The Weekly Advocate

In This Issue
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Legislative Action
News on MSBA's Platform Issues
Connect Minnesota Schools Fund -
Matching grant opportunity to expand broadband access across Minnesota

37 out of 330 school districts currently do not have fiber connections in their schools. Minnesota's need is $3 million and the federal government would potentially match this grant to fund this project.

E-rate funding and rule changes have created an unprecedented , short-term opportunity to connect schools to fiber and create more upgrade options:
  • up to 10% additional E-rate discount
  • $500 cap has been lifted on special construction
  • More flexibility for districts to pay non-discounted portion of construction
Please thank   Sen. Weber ( S.F. 2237) and Rep. Swedzinski  
( H.F. 2449) for authoring bills to help these schools have fiber access .

High-speed broadband can unlock the power of technology to personalize learning for students, empower teachers, connect parents, and ensure equal education opportunities.

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

My Legislators

Calendar Items

We look forward to seeing you at the School Boards Day at the Capitol.

We encourage you to schedule your meetings with legislators.
Senate Meetings 10-11am
House Meetings
1-2 pm

We would like to have photographers available. Please let us know who your are meeting with and when by emailing with "Meetings - DAC" in subject line.

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

Monday Legislative Briefing
March 27, 2017 - Week 13
School Boards Day at the Capitol
Timing is of the Essence!
Join Us! 
Register Today 
A Legislative Alert from the GR Team
 Key Messages
You Will Want to Share with Your Legislators

We hope you will join us for the School Boards Day at the Capitol. This is the best time during the legislative session to share messages with your legislator.
There are a number of issues you can share with your legislators next Monday during School Boards Day at the Capitol.
  • 2 percent is a must on the basic education formula. With current targets, school districts will fall short immediately. Legislators need to understand what the impact is for your district.
  • Teacher shortage is a statewide issue. The Teacher Shortage Act brought forth by MSBA has strong support of other education organizations.
  • Special education still needs to be addressed. Districts are already starting from a weak point and can't continue to rob the general education fund to pay for increasing needs in special education.
  • Tax credits versus education funding.
We encourage you to schedule your meetings with legislators now. We would like to have photographers available. Please let us know who your are meeting with and when by emailing with "Meetings - DAC" in subject line.
Join us at the Capitol!
In Case You Missed It   

House Education targets were released last Monday earmarking $258 million for education. It was disappointing to see this amount fell $113 million short of what is needed to add 2 percent onto the general education formula. The previously released Senate targets fall $71 million short. Only the governor's proposed budget funds the requested 2 percent.
Governor Dayton's Proposed Budget
House Proposed Budget
Senate Proposed Budget

Target $258 million
 Target $300 million
Target $704 million 
2% on the Formula = $371 million
2% on the Formula = $371 million
2% on the Formula - $371 million
($113 million)
($71 million)
$33 million 
House Committee Meetings

H.F. 890 - House Education Finance Omnibus
  • House Education Finance Chair Loon presented her Delete All of the Education Finance Omnibus bill (H.F. 890) and testimony was heard on Thursday afternoon and Friday.  Highlights of the bill include:
    • Increases the General Education Basic Formula funding by 1.5 percent ($91 per pupil per year);
    • Creates an office of early education and development ($400,000).
    • Delinks compensatory funding and establishes a new targeted compensatory program ($24 million/year)
    • Defunds statewide voluntary PreK programs ($47 million/year).
    • Eliminates Pathway II scholarships.
    • Increases School Readiness (8.5 million)
    • Closes Perpich Center for the Arts and Crosswinds.
    • Repeals the seniority provision and requires negotiation for unrequested leave of absence for teachers.
  • House Ways and Means heard Rep. Erickson's teacher licensure bill (H.F. 140) Monday morning. There were a number of questions/comments about the Tier One and Two sections of the bill. Twice Rep. Erickson said she trusts the school districts and boards to make the best decisions on behalf of our children. The bill was referred on to the General Register.
  • School district insurance (H.F.1558) was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill. It makes changes to the process districts go through when getting proposals for group health insurance. It allows school districts to negotiate contracts for up to four years. It also eliminates the requirement to obtain a bid from the Public Employees Insurance Program (PEIP).  
  • The House Tax Omnibus bill (H.F. 4) was heard Thursday morning. Several education organizations testified in opposition of the private school tax subsidy provisions and the language requiring school elections to be held on General Election Day.  
  • H.F. 603, Rep Drazkowski's bill, moved into the House tax omnibus bill. It provides for a property tax credit on all agricultural property equal to 50 percent of the tax on the property attributable to school district debt levies 
  Senate Committee Meetings   
  • S.F. 1474 Sen. Eichorn's bill on Innovation Zones was heard in E-12 Finance. The bill establishes the Innovation Zone (IZ) program to improve student outcomes consistent with World's Best Workforce. It allows school districts to form an IZ partnership. Examples of Innovative research may include:
    • personalized learning
    • new approaches to evaluations
    • use of competency outcomes
    • multi-disciplinary, real-world, inquiry-based, student-directed models designed to make learning more engaging and relevant
The plan must describe how student and school outcomes will be improved and detail the roles of each partner.  
MSBA's Denise Dittrich testified in support of the bill sharing how our Delegate Assembly has passed resolutions in 2015 and 2016 asking the Legislature to provide more authority and flexibility in creating Innovation Zones. She pointed out the Commissioner of Education submitted a report in February of 2016 that contained nine suggestions that are indirectly addressed in this bill. She concluded her remarks by stating the Every Student Succeeds Act has encouraged states to innovate This bill has the potential to put Minnesota back on the map as an innovative leader.    
  • The Tax Committee heard (S.F. 256), the bill that establishes tax credits equal to 70 percent of the amount contributed to foundations that award scholarships to private K-12 students and indexing the credits and threshold of income to inflation. George Kimball, School Board Member, White Bear Lake Area Schools, testified in opposition to the bill.   
Looking Forward

Senate Committee Meetings
S. F. 718 - Senate Committee on E-12 Finance Omnibus bill
  • Monday, the Committee on E-12 Finance will hear Chair Nelson's Education Omnibus bill (S.F. 718).  A walkthrough of the DE amendment for SF 718 is expected. This will be the education omnibus bill.
  • Additional meetings may be scheduled. Please watch for details. 
House Committee Meetings
  • Ways and Means will hear (H.F. 4).
  • H.F. 140, the teacher licensure restructuring bill will be heard in Ways and Means.
  • The House Tax Committee will hear Chair Loon's Education Finance Omnibus bill (HF890).
For additional bills and topics on specific days and times, please check the Combined Calendar.

Bills of Interest & Impact
S.F. No. 2180:
A bill modifying the calculation of long-term facilities maintenance revenue; clarifying the allowed uses of long-term facilities maintenance revenue.

A bill requesting an evaluation of the impact of testing on local resources at school districts and charter schools.

S.F. No. 2208:
A bill allowing nationally normed exams to replace the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.

S.F. No. 2209:
A bill providing training for educators to interpret assessment data

A bill clarifying transition revenue.

S.F. No. 2237:
A bill appropriating money to pay the state-level funding match for the federal E-rate program for broadband in schools. Please see the side-bar for more information.
As session progresses, we will provide updates on significant bills that have been heard.

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