The Weekly Advocate

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Legislative Action
News on MSBA's Platform Issues

School Choice

Make Public Schools Your First Choice!

Recently several bills were heard in the House and Senate regarding school choice, tax credits and tax deductions.
Send a message to your elected officials that we DO provide many school choices within the public school system and that is where precious resources need to be targeted.

My Legislators

Calendar Items

Save the date! Public Conversation on Well-Rounded Education
Please join us Saturday, February 25 at 10 a.m. at Brooklyn Center High School for a public conversation on well-rounded education with Commissioner Cassellius. Ensuring all students have access to a well-rounded education is a core principle of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Please register to attend or see the  flier for more details. See you there!

Mark your calendars now for
Monday, April 3 for MSBA Day at the  Capitol.

Committee Deadlines Announced
1st Deadline -
Friday, March 10 at midnight.
2nd Deadline -
Friday, March 17 at midnight.
3rd Deadline -
Friday, March 31 at midnight.

 2017 Legislative Session - Week 6
 February 6, 2017

Monday Morning Legislative Briefing

Looking Back 
Committees continued their overviews, updates and presentations of reports. Here is a compilation of the most recent:
School Trust Lands Update
Aaron Vande Linde, director of Minnesota's School Trust Lands, provided an update to the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee.  The assets benefiting Minnesota public school students now total $1.2 billion, 80 percent of which comes from mineral rights. Former House Rep.Tom Rukavina testified on his frustration over the past 26 years of trying to maximize the results of the trust. Current dividend payment from the trust is approximately $30 per public school student annually. 

Looking Forward
Tuesday morning in House Education Innovation Policy, Rep. Erickson will hear a bill to have civics testing added to the required curriculum.
Tuesday afternoon the Senate E-12 Policy Committee will hear a presentation of the Office of the Legislative Auditor's Evaluation of Minnesota Teacher Licensure report.
There will also be a presentation on the Report on the Legislative Study on Teacher Licensing from the working group.

The Teacher Supply and Demand Report has been released.  Some key findings include:
  • All economic development regions are experiencing increased American Indian/Alaskan Native,Hispanic, and Black student enrollment, while 11 of 13 of the economic development regions are experiencing growth in Asian/Pacific Islander student enrollment. The number of white students has decreased in all but two of the economic development regions.
  • District and charter school survey results indicate  there is access to effective teachers that reflect the student population for white students, but not for Black, Asian/Pacific Highlander, American Indian/Alaskan Native, or Hispanic student populations.
  • The number of teachers reported as leaving their positions has increased 46 percent since 2008-09. The largest number of teachers leave because of retirement, personal reasons, or because they have taken a position in another district.
  • The average percentage of teachers leaving the profession after 1 year is 15.1 percent and over a quarter of the teachers leave the profession after 3 years (25.9%).
  • Survey data indicates hiring officials at district and charter schools believe the two largest barriers of those listed are a competitive job market and teacher salary. 
  • Survey responses from district and charter school hiring officials perceived difficult to fill positions correspond closely to the federal shortage list.
MSBA will be introducing a teacher shortage bill  addressing many of these findings.

Federal Effort
Sen. Franken talking with MSBA members before DeVos vote.
MSBA board of directors and other school board members spent time on Capitol Hill last week meeting with members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation.
A highlight was a hallway meeting with Sen. Franken before he voted against the nomination for education secretary.
Other discussions addressed the
implementation of ESSA, federal education investments, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, education choice and The Child Nutrition Act. For more details on a successful trip, please see below.

School Board Members (Herring, Richardson, Cuene, Donovan and Jones) meet with Rep. Paulsen.
Bills of Interest & Impact
New Bills and Bill Updates
As session progresses, we will provide updates on significant bills that have been heard. When possible, we will provide links to the video so you can watch with us.

Newly Introduced Education Bills of Interest

H. F. 602, A bill providing that the education expense credit and deduction apply to certain expenditures for prekindergarten expenses .

  H. F. 625, A bill increasing funding for the community education revenue program; increasing the minimum population guarantee .

H. F. 627, A bill modifying the calculation of referendum equalization revenue, aid, and levy.

  H. F. 640, A bill establishing a Professional Educator Standards Board; providing for rulemaking.

  H. F. 646, A bill appropriating money for the Minnesota reading corps program.

  H. F. 652, A bill authorizing a school district to renew an annual food service management contract up to three additional times.

H. F. 668, A bill requiring a dyslexia and literacy specialist .

H. F. 670, A bill making the compensatory revenue pilot project permanent.

H. F. 675, A bill allowing schools to maintain a supply of asthma inhalers.

H. F. 689, A bill appropriating money for school districts to develop science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based courses.

H. F. 719, A bill appropriating money for the Minnesota math corps program.

H. F. 721, A bill for Teachers Retirement Association; administrative provisions; revising the definition of teacher; extending the retirement application deadline; creating a procedure for payment upon the death of member's former spouse; revising reporting requirements; modifying augmentation provisions for periods of uninterrupted service; clarifying part-time teacher provisions; making other changes of an administrative nature .

H. F. 722, A bill for T eachers Retirement Association financial solvency measures; increasing employer contribution rates; modifying the investment return actuarial assumption; reducing deferral amount and implementing forfeiture procedure for reemployed annuitants; extending the amortization target date; reducing postretirement adjustment increase rates; eliminating postretirement adjustment trigger procedures; authorizing additional funding for school districts to pay for higher teacher retirement employer contribution costs; modifying interest rates charged on certain payments .

H. F. 731, A bill adding civics testing to required curriculum.

H. F. 734, A bill enhancing education partnerships; promoting youth development; establishing an education partnerships coalition fund.

  S.F. No. 442: A bill appropriating money for the Minnesota math corps program.

S.F. No. 443: A bill  appropriating money for the Minnesota reading corps program.

  S.F. No. 453: A bill requiring a dyslexia and literacy specialist .

  S.F. No. 468: A bill requiring a personal learning plan for third grade students who do not read at grade level; requiring that a student who does not meet high school standards be informed that admission to a public school is free until age 21.

  S.F. No. 489: A bill making the compensatory revenue pilot project permanent .
A message from Kirk and the GR Team
New President. New Congress. New Challenges.
It was great to be in Washington, D.C. with MSBA's executive board of directors and five other school board members from Minnesota as a part of NSBA's Advocacy Institute 2017.
History in the Making - It was fascinating to be on the Hill the day the education secretary's vote was to take place. We were fortunate enough to have Sen. Franken spend a few minutes with us in the hallway prior to going into vote. He explained his rationale to oppose the nomination and then we had the opportunity to hear him make similar comments to the committee.

The faces on Capitol Hill have changed but our message has not. We stand up for the 850,000 students in our Minnesota public schools. We reminded Congress of all the public school choice throughout our communities.  From local magnet schools and charter schools to public specialty schools, those offering specialized curricula for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as language immersions, many of our public school districts provide several options for the success of our students.

ESSA Implementation - We thanked our members of Congress for exerting pressure resulting in withdrawal of the Department's proposed regulations for Supplement, not Supplant. We urged Congress to continue to provide oversight so that any new rules would be in line with the intent of ESSA law.

Federal Education Investments - Our message was strong. It is time to realize the promise of funding 40% of special education costs. Local school districts cannot continue to take funds to off-set the deficit in special education.

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act - The groups urged Congress to reauthorize this Act  quickly. We will continue to increase the number of students entering four year colleges - however it is not the path for all.  Some students want to learn a technical skill. Currently, it is often seen as "Plan B".  We need to recognize both pathways as "Plan A".

School Nutrition Reauthorization Act - Members discussed the need to enact child nutrition programs  that provide flexibility and relief for school districts with things such as whole grain content and sodium reduction targets. We discussed the need to increase reimbursement levels and other funds to cover the cost of compliance. And finally, we asked for the ability to have local control for school districts with implementation.

It was a very productive few days in which big messages were heard.


Your Government Relations Team
Grace Keliher
Denise Dittrich
Kimberley Lewis

Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 |
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103