The Weekly Advocate

In This Issue
Quick Links
Legislative Action
News on MSBA's Platform Issues
Teacher Shortage Act 2.0

Please reach out to your legislator in support of The Teacher Shortage Act 2.0 bill (HF 1663) (SF 1725). 
Share how your district can benefit from the recruiting, preparing and retaining of teachers.     

The StarTribune published a front-page, above the fold, article on teacher shortage. The article highlighted several components of our Teacher Shortage Act bill.

Photo by Gary Stubbe

Join us on Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and help us spread the word.

My Legislators

Calendar Items

Our day will begin with an overview and then head over to the Capitol.

Now is the best time to make appointments with your legislators. We encourage you to schedule meetings with:  

  • Senate between 10 - 11am.
  • House  between 1-3 pm.
We ask if you would please let us know so we can follow and arrange for a photographer.

Please email with "Meetings - DAC" in subject line.

There will be a Q & A with Leadership and key education committee members during lunch.

Last chance to register for hotel  please click here.

Committee Deadlines Announced
Next Deadline -
Friday, March 17 at midnight.
3rd Deadline -
Friday, March 31 at midnight.

Monday Legislative Briefing
March 13, 2017 - Week 11
A Video Message from Deb Pauly
"Please join us."
School Boards Day at the Capitol View our videos on YouTube 
A Legislative Alert from the GR Team
Schools Need 2% - We Need YouToday!
Today, Senator Nelson is hearing the 2% on the formula bill (SF 1556). This is the most important bill of this session and worked on by several education groups.
Now is the time to send a strong message - Call, write, tweet and/or attend the hearing today at 3 p.m. in the Minnesota Senate Building.  
Our elected officials need to hear from you, NOW.
Public schools need at least 2% to avoid major cuts.

Contact your legislators today!  
Looking Back   
The Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) released the Standardized Student Testing Evaluation Monday morning.
One of the key findings in the OLA's report, is a great amount of time and days are spent on standardized testing.  Another key finding was a significant number of teachers do not feel prepared to interpret much of the testing data reported by MDE. There will be a complete presentation of the OLA Report in the Education Innovation Policy Committee on Thursday, March 16.

Summary Report - Standardized Student Testing Evaluation

Full Report - Standardized Student Testing Evaluation

Education Policy Omnibus bills were rolled out last week. Bills are listed below.
House Committee Meetings  
  • Education Innovation Policy Chair Erickson Tuesday rolled out her Education Omnibus bill, H1376DE1.
    MSBA testified in support and noted for the most part there are no new requirements or reports for school boards.
Topics of Interest in Bill
E-Learning Days - Allows school districts to provide instruction via electronic devices during inclement weather up to five days per school year.  
CTE Innovation Zones - Allows for innovative education programs in Career and Technical Education. 
Disaggregated Data Requirements - Reduces the number of categories for statewide accountability reporting purposes. Six pilot sites will be created to make recommendations to the Legislature.

Please note, the teacher licensure bills are independent bills.The bills have one more stop before heading for a full floor vote for each, then differences will be worked out in conference committee. Please watch and listen for more information as these major reform bills proceed through the process.  
  • Health Insurance Transparency Act (HITA) is back. Rep. Kresha's bill (HF 1558) eliminates the need to go out for bid every two years, but not more than four years. It also eliminates the mandate to make Public Employee Insurance Program (PEIP) one of the bids. If a district is self-insured, they must still follow existing rules, but their bid requests can be from third-party administrators only. The bill will now move to House Education Finance. Let your legislator know that locally-elected school boards are best able to determine the frequency in which an insurance proposal is needed and from who. The two-year requirement places both financial and administrative burdens on districts. 
  • HF 654 Requires school district referenda questions related to spending may have to coincide with the annual general election dates. If passed, it would also require the amount of local option revenue the district receives be listed on the ballot. MSBA is not in support of having referenda questions on general election ballots. Please contact your legislator to stop this bill.
  Senate Committee Meetings   
  • The Senate heard it's education policy omnibus policy bill (S.F. 1222 ) on Friday afternoon. There are some striking differences from the House's bill - new mandates, reporting and requirements.
    • A late change took SF 1281 from a stand alone bill to being included in the omnibus bill. It allows public high school students to to take courses for graduation credit at a non-public school.  MSBA is concerned with the amount of release time provided. We believe there are practical, legal and logistical unintended consequences this provision may allow. 
    • A provision requiring districts to maintain a database and report monthly on utility consumption.
    • A personalized learning plan is required for all students who have not met reading proficiency by third grade. The language still provides the option for the student to be retained.
  • S.F. 1206 . The bill deals with education equalization aid modifications.
    • The debt service equalization revenue calculation would be modified so the amount a district's adjusted net tax capacity in excess of 12.5 percent would be eligible for equalization in a single tier.
    •  The equalized debt service levy calculation would be modified so that the levy is equal to the district's debt service equalization revenue times the ratio of the district's ANTC. 
    • The debt service equalization aid calculation would modify the second tier of referendum equalization revenue, increasing the threshold to $1,000.
    • The referendum equalization levy increases the second and third tier equalizing factor to $640,000 and $400,000, respectively.
Runs by district:
MSBA testified in support of this bill, along with several other education organizations.  
  •  S.F. 1555 A multifaceted bill for increasing the number of teachers of color and American Indian teachers. 
  • S.F. 1338 The bill eliminates the anchor license requirement allowing for the renewal of an ABS license without the need for further graduate education. This change would help retain special education teachers by alleviating the burdens of time and expense. MSBA supports the elimination of further financial and time constraints on ABS teachers, especially in the current special education teacher shortage. 
Looking Forward

Senate Committee Meetings
  • Committee on E-12 Finance will hear S.F. 1556, a bill that would increase the education funding basic formula by 2 percent. John Vento, school board member, Robbinsdale Area Schools and  Betsy Anderson, school board member, Hopkins Public Schools will testify in support of the bill.
  • S.F. 256 extends the current K-12 tax credit to tuition and scholarships. MSBA opposes this bill and has previously testified in opposition. We urge you to contact your legislators to convey public schools DO offer choice and are our FIRST choice for Minnesota students. - John Vento, school board member, Robbinsdale Area Schools and  Betsy Anderson, school board member, Hopkins Public Schools are scheduled to  testify in opposition.
  • S.F. 1362 Prohibits a school board from using operating capital levy or lease levy funds to increase the district's net instructional space within five years of the board's
    final decision to close a school.
House Committee Meetings
  •  H.F. 1906 modifies the post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO) program. It expands definition of "eligible institutions" to include post-secondary institutions in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. It eliminates limits on post-secondary institutions' ability to advertise or recruit high school students. It requires a school to provide a student enrolled in PSEO and concurrent enrollment courses the same access to computers and software that it provides to other students in the school. And finally, it allows a student to appeal a school board's decision regarding a weighted grade point average for a particular course to the commissioner of education.
For additional bills and topics on specific days and times, please check the Combined Calendar . 

Bills of Interest & Impact
As session progresses, we will provide updates on significant bills that have been heard.

  H. F. 2097, A bill prohibiting construction of schools near former landfills; requiring notice by schools located near former landfills.

H. F. 2109, A bill increasing student inclusion and engagement; making non-exclusionary policies and practices a central focus of pupil discipline.

H. F. 2118, A bill protecting student privacy in personal electronic devices on campus.

H. F. 2158, A bill requiring civic online reasoning instruction.

H. F. 2161, A bill expanding screening for early autism spectrum disorders in young children; creating a study group.

H. F. 2184, A bill modifying gifted and talented programs.

S.F. No. 1747: A bill modifying grants for teacher-governed schools.

S.F. No. 1748: A bill modifying school performance reports; creating a school rating system.

S.F. No. 1757: A bill establishing school facilities improvement revenue.

S.F. No. 1827: A bill establishing a working group to review progress on Minnesota's school finance reform efforts.

S.F. No. 1829: A bill modifying the procedures for dissolution and attachment of school districts.

S.F. No. 1835: A bill allowing schools to maintain a supply of oxygen.

S.F. No. 1837:
A bill prohibiting construction of schools near former landfills and requiring notice.

S.F. No. 1847: A bill providing for student data and establishing a task force.

S.F. No. 1861: A bill affecting student inclusion and engagement; making non-exclusionary policies and practices a central focus of pupil discipline.

S.F. No. 1873: A bill integrating service-learning into Minnesota's education system; establishing an evidence-based service-learning grant program.

S.F. No. 1885: A bill establishing foundation and incentive revenue for school districts.

S.F. No. 1946: A bill requiring drinking water lead-testing in schools and licensed child care centers.

S.F. No. 1948: A bill expanding definition of shared time pupils.

S.F. No. 1961: A bill creating the Student Data Privacy Act.
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