The Weekly Advocate



Quick Links
Special Education Resolution Map
Who Represents Me?
Legislative Action
Calendar Items

School Boards  Day at the Capitol

Monday, March 19

Check-in 7:30 a.m.
Walk-ins Welcome 
A day making a difference for schools and school boards. 

Hot Topics:
*    TRA: 
Is 2018 the Year? John Wicklund, TRA

*    Special Education: Where is the Breakdown?
Tom Melcher, MDE

*    School Safety:
The New Normal - Randy Johnson, Minnesota School Safety Center

*    Federal Tax Bill:  Will Minnesota Conform? -
Paul Cummings,
Dept. of Revenue







 
   
2018 Legislative Session
Week 5 - March 19, 2018

Legislative Updates 
We are publishing our Weekly Advocate today as Governor Dayton's supplemental budget bill was introduced today and Monday is MSBA's Day at the Capitol event.
We will send a special edition next Tuesday (March 20) with updates on House and Senate policy bills. There have been many bills introduced and moving fast in an effort to meet the first deadline next Friday, March 23. Many of these bills impact school boards.

Governor Dayton's Supplemental Budget Bill
MSBA is pleased that Gov. Mark Dayton's supplemental budget has identified some crucial funding needs for Minnesota public schools.

Special Education Cross-Subsidy
One of MSBA members' biggest concerns is finding a solution for the $679 million cross-subsidy for special education. Dayton's supplemental budget proposal looks to fund nearly $17 million of that amount in FY19 and recommends another $43 million in the next biennium. MSBA has lead the charge in creating of a special education funding task force (HF 2846/SF 2698) that can look at the funding issues and recommend steps to fund the $679 million cross-subsidy over a period of time. We are hopeful such a group can be established for long-term funding issues.  The governor has proposed an additional $43 million in the 2020/21 biennium to address school district special education costs.

School safety
The governor's support of Safe and Secure School Act is very timely and would be a one-time benefit of $18 per pupil for school safety - whether it be for building improvements, police liaisons or programs suited to a school's safety needs.  His proposal also establishes a school-based mental health grant opportunity.  In FY 2020 and beyond, the proposal would double the safe school levy from $36 per pupil to $72 per pupil and establish a minimum levy amount of $30,000.  And, the proposal would equalize the safe school levy.   
 
TRA solution
MSBA is also glad to see Gov. Dayton tackling the issue of teacher pensions.  Adequate state aid to fund the employer portion of the increase ($10.8 million) is very important to our school boards and districts.   

Additional proposals related to E-12 education include:

*    Increasing funding for voluntary Pre-K and School Readiness.
*    Expanding Early Learning Scholarships to children from low-income families who are 3 years old or younger, and giving parents more time to use the scholarships.
*    Increasing funding to the Help Me Grow system for children and their families served from birth to third-grade.
*    Money for background checks for all Head Start locations.
*    Increasing funding for kindergarten students with a disability.
*    Simplifying referendum and Local Optional Revenue calculations.
*    Using leftover Regional Library Telecom Aid to be used to improve internet access at public schools.
*    Removing the funding cap for Q Comp program participants.
*    Eliminating off-grade test questions to shorten the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.
*    One-time funding of Border-to-Border Broadband grants to under-served areas of the state (Employment and Economic Development).
*    In total, the governor's supplemental budget for 2018-19 proposes to invest an additional $35.9 million in the education portion of the state's budget.

"The proposals to the supplemental budget around special education, safe schools and stabilizing school district budgets with respect to the employer portion of the TRA are critical for our school boards and school districts", said Kirk Schneidawind, MSBA's executive director.

Legislative Updates

Threat Assessments

H.F. 3370 (Franke)/S.F. 2993 (Bigham) requires a school district to establish a threat assessment team for every school. The team is required to assess and intervene with individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to safety.

A suggestion was brought forth to create a pilot project with schools of different sizes and locales to determine strengths and pitfalls, such as implementation expenses and staffing, of the assessment team model.
The bill was re-referred to Civil Law.

School Lunches and Unpaid Debt Policies
One thing everyone agrees on is that no child should be demeaned or stigmatized due to an unpaid lunch debt. What is up for debate is who should be responsible for creating and enforcing policies surrounding unpaid meal debts. H.F. 2724 (Jurgens) requires the commissioner of education to coordinate and review school meals policies. It would also create an unpaid school lunch account in the special revenue fund that would allow the commissioner to retain federal funding for districts without a policy. This would bar districts without a policy from receiving payments from the National School Lunch program.

Denise Dittrich testified that no one wants to stigmatize or shame a child. She pointed out that MSBA does have a model policy (534) that addresses most concerns in this bill. To have the commissioner charged with an annual review process may be overly burdensome. Of more concern is the punitive measures of taking funds from a school, that may in fact have a very generous lunch practices in place.  

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.

Data Practices
A bill creating new protections for student data privacy ( H.F. 1507) once again made its way back for another hearing. Rep. Lucero 's bill expands privacy protections for students' data that is maintained by third-parties. It also expands privacy rights to include multiple devices a school may issue to students for their use. And finally, it requires schools to create audit trails for a student's device activities and provide annual training for employees with access to student data.

MSBA addressed concerns and Rep. Lucero is open to working through concerns surrounding the cost and frequency of training employees.
The bill was re-referred to Education Innovation Policy.

Academic Achievement Ratings
Restaurants and movies may have a simple star or single letter rating system, but is that appropriate for schools is the question legislators pondered this week. 

Rep. Peterson introduced H.F. 3178 requiring the commissioner to use statewide test scores and graduation rates to assign schools and districts star ratings and academic achievement score ratings.

MSBA believes that the recommendations from the existing stakeholder engagement ESSA meetings should be considered. As ESSA begins to take form, the dashboard system is in the design phase should be looked at.

Upcoming Legisl
ative Meetings

House
 
Monday, March 19, 2018 
10:15 AM       
Ways and Means 
Room: 200 State Office Building 
Chair: Rep. Jim Knoblach 
Agenda: 
Special education funding overview

3:00 PM  
Committee on E-12 Finance
Chair: Sen. Carla J. Nelson
Room 1100 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
Agenda:
S.F. 2198 - Utke Music education online access for rural children and students grant program establishment and appropriation.
S.F. 2105 - Eichorn Nonpublic students in tenth grade enrollment in postsecondary enrollment options authorization and appropriation.
S.F. 2652 - Nelson Pupils enrolled in postsecondary enrollment options transportation aid calculation modification. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 
8:15 AM      
Meeting Time Note: If necessary, committee will reconvene at 5:00 pm.
Education Innovation Policy
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson
Agenda:
HF3315 Erickson Prekindergarten through grade 12 education provided, including general education, education excellence, teachers, facilities and technology, nutrition, early childhood and family support, and self-sufficiency and lifelong learning.

There will be a delete-all amendment to this bill. Another notice will be sent when that document is posted.

1:00 PM      
Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jenifer Loon
Agenda:
TBA

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 
1:00 PM      
Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jenifer Loon
Agenda:
TBA 

Thursday, March 22, 2018  
8:15 AM       
Education Innovation Policy 
Room: 10 State Office Building 
Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson 
Agenda: 
TBA

Senate 
Monday, March 19, 2018
3:00 PM  
Committee on E-12 Finance
Chair: Sen. Carla J. Nelson
Room 1100 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
Agenda:
TBA

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 
3:00 PM  
Committee on E-12 Policy
Chair: Sen. Eric R. Pratt
Room 1100 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
Agenda:
TBA

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
3:00 PM   
Committee on E-12 Finance
Chair: Sen. Carla J. Nelson
Room 1100 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
Agenda:
TBA
   
Bill Introductions
Important bills introduced week of March 12 - 16
 
H. F. 3594 - Teachers of Color Act; seeking to increase the percentage of teachers of color and American Indian teachers in Minnesota above four percent and the percentage of diverse teacher candidates above ten percent by 2020. (Koznick)

H. F. 3597 - allowing teacher candidates to obtain a Tier 3 license without passing basic skills exams. (Daniels)

H. F. 3599 - increasing the safe schools levy; linking the portion of the levy available for intermediate school districts to the school district per pupil allowance. (Wills)

H. F. 3600 - requesting legislative auditor compare revenue generation and spending between school districts and charter schools. (Loon)

H. F. 3665 - requiring display of national motto in school buildings. (Lohmer)

H. F. 3668 - extending deadline to implement tiered licensure. (Mariani)

H. F. 3692 - requiring screening for dyslexia. (Jessup)

H. F. 3697 - requiring school board policy on student deaths. (Carlson, A.)

H. F. 3718 - appropriating money for students in alternative programs. (Bly)

H. F. 3739 - providing for an academic balance policy. (Erickson)

S. F. 3213 - amending provisions related to absence from school for religious observance. (Carlson) 

S.F. 3233 -  modifying teacher shortage areas; modifying coursework to obtain a Tier 3 teaching license. (Clausen)

S.F. 3235 - extending deadline to implement tiered licensure. (Clausen)

S.F. 3239 -  modifying exemptions from compulsory school attendance. (Anderson, B.)

S.F. 3255 - education finance; substance misuse prevention; providing a grant for substance misuse prevention instruction. (Eaton)

S.F. 3260 - linking operating referendum equalization factors to statewide growth in property tax base. (Anderson, B.)

 S.F. 3416 - prohibiting limits on school district hiring authority; withholding basic revenue. (Utke)

S.F. 3433 - authorizing pupil transportation for certain pregnant and parenting teens. (Draheim)

S.F. 3435 - requiring the Minnesota State High School League to adopt regulations relating to youth hockey. (Housley)

S.F. 3439 - clarifying the authority of school districts to implement competency-based courses and education programs. (Nelson) 
Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
   http://www.mnmsba.org
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103