Governor Dayton held press conferences Tuesday morning and today announcing a proposal for $137.9 million in one-time, emergency funding for school districts. The much-needed funding would equate to a 2 percent increase or $126 per pupil.
Here are what some of our school board members are saying about Governor Dayton's proposal.
"A one-time emergency appropriation to school districts statewide will buy us the time we need to reassess how we budget. More immediately, it will give us $6 million for the coming school year, which means we will be able to soften the impact on our students and teachers. Saint Paul's Board of Education applauds this proposal and urges the Legislature to pass it." - Saint Paul Public Schools Board Chair Zuki Ellis
"We are very supportive of the governor's proposal, and it will help us this year." - Robbinsdale Area School Board President John Vento
"It is very difficult to recommend changes in staffing; we are in a difficult business. We know there have been a lot of conversations with administration. We need to make sure we are doing our due diligence to provide our students the best services we can provide." - Cambridge-Isanti School Board Chair Tim Hitchings
"We're at a place now where we're making $2 million cuts. Our administration is bare-bones. Our teaching staff is bare-bones. It really hurts. The stuff that was easy to cut was cut 10 years ago. You're put into a position where you're doing what you know is wrong for those kids." - Rob Rapheal, Forest Lake Area School Board Chair
"When you look at what has been done to get us to $2.2 (million) deficit spending, it bites." - Dan Luth, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School Board Member Share your story with Governor Dayton.
Senate - Education Policy Bill (S.F. 3086) The E-12 Education Policy omnibus bill passed off the floor on Tuesday with bipartisan support on a 42-25 vote.
Several amendments were offered and many of those had lengthy debates. Chair Eric Pratt provided an overview of the bill and then offered an amendment to do three key things:
Require school boards and charter schools to adopt a threat assessment policy that establishes a process for the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may pose a threat to safety of school staff or students;
Extend the deadline by two months to implement the new tiered-licensing system from July 1 to September 1 for the Professional Educator Licensing Standards Board (PELSB); and
If a school district finds the presence of lead at 20 parts per billion or more in a water source that provides water for consumption, it must immediately shut off the water source or make it unavailable until remediated. The district also must within 30 days of receiving the test result either remediate the presence of lead as verified by a retest or directly notify parents of the test result.
Sen. Dan Hall offered an amendment to allow school boards to display the national motto, "In God We Trust." The end result was a 38-29 vote allowing the motto to be displayed if desired.
In a surprise move, the Senate voted to remove the academic star-rating provision with an amendment offered by Sen. Susan Kent. The amendment passed 35-32.
Sen. Steve Cwodzinski offered an amendment to insert language to require school districts to require a course in civics in the 11th or 12th grade. After some floor discussion, he withdrew his amendment.
Sen. Charles Wiger successfully proposed an amendment to allow the Commissioner of Education to authorize an innovation zone partner to substitute the high school Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) required for graduation with a nationally normed college entrance exam that is (1) aligned with the state academic standards and (2) includes career and college readiness benchmarks.
Senate - Tax Bill (S.F. 3982) The Senate bill proposes conforming to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), allowing 529 plan distributions for K-12 expenses for tuition for elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.
There is a provision to require the Commissioner of Revenue to study and report on methods used to value pipelines and other utilities.