The Weekly Advocate

In This Issue
Quick Links
Legislative Action
Take Action on MSBA's Platform Issues
Each week, MSBA highlights a platform issue and provides information for you.
Look for talking points on the issues to share with your elected officials.

The MSBA Platform urges the Legislature to permanently and fully fund the K-12 Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA) so every school district has affordable access to Broadband.
TEA was designed to fully fund the access to high speed internet service costs realized by MN K-12 school districts and level the playing field for all MN schools.
At the current funding levels for this program, the equity is diminished and many schools are paying more for broadband services when compared to other districts.
The current appropriation for public schools is capped at $3.75 million when the cost to fully fund the program is approximately $9.5 million.

Internet access is crucial to schools as digital content becomes more commonplace. Mobile phones, Chromebooks and other electronic devices are a must for today's students. But just as important is access by teachers and other key staff for accounting, procurement and transportation to name just a few.

MSBA is attaching the Telecommunication
Access Equity Aid runs so you can see what the unreimbursed costs are for your district, as well as statewide.
Contact your legislator and ask them to fully fund the Telecommunications Equity Aid program.

My Legislators

Calendar Items
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.
To meet the first deadline, a bill must have passed out of all of the policy committees in either the House or Senate.

The second deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills that met the first deadline in the other body.

The third deadline is for the major appropriation and finance bills - i.e. the Omnibus E-12 Finance Bill.

 2017 Legislative Session - Week 5
 January 30, 2017

To: School Board Members and Superintendents
Monday Morning Legislative Briefing

Looking Back 

Governor Dayton released his budget last week.  Watch a full video of Governor Dayton's budget proposal press conference.
In 2011, Governor Dayton pledged to increase ed ucation funding each year. His 2017 proposed budget continues to reflect his commitment. 
The total proposed Pre-K-12 budget is $604 million. Here are some highlights and runs by district when available:
  • General Education Formula increase of 2 percent each year. This will increase the per pupil formula by $121 in FY2018 and $124 in FY2019.
  • Special Education increase by $40 million. This will reduce Minnesota's cross-subsidy by approximately $20 million, which translates to an average reduction of $27 or 2.8 percent per student.
  • Debt Service Equalization (Tax Bill) state aid to help property poor school districts provide adequate facilities for their students. Twenty-one additional school districts would now qualify for debt service relief.
  • $77 million proposed for Minnesota's earliest learners with $74 million slotted for voluntary pre-K programs to serve an additional 6,000 students.
For a complete list of Governor Dayton's budget proposal, please refer to the links for a detailed summary and spreadsheet.  
Tax Credits and Deductions Expanded
MSBA provided testimony in several hearings over the span of three days on the issue of education tax credits and deductions.The most controversial component of many of the bills, is the expansion of the tax deductions and/or credits for private school tuition. Several education organizations joined MSBA in testifying against these bills. The bills passed out of the committees on mostly party-line votes.  
If you would like more information on the bills, hearings or what happens next, please contact us.    
Looking Forward

The Senate Committee on E-12 Finance will meet on Career and Technical Education today, Monday, January 30. Presenters from Minnesota State, Minnesota Department of Education, Local Consortia Leaders and Partners will share information on:
  • Minnesota's consortium model for secondary/post-secondary delivery of Career and Technical Education;
  • Overview of Goals, Successes, and Challenges; and 
  • Program Examples.
On Tuesday, January 31 the House Education Innovation Policy Committee will hear presentations from three groups:
The Senate Committee on E-12 Finance will meet Wednesday afternoon to hear about Career and Technical Partnerships.

A Presentation of the MDE Student Discipline Working Group Report will be heard in the Senate Committee on E-12 Policy, Thursday afternoon.

Federal Effort
On Tuesday, January 31, MSBA will lead a group of school board members to Capitol Hill where they are scheduled to meet with all ten members of Congress. Meetings will address five key issues: Implementation of ESSA, federal education investments, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, education choice and The Child Nutrition Act. Follow MSBA on Twitter for updates.  Follow us on Twitter

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 committee hearings by video so you can watch with us.
MSBA has a compiled a  list of education bill introductions.

Newly Introduced Education Bills of Interest

H.F. 386, H.F. 387, H.F. 388 , All tax bills modifying and/or providing tax credits and deductions for education expenses, including tuition.

H.F. 417, A bill establishing the Rural Career and Technical Education Consortium.

H.F. 428, A bill appropriating money for teacher development and evaluation revenue.

H.F. 438, A bill for an act relating to retirement; Public Employees Retirement Association; modifying certain definitions.

H. F. 485, A bill establishing an agricultural educator grant program.

H. F. 494, A bill for special education teacher licensing.

H. F. 538, 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. 256, S.F. No 416  Bills providing a tax credit for donations to fund K-12 scholarships; extending the K-12 education credit to tuition.

S.F. No. 310,
A bill establishing the Rural Career and Technical Education Consortium.

S.F. No. 333, A bill requiring a nationally normed college entrance exam for high school graduation.

S.F. No. 389,
A bill modifying the administration of the early learning scholarship program; prohibiting the commissioner from designating scholarships for use in predetermined qualifying programs.

A message from Kirk and the GR Team
Teacher Retirement Funds  
Pensions are back after being vetoed last year. It promises to be a hotly discussed topic once again.
Governor Dayton's proposed budget includes many of the recommendations made by the Minnesota pension systems.
In the education aid portion of the budget proposal, $68 million is proposed to aid to school districts and charter schools to offset a proposed increase in employer contribution rates for TRA and SPTRFA. The aid would be distributed to school districts by amending the Pension Adjustment Revenue formula that is part of the General Education formula. 
We will continue to follow the pensions discussion and will have a video message for you soon.


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