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2019 Legislative Session
Week 13 - April 1, 2019
House Education Finance Omnibus Bill Introduced
Over the weekend, Rep. Jim Davnie released the House Education Finance Omnibus Bill. The committee began a walk-through of the bill Monday morning.

MSBA is very pleased to see increases on the general education formula and in special education. In an effort to begin reforming the current special education formula, special education cross-subsidy aid will be a new category to help slow the growth in the cross-subsidy. Special education costs billed back to resident districts will be reduced from 90 percent to 85 percent in fiscal year 2020 and 80 percent for fiscal years 2021 and later. Another key element of the omnibus bill is the inclusion of all special education paperwork reduction bills brought forth by the New Ulm School District and MSBA.

Some additional highlights of the bill we support include:
  • Increase on the general education formula -- 3 percent and 2 percent.
  • School boards may renew an existing referendum; however, it will be subject to a reverse referendum. Effective July 2019.
  • Schools will be able to start before Labor Day for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
  • Safe Schools Revenue increases from $36 to $45 for 2020 and then increases to $54 for 2021 and later.
  • Establishes a pupil transportation working group.
  • Vocational programs outside of the school day with priority given to construction and welding courses.
  • Increases the qualifying career and technical reimbursement expenses from 35 percent to 50 percent.
  • Trauma-informed grant programs for professional development.     
  • Multiple provisions to increase teachers of color in classrooms. 
  • Funds to maintain the voluntary pre-K program.                                               
Some highlights of the bill we have concerns with include:
  • Dyslexia screening must take place in kindergarten,  grades 1 and 2 for students who are not reading at grade level and students in grade 3 with reading difficulty, unless another issue has been identified.
  • Teachers with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 license are limited to the number of renewals and placement of students.
  • School districts must report the number of teachers in each tier on its website.  
  • Elementary and secondary schools must implement a  sexual education program.
  • Includes adult basic education and early childhood and family education teachers withing the definition of "teacher" under the continuing contract and tenure statutes.
Other committees have provisions in omnibus bills that impact education:
  • Property and Local Tax Division -- Increases the school building bond agricultural credit from 40 percent to 70 percent of the tax on the property attributable to school district bonded debt levies. The credit is available to all property classified as agricultural, excluding the house, garage, and surrounding one acre of land of an agricultural homestead. Effective beginning with property taxes payable in 2020.
  • House Energy and Climate Division -- Creates a $16 million grant program to defray the costs of deploying solar energy systems on school buildings. According to Session Daily, "The grant funds a lease purchase project under which an investor pays for the initial deployment of the solar energy system and the school district makes annual payments under a purchase payment agreement.  When the investor has exhausted the financial benefits of the project(tax credits, depreciation, etc.) the school district purchases the investor's remaining financial interest in the system and terminates the agreement."
Governor Walz Signs Snow Days Bill
The conference committee report for SF 1743 (snow day relief bill) passed both bodies and Governor Walz signed it into law this afternoon. The new law allows districts to count days missed because of snow as instructional days. If districts take advantage of the new law, certain requirements must be met. 
  • The board of a school district or charter
    school that canceled school on one or more days during the 2018-2019 school year due to
    health and safety concerns may count those days as instructional days for purposes of calculating the number of hours and days in the school year.
  • If a school district would not have met the required minimum number of days and hours of instruction for students, it must report to the commissioner of education the number of days and hours that the district counted to meet the required days and hours of instruction. A district is also encouraged to adopt an e-learning plan.
  • If a school board resolves to count a day that school was canceled as an instructional day , the school district must compensate employees and
    contract employers or allow the day to be made up on a designated day.
  • The minimum number of days of teacher service that a probationary teacher must complete equals the difference between 120 days and the number of scheduled instructional days that were canceled due to health and safety concerns and that the school
    board resolved to count as days of instruction. 
Sick and Family Leave Bill Continues to Move in the House
Lengthy debate continues on how to implement and pay for up to 12-weeks sick and family leave.

Both the Jobs and State Government committees heard HF 5 last week.  MSBA testified with concerns to the cost, the impact to collective bargaining and the issue of substitute teachers. 

The primary concern is the cost of offering up to 12 weeks leave to schools. The funds would need to come out of the general fund. At a time when most schools in Minnesota are experiencing budget deficits and making cuts, how are schools to pay the cost?

The DEED commissioner testified in the House Jobs Committee last Tuesday that 0.65 percent would be the employer contribution to the fund. Using these numbers, the projected cost to implement this benefit is over $46 million per year.

MSBA plans to continue discussions with both school district personnel and Rep. Laurie Halverson. The bill is not moving in the Senate.
Education Bill Introductions
House Education Bill Introductions - Monday, March 25
House Education Bill Introductions - Wednesday, March 27
House Education Bill Introductions - Thursday, March 28

Senate Education Bill Introductions - Monday, March 25
Senate Education Bill Introductions - Tuesday, March 26
Senate Education Bill Introductions - Wednesday, March 27
Senate Education Bill Introductions - Thursday, March 28
Upcoming Meetings and Events
Education Finance Division
Monday, April 1, 12:00 PM
Room: Basement Hearing Room - State Office Building
Agenda:
HF2400 - School district abatement aid calculation modified. (Davnie)
Walk through of the Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division Report & the Education Finance Omnibus bill:

Tuesday, April 2,  9:45 AM
Room: 5 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF2400 - School district abatement aid calculation modified. (Davnie)
Public testimony relating to the Ed Finance Omnibus bill and DE amendment.

Thursday, April 4,  9:45 AM
Room: 5 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF2400 - School district abatement aid calculation modified.
Markup of the Education Finance Omnibus bill and vote out. (Davnie)

Senate
Committee on E-12 Finance and Policy
No scheduled meetings this week

Other Bills of Interest  
Health and Human Services
Monday, April 1  12:00 PM      
Live Audio and Video
Room: 200 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF5 - Paid family, pregnancy, bonding, and applicant's serious medical condition benefits provided; employment leaves regulated and required; data classified; rule-making authorized; and money appropriated. (Halverson)
*Testimony will be limited at two minutes and focused on the HHS section of HF5 .

Taxes
Wednesday, April 3  8:00 AM
Room: 5 State Office Building
Agenda:
HF5 - Paid family, pregnancy, bonding, and applicant's serious medical condition benefits provided; employment leaves regulated and required; data classified; rule-making authorized; and money appropriated. (Halverson)

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Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
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