensure funding for education or address other challenges associated with the achievement gap.  If you want to hear more about the proposed amendment, The Fed will be offering listening sessions around the state. The first meeting is planned for 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the City Council Chambers in Mankato. To RSVP, go to https://www.minneapolisfed.org/events/2020/children-first-a-community-conversation-in-mankato-on-educating-all-children. A second is planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at 125 Live Center in Rochester. To register, go to https://www.minneapolisfed.org/events/2020/children-first-a-community-conversation-in-rochester-on-educating-all-children.
 
Some questions you may want to bring up are:
  1. Minnesota's public schools receive federal and state funding that is not sufficient to meet student needs. For this reason, most Minnesota schools must pursue voter-approved operating levies. Will the amendment's phrase "paramount duty of the state" effectively end districts' reliance on voters to approve property tax increases and operating levies?
  1. Poverty has a direct and significant impact upon academic proficiency. How will this amendment address poverty and other factors-often called the opportunity gaps-that affect students throughout Minnesota?
  1. The amendment refers to the 'paramount duty' of the state to ensure that students receive a quality education.  Can you assure locally-elected school board members that their public service will not expose them to the litigation that this amendment will likely create?
Education Bill Introductions
Senate:
S.F. 2961 - requires radon testing in public school buildings
(Nelson)
S.F. 2963 - requires a school safety assessment policy (Nelson)
S.F. 2964 - creates a civics test reporting requirement (Nelson)
S.F. 2989 - modifies the required uses of compensatory revenue (Nelson)
S.F. 2990 - requires literacy incentive aid to be used to provide Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) (Nelson)

House:
H.F. 2968 - extending the maximum notice period for a school referendum election from 30 to 45 days (Freiberg)
H.F. 2998 - appropriating money for the Minnesota GreenStep Schools program (Fisher)
H.F. 3001 - amending teacher license renewal requirements to include mental illness training (Moller)
H.F. 3014 - allowing charter and nonpublic school students to participate in the extracurricular activities of their resident district (Drazkowski)
H.F. 3106 - creating a standardized assessment task force (Edelson)
H.F. 3107 - allowing an innovation research zone partner to use a nationally recognized high school academic assessment (Edelson)
H.F. 3123 - requiring concussion and sudden cardiac arrest information and training for student athletes (Christensen)

Upcoming Meetings and Events
House
Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division
Thursday, February 13, 2020 8:00 AM
Room: Capitol 120
Chair: Rep. Dave Pinto
Agenda:
Presentation by the Department of Human Services on Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Program Integrity

Joint Meetings
Permanent School Fund Commission
Thursday, February 13, 2020 9:30 AM
Room: 1100 Minnesota Senate Building
Chair: Senator Jerry Newton
Agenda:
Call to Order - Introduction of Commission Members
Approval of the March 11, 2019 Minutes
DNR School Trust Forestry Certification Report
Legislation
        Compensation (HF 152/SF 617)
        FMIA Money Transfer (HF 2585/SF 2441)
        School Trust Lands Director Provisions Modifications (HF 2383/SF220)
        Wild Rice Lease Exchange
        School Trust Reporting Requirement
        Other School Trust Legislation
  
Save the date for 2020 MSBA Day at the Capitol
We look forward to advocating on your behalf and encourage you to participate. We hope that you will save the date for our annual Day at the Capitol event on Monday, March 23. More information will be coming.
Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103