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.
April 13, 2018  
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What is happening at the Capitol
There is about five weeks left to the session.  The major finance bills must be moved out of committee by April 20.  

The House released their budget targets on Thursday.  Much of the $329 million surplus in the general fund goes towards taxes ($107 million) and transportation ($101 million).  E-12 Education's slice of that surplus is $30 million, most will be dedicated to school safety.  As discussed in last week's update, the House proudly announced a $50 million school safety package.  Doing the math, $20 million of that must be coming from a source other than the state.  Most likely, school boards will be given the authority to increase local property taxes to access this revenue for school safety. We will see the details when the education finance omnibus bills come out next week.   

Expanding broadband access in greater Minnesota with $15 million in grants is in the House Jobs and Energy target.  This is a key equity issue that impacts the quality of education in rural Minnesota.  Read more.  Also, it has been reported that the funding for the pension bill is in the targets.  

Taking large sums out of the general fund for roads and bridges is a new trend.  Historically, that funding is generated through the gas tax which is a dedicated funding stream for transportation.  Education has no dedicated funding stream and relies on the general fund for all of its state funding.  The new trend is not good for public education as it brings in more competition for the same dollars.  

Although the Senate has not formally announced their targets, Senator Carla Nelson, chair of Senate E-12 Education Finance Committee, repeatedly tells her committee that their target is $0.  However, apparently funding for school safety falls under the Senate's "Caring for People" agenda announced earlier in the session.  

The Senate education finance omnibus bill is scheduled in committee on Monday.  I will post information on both of the Senate and House education  finance bills  here on the SEE website when it becomes available

As always, see  Brad's Blog  for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.
Other information
The Nation's Report Card released this week rates Minnesota students at the top when compared to the rest of the nation.  Minnesota's fourth graders come in 1st and eight graders are 2nd in math.  In reading, 4th graders are in the top 10 and the 8th graders are 11th.  However, the achievement gap remains one of the largest.   Read more.  The Nation's Report Card -  States Comparison / Overall Review

The Office of the Legislative Auditor is working on an evaluation of Minnesota's early childhood programs which was supposed to be released prior to the legislative session.  The report was delayed but is expected to come out in April.  The evaluation description.  

A SEE side-by-side comparison summary of the Governor, House and Senate's policy provisions in the education policy omnibus bills is available here on the SEE website.  

As always, see  Brad's Blog  for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.    
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