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AASA Call to Action: Sign NationWide Letter Calling on Congress to Address Homework Gap
AASA has drafted a letter, to be sent to all members of Congress, urging them to take immediate action to support all students displaced from their classrooms, and we are aiming to collect as many signatures as possible from all 50 states.

You can read the full letter and sign your name here.
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Map of School Closures Due to COVID-19
32 states, as of April 19, have closed schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.


Governor Walz has issued several Executive Orders to deal with COVID-19.
Webinar - Legislative Update - Recorded April 27
Webinar - School Board Meetings and COVID-19
Week 13 - May 4, 2020
Legislative Update
The Minnesota Legislature is on the countdown until end of session and there is much work to be done. Officially there are ten legislative days left in session. Much of the work this session has focused on bills that impact the COVID-19 pandemic.  What has been missing this session is a bonding bill - a bill that allows borrowing which in turn creates jobs for public construction projects. An article in the StarTribune last Saturday illustrates some of the tug and pull between the Democrats and Republicans.  
 
Both the House and Senate will hold floor sessions today (Monday). The House has two bills of interest to school board members. The first is the elections bill (HF 3429) that addresses concerns of safe and secure elections. The bill: 
1) allows designating new or moving polling places, up to July 1;
2) allows deputizing employees of health care facilities and hospitals to administer absentee voting to residents or patients;
3) extends the period during which absentee ballots may be processed, to include up to three days following the election, to accommodate expected increases in absentee voting activity;
4) requires local governments to begin processing absentee ballots starting 14 days before election day, and prohibits a voter from "clawing back" a ballot if it has been accepted starting on that date; and 
5) permits affidavits of candidacy, nominating and other types of petitions, and requests that write-in votes be counted to be submitted in an electronic format.  Petitions may include electronic signature.
 
The other bill on the House floor today is one we have followed and reported on many times over the last couple of months. A summary of HF 4415 is as follows:
*Requires school districts and charter schools to pay hourly employees for any hours they were scheduled to work, but did not.
*Requires districts to reimburse companies they contract with, such as private bus companies, if the company chooses to pay their employees.
*Makes technical forecast adjustments to some of our school finance formulas, so revenue is not lost to schools.

There are 11 forecast adjustment areas include:

*Special Education Pupil Transportation
*School Meals
*Career and Technical Revenue
*Nonpublic Pupil Transportation
*Integration and Desegregation Transportation Aid
*Adult Basic Education Literacy Incentive Aid
*Community Education After-School Programs
*School-Age Care Programs
*Early Childhood Screening
*Achievement and Integration Revenue

*Grants the Commissioner of Education the ability to waive requirements regarding statewide assessments, class advancement, graduation and course requirements.
*Requires PELSB to issue provisional licenses for teacher candidates who couldn't complete the required exams and to extend teacher license renewal requirements by six months.
*Authorizes a school district to account for an employees hours in the same way, or the same category, as they were prior to distance learning.
*Allows a school board to approve fund transfers due to the reassignment of employees.  
 
We await further notice on additional sessions scheduled this week.  
 
The House Ways and Means Committee will receive a state budget forecast update on Wednesday morning at 8:30 am. This will provide a much anticipated look at the impact COVID-19 has had on our economic outlook.  
 
Distance learning, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has shed a light on the inequities of Internet or broadband access across Minnesota.
The Senate voted unanimously in favor Monday morning to add $8 million for distance learning wireless or wire-lined broadband access for student grants for school districts and $2 million for grants to purchase telemedicine equipment (SF 4494). In the House, a $15 million appropriation is a part of a package of four COVID-19 bills, the COVID-19 Economic Security Act package will be the new bill and HF 1507 will be the bill number.  
 
Action Alert
MSBA would like to share a letter The School Superintendents Dissociation (AASA) has drafted , to be sent to all members of Congress, urging them to take immediate action to support all students displaced from their classrooms, and we are aiming to collect as many signatures as possible from all 50 states. We encourage you to read and sign as well.

The COVID-19 pandemic is shinning a bright light on one of the inequities for today's students: the homework gap. The pandemic forced more than 55 million students into a remote learning reality, resulting in an immediate struggle to ensure students can access online learning. It is anticipated that 12 million students across the nation lack internet access to support online learning. 

Congress must ensure the next COVID-19 funding package include $4 billion in direct funds to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Schools and Libraries Program, commonly called the E-Rate program. These funds will help connect millions of students to the internet so they can continue their education during the 2020-2021 academic school year. Please review the letter and sign your name to the list, making sure to submit your state and district name.  
 
Federal  
Friday, April 27th U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced her plans for a new program through the CARES Act that consists of $307.5 million in discretionary grant funds that will be available for states. The grants will be funded through the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to the press release, the program will "provide education freedom and economic opportunity for America's students." The funds will be divided into two competitions. The Rethink K-12 School Models Grant will receive $180 million and the Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grant will receive $127.5 million.
 
Upcoming Meetings and Events  
Monday, May 4 8:00 AM  (This may be the last committee meeting of the session) 
House Education Finance Division
HTV 2
Agenda:
HF4542 Forecast adjustments made to general education, education excellence, teachers, special education, facilities, nutrition and libraries, early childhood, and community and lifelong learning; Departments of Education and Labor and Industry responsibilities clarified for construction and skills trades career counseling services; and base appropriations adjusted. (Davnie)
During this hearing the committee will walk through and mark up the delete everything amendment to HF4542 . This is the DE 2 amendment that is attached. No outside testimony will be taken.

8:30 AM      
House Ways and Means
Chair: Rep. Lyndon Carlson
Live Video - HTV 1
Agenda:
Presentation by MMB budget outlook
- Commissioner Myron Frans
- Dr. Laura Kalambokidis, State Economist
- Britta Reitan, State Budget Director
Presentation on unallotment
- Colbey Sullivan, House Research
This remote hearing may be viewed live via the following methods:
1) Live stream via House website
2) Facebook Live
3) YouTube

Wednesday, May 6  2:30 PM      
House Education Policy
Live Video
HTV 1
Chair: Rep. Cheryl Youakim
Agenda
HF163 * (Youakim): School board vacancy technical changes made.

Wednesday, May 6  3:00 PM

Senate E-12 Finance and Policy
Livestreamed at Youtube or MnSenateMedia
Agenda:
To be announced.

Check the Combined Legislative Meeting Calendar for updates and additions.

Please watch Twitter for updates.    
 
Bill Introductions  
HF 4613 - specifying that counties and municipalities must not designate school buildings as polling places unless no other building is available (Bierman)  
  
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