The Weekly Advocate

In This Issue
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Legislative Action
News on MSBA's Platform Issues

Innovation Zones

MSBA's Denise Dittrich testified in response to the  Governor's proposed education budget. Dittrich expressed disappointment that innovation zones flexibility and funding was not included.  

Dittrich explained school districts exist in a rapidly changing world and should research new educational models. Schools need additional flexibility from current laws and rules to develop locally generated solutions. These innovation zones should demonstrate the value of redesigned educational models. 

Many schools are on the cutting-edge of new designs for learning but are constrained by elements of state law. Schools and districts need additional flexibility to innovate. In areas where flexibility has been allowed, results are promising with improvement in test scores and other outcomes.

Contact your legislators and ask them to continue to support flexibility in learning through innovation zones.


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 7
 February 13, 2017

Monday Morning Legislative Briefing

A Message from Kirk on the
Teacher Retirement Association (TRA)

View our videos on YouTube

This week will be full of bills heard on pensions, retirement and TRA. Can TRA Be Saved? MSBA thinks it should be saved; however, what the final solution looks like is important. 
MSBA believes the employer portion of the solvency plan should come from the state's general fund, not the operating funds of school districts. 

Case You Missed It
The Governor's proposed budget is getting lots of attention across the state. To see how much your school district would receive in new funding, click here:
General Education Formula
Special Education
Debt Service
Child Care (By County)
Home Visiting (By County)

MSBA thanks the Governor for a major investment in public schools.  We believe 2 percent is a good start; however, MSBA would prefer the funds cover at least the rate of inflation since this is the most equitable distribution of education money. This is important as it allows school districts to determine local needs and priorities and fund them appropriately. The proposal for special education is a small step in reducing the cross-subsidy. This underfunding has been a persistent problem and results in a structural deficit for every school district. MSBA believes this investment allows for less reliance on the general fund or raising local property taxes. We applaud the target of $603 million and  feel it answers the needs and reflects Minnesota  values. 

Please thank Governor Dayton for the $603 million investment in public schools and emphasize the need to hold strong on that target. 
Contact your Senator and State Representatives and urge them to support a target of at least $600 million.

Looking Back 

The Committee on E-12 Finance heard bills on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based courses; appropriations for Minnesota principals academy, the establishment of a rural career and technical education consortium and Minnesota reading corps programs. In addition, a bill to make the compensatory education revenue pilot project permanent was heard. 

The House Education Innovation Policy, heard HF 731, civics testing added to the required curriculum. MSBA believes this bill is not necessary and may encourage a "teaching to the test" situation.

The Senate Committee on E-12 Finance heard a bill (Kiffmeyer SF 189) on creating a new source of state aid for school districts with low general education revenue and property wealth. MSBA 
supports the legislature to increase equity funding and equalization revenue to reduce 
the difference between the highest and lowest funded school districts.

Thursday morning, the House Education Innovation Policy Committee heard the Student Discipline Working Group report.
The groups recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature are detailed in  The Advocate. 
Four of the recommendations increase funding for mental health and support staff to meet the diverse needs of students.  The committee overwhelmingly suggested reports of physical assault or violent behavior should not be required to be given to future teachers if after one year there is not another incident. MSBA agrees with the co-chair when she stated, "Children should not have to live with one mistake...teacher notification may taint the reputation of the student before they get in the classroom."
The last recommendation by the group requires more district reporting and MSBA feels current reporting is adequate.  
No formal action was taken after the report was heard.     
Cathy Miller, director of legal and policy services, was a part of the 22 member panel. 

Looking Forward
Senate Education Committees will hear billd on:
  • early childhood, K-12 and adult education appropriations;
  • asthma inhalers in schools and high school teachers dual enrollment instruction authorization; and
  • education partnerships coalition fund establishment and appropriation.

ESSA Update
Congress has taken the first step toward overturning the federal ESSA rules. Education Week's blog tells how it could have far reaching consequences.
What does this mean for Minnesota? MDE continues to move forward with several working groups and committees to develop the new state accountability plan and MSBA continues to be involved in all phases of the statewide development plan.
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. 819, A bill prohibiting public school employees from using public funds and resources to advocate to pass, elect, or defeat a political candidate, ballot question, or pending legislation.

H. F. 831, A bill linking extended time revenue to the basic formula allowance.

H. F. 832, A bill reinstating funding for the college-level examination program.

H. F. 850, A bill establishing requirements for out-of-state teachers to obtain teaching licenses in Minnesota .

H. F. 877, A bill codifying and making permanent the innovative delivery of career and technical education pilot project.

H. F. 883, A bill providing for innovative instruction in inclement weather.

S.F. No. 618: A bill establishing an agricultural educator grant program .

S.F. No. 709: A bill authorizing additional early repayments of maximum effort capital loans.



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