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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 14 - May 11, 2020
Legislative Update
Seven days left in the legislative session
The Legislature is in the final days of the 2020 session and must adjourn sine die one week from today. Six days are left to pass bills, by Constitutional law, no legislation can pass on the last day of the biennium.  Leadership gave committee chairs until midnight Saturday to present agreed upon language, and consequently there are still many unanswered questions.

But this is what we do know:

*    Governor Walz has requested an extension for the COVID-19 fund that expires today;
*    The current Peace Time Emergency declaration expires Wednesday; and,
*    Monday, May 18 the "Stay at Home" order expires and it is the deadline for the Minnesota Legislature to end its regular session.
 
There is much still in play and there are some "power-struggles", which we have eluded to in our webinars.
 
COVID-19 Funding
The House passed HF 1507 last Thursday along party lines. The bill labeled the "COVID-19 Economic Security Act," would appropriate $208 million in the 2020-21 biennium to provide economic relief including mortgage and rent protection, emergency small-business loans and resources to care for families.

The bill would appropriate:
Click to view spreadsheet

* $100 million for eviction and mortgage foreclosure protection/emergency housing assistance;
* $55 million for small-business emergency loans;
* $27 million for grant programs to fund distance learning, broadband access and equipment for telemedicine; and
* $26 million for a temporary 15% pay increase for personal care assistants during the pandemic.

Distance Learning Broadband Grants
We were pleased to see the allocation of $27 million for grant programs for distance learning.  The bill would appropriate 1)  $15 million for emergency distance learning wireless needs on a per pupil basis, 2) $10 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program that would fund broadband expansion projects in parts of the state that are most sorely lacking access to high-speed internet, and 3) $2 million for telemedicine that would reimburse licensed health care providers and counties that purchase and install telemedicine equipment to diagnose and evaluate patients with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill now moves to the Senate floor.
MSBA encourages you to reach out to your legislators and ask them to support the $15 million for distance learning wireless needs and expenditures for our students.
 
Click to read the Budget Projection
State Economic Outlook
The much anticipated news of our state's economic outlook was shared last Tuesday by Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB). Minnesota is facing a $2.4 billion deficit, almost a $4 billion swing from February's forecast.

Federal  
MSBA will be publishing a Weekly Advocate later this week specifically on federal issues.  
 
Letter from MSBA to U.S. Secretary DeVos  
On behalf of Minnesota school boards, Kirk Schneidawind sent a letter to U.S. Secretary DeVos sharing our concern with her recently released non-binding guidance Providing Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Non-Public Schools under the CARES Act Programs. He strongly urged her to revise the guidance, so it aligns with the underlying law.     
 
The Minnesota Congressional delegation received a copy of the letter as well.  
  
Upcoming Meetings and Events  
The House will most likely have daily floor sessions.

Check the Combined Legislative Meeting Calendar for updates and additions.

Please watch Twitter for updates.    
 
Bill Introductions  
HF 4633/SF 4572 -  A school board must provide annual notice to parents of the school district's policy relating to a pupil's absence from school for religious observance.  (Masin/Carlson) 
HF 4628 -  relating to employment; requiring temporary periods of furlough for public employees. (Runbeck)
HF 4663 - creating an ethnic studies requirement and advisory board. (Lee) 
SF 4554 - increasing funding and modifying provisions for gifted and talented programs (Goggin) 
SF 4575 - requiring the commissioner to equitably distribute the state education agencies reserve portion of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund; requiring certain uses of relief funds and permanent school fund apportionment. (Wiger) 
SF 4580/ HF 4660 - establishing a distance learning broadband access grant program; requiring the commissioner to equitably distribute the state education agencies reserve portion of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (Torres-Ray/Moran) 
 
Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103