The Weekly Advocate

Quick Links
 Safe Schools Provisions in Bonding Bill 
*A school district may apply for a school safety facility grant in the form and manner specified by the commissioner of education.
*After consultation with the Department of Public Safety's Minnesota School Safety Center, the commissioner of education may award a school safety facility grant, on a first-come, first-served basis, to a school district of no more than $500,000 for each qualifying school building. At least half of the grants must be awarded to school districts with administrative offices located outside the Metro Area.
*Grants may be used to pre-design, design, construct, furnish, and equip school facilities and includes renovating and expanding existing buildings and facilities. Before a grant is approved, the district must provide documentation on how the grant will be used. No money for construction may be distributed until bids have been received on 100 percent of the construction documents and satisfactory documentation has been submitted indicating the project can be fully completed with money available for the project.
*Grants are available when the commissioner of management and budget determines that sufficient resources have been committed to complete the project.

2018 Legislative Session
Sine Die - May 21, 2018

End of Legislative Session 
The 90th legislative session adjourned sine die just before midnight last night. The day began with an early morning vote passing the mega-bill, the supplemental budget omnibus conference report ( S.F. 3656), on the floor. By 10:30 a.m., a new bill ( H.F. 947) was introduced in a revived education conference committee meeting. The new report had one education article and 14 tax articles, posturing to be the vehicle to pass tax conformity and school safety aid. Finally, the day culminated with the unanimous passing of the pension bill by both the House and Senate.

H.F. 947 became a vehicle to get a bill for safe and secure schools and tax conformity. The bill, if signed into law, offers school boards greater flexibility and local control.

The first section provides flexibility with staff development funds. This would allow a school board to adopt a written resolution waiving or changing the 2 percent reserve for staff development for fiscal year 2019 only.

The second section provides one-time compensation of $57.73 per pupil for student and school safety, coming from a transfer of $50 million from the general fund. 

The final provision allows districts, with permission from the Commissioner of Education and according to the board's fund balance policy, to transfer surplus funds from the community education reserve account to the general fund. If approved, the transfers could take place only on June 30, 2018, and June 30, 2019.

These provisions took up three pages of a 212-page bill, referred to as the Tax Conformity/Emergency School Aid Conference Committee Report. It passed in the Senate on a 34-33 vote and in the House 85-42.

Governor Dayton's Response
Governor Dayton now has two bills with education provisions on his desk for signature -- though the likelihood of him signing either bill is slim. He has two weeks to sign or veto the bill.

Pension - TRA
The final bill of the evening in both the House and Senate was the pension bill ( S.F. 2620). After several years and negotiations, a bill was unanimously passed Sunday night. Governor Dayton is expected to sign the bill.

Bonding - School and Student Safety 
There is no doubt that school and student safety was a key issue this legislative session. After weeks of discussions, meetings and press conferences, $25 million in grant money was proposed in the bonding bill ( H.F. 1226).
MSBA will continue to update members and provide a detailed summary when and if bills are signed into law.  
Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 |
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103