The Weekly Advocate



In This Issue
Quick Links
Legislative Action
News on MSBA's Platform Issues
_________________
School Boards Day at the Capitol

The Government Relations team looks forward to seeing you at School Boards Day at the Capitol. We are working with legislators and others to make this a successful day for all.

Agenda*

Monday, April 3rd

8:30
An overview of the day and a legislative update will be provided by Grace Keliher. There will also be a lobbying orientation and tips.

10:00
Legislative Office Visits by School Board Members with Senators. (Schedule your meetings now.)

11:00:
Senate in Session - Capitol

11:30
Question and Answer Session with Key Education Committee Members

12:00
Lunch (included in registration fee)

12:00
Question and Answer Session with Leadership of Minnesota Legislature

12:30
Question and Answer Session with Key Education Committee Members

1:00
Legislative Office Visits with House Representatives. (Schedule your meetings now.)

2:00 & 2:30:
Capitol Tours Available

3:00:
House in
Session - Capitol



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 klewis@mnmsba.org with "Meetings - DAC" in subject line.

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

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

Monday Legislative Briefing
March 20, 2017 - Week 12
View our videos on YouTube
School Boards Day at the Capitol
Stand Up for Public Schools 
Register Today 
A Legislative Alert from the GR Team
Teacher Licensure:
Provides Flexibility, Alternative Pathways and Simplification 

MSBA's major effort this session is attacking the teacher shortage in Minnesota. A key component to attracting and retaining teachers is to eliminate barriers and create pathways for potential teachers.  Both H.F. 140 and S.F. 4 provide opportunities to do just that.
H.F. 140 will be heard in the House Ways and Means Committee and S.F. 4 will be incorporated in the Senate Finance bill.
Please reach out to your legislators and let them know you support the new governance model and tiered licensure system that provides more flexibility, simplicity and alternative pathways to teacher licensure.

Contact your legislators today!  
__________________________________________
Looking Back    

Senate targets were released Friday afternoon. The education target is set at $300 million for E-12 education. This amount cannot provide our ask of at least 2 percent on the general education formula.  
 
Governor Dayton released his Supplemental Budget recommendations Friday afternoon.The governor's budget now increases the  education budget to $705 million. An overview of the budget recommendations is available on his blog. 

House targets are anticipated to be released next week. Update - House targets will be released Monday morning at 9 a.m.. 

House Committee Meetings
  • MSBA's Teacher Shortage Act 2.0 (H.F. 1663) was heard in Education Finance Thursday afternoon. MSBA's Denise Dittrich went through key components of the bill and how each would help recruit, prepare and retain teachers.
    • Recruit: Creates a Teacher Shortage Task Force and a statewide marketing campaign to focus on introducing and attracting young people to the profession of teaching. The goal is to work at changing the negative perception and promoting the benefits. 
       
    • Prepare: Included in the bill is a "Grow Your Own" or alternative paraprofessional pathway. A great way of providing existing school employees with a career path. And another key component of the Teacher Shortage Act is the Concurrent Enrollment Teacher Program. Concurrent enrollment teachers need to acquire between 1-18 college credits by 2020 to remain credentialed to teach college level courses in our high schools. The Teacher Shortage Act 2.0 expands the Online18 program currently offered through the NW Regional Partnership Program.
    • Retain: Expands the  Q Comp program from current one-third of the school districts to a statewide program.   
      A summary of the entire Teacher Shortage Act 2.0 is available. Several education organizations and groups testified in support of the bill. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the education omnibus bill.   
  • Earlier this session, legislators heard an Office of the Legislative Auditor Report on Perpich Center for the Arts. The Education Finance Committee heard a bill to recommend the legislature abolishing the agency (school) and to the question if Crosswinds School should by conveyed to St. Paul Public Schools. Perpich High School asked the Committee to allow them a year to prove the changes they have made in board and direction are effective. The bill was authored by both House Education chairs, Rep. Loon and Rep. Erickson.The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill.
  • HF 654 - Rep. Drazkowski's bill requires an election for a school district to levy for a capital project to be held on a general election day instead of a date set by the school board. It also requires a school district to notify on both its referendum ballot and on its notice to taxpayers the amounts of any board-approve
    Several education organizations testified along with MSBA_s Grace Keliher in opposition to the bill.
    d local optional revenue and board-approved referendum authority. The final requirement is a special election on a ballot question in a school district to be held on a general election day.
    The bill was passed and re-referred to the Tax Committee
  • Rep. Kresha's bill (HF 1558) was heard in State Government Finance last Wednesday. An amendment was offered and did not pass. So the bill still allows a district 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. MSBA testified to reduce regulations and restrictions in making management decisions. 
     
  • Rep. Scott authored a bill impacting how school districts retain records. H.F. 1185 no longer provides a distinction between "official" and "unofficial" correspondence - which would now be defined as any written or electronic text-based communication, except for personal, social or spam-type communications. All correspondence would need to be retained for no less than three years. MSBA opposes this bill because of the increased data schools deal with and the cost and time associated with data.
     
  • Chair Loon's Unrequested Leave of Absence bill (H.F. 1478) was passed (71-59) on the House Floor Thursday afternoon, taking a different approach than in previous years. The bill requires a school board to negotiate an unrequested leave of absence plan with teacher representatives. Five GOPs voted no. The bill now heads to the Senate where Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point) is the sponsor.
     
    Pioneer Press Graphic - Click to Enlarge
  Senate Committee Meetings   
  • Committee on E-12 Finance heard Sen. Nelson's S.F. 1556, a bill that would increase the general education
    Robbinsdale Area School Board member John Vento, Sen. Carla Nelson, Hopkins School Board member Betsy Anderson and Eden Prairie Superintendent Curt Tryggestad testify in support of a 2 percent formula increase.
    formula by 2 percent. We have included a link to the district runs so you can see what 2 percent would mean to your district.
  • S.F. 1362 Sen. Housley's bill 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. The House State Government Finance Committee heard Rep. Lohmer's  H.F. 1963, the companion bill. It was held over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill. MSBA's Grace Keliher testified in opposition to both bills.
  • S.F. 1160 increases Gifted and Talented funding by $26 per student. It also requires districts to identify students,
    Grace Keliher testifies on  S.F. 1160
    develop programs, provide staff development and evaluate programs to provide gifted and talented students with challenging and appropriate programs. It also
    requires districts to annually publish
    information about the school district's gifted and talented programs on its website. District runs are available.
  • S.F. 1241 is referred to as an E-Learning Day, which is a school day where a school offers  access to online instruction when there is  inclement weather. A school district may have up to five e-learning days a year. An e-learning day is counted as a day of instruction and included in the hours of instruction. MSBA's Denise Dittrich shared some concerns about the bill.
    • We understand the importance of developing a plan with teachers; however, we will continue to advocate for language to read "consult" vs. "agree".
    • We understand the importance of teachers being accessible on E-Learning days. The bill requires teachers be accessible by school district voicemail and online.  We suggest the teachers and district address communication accessibility when developing the E-Learning Day plan. 
  • Committee on E-12 Finance heard bills        (S.F. 1475 & S.F. 1885) on establishing incentive revenue for proficiency with statewide testing. MSBA testified that other existing funding sources, such as Q Comp would be a more equitable and a statewide solution.
  • Sen. Nelson brought forth a bill (S.F. 2094) an important bill to increase special education funding. The bill received all supportive testimony and will be laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill. MSBA testified in support of the bill.
  • The Senate E-12 Finance committee also heard Sen. Pratt's bill on educator licensing (S.F. 4) and standards board establishment and his omnibus bill, S.F. 1222.
  • The MSBA Government Relations team met with superintendents from
    Denise Dittrich reviewing differences between teacher licensure proposals.
    northwest Minnesota. The group had several meetings with legislators and met with us for an overview.


 


 




National/Federal Update

The President's Office of Budget and Management released it's America First - A Budget Blue Print to Make America Great Again. The Department of Education's budget can be found starting on page 17.

Looking Forward

Senate Committee Meetings
  • S.F. 1474 Sen. Eichorn's bill on Innovation Zones for school districts and charter schools will be heard in E-12 Finance. 
  • E-12 Policy will hear the Office of Legislative Auditor's report on Standardized Testing.  
House Committee Meetings
  • Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division will hear H.F. 603. Rep Drazkowski's bill 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. Included here are an amendment that will be offered to H.F. 603 on Monday in committee and a 2017 Division Report.
     
  • H.F. 140, the teacher licensure restructuring bill will be heard in Ways and Means.
For additional bills and topics on specific days and times, please check the Combined Calendar . 

Bills of Interest & Impact
S.F. No. 2105: A bill authorizing certain nonpublic students to enroll in post secondary enrollment options in 10th grade.

S.F. No. 2150: A bill for an act relating to public safety; including attempt to enter a school to school trespass crime.

As session progresses, we will provide updates on significant bills that have been heard.

Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
   http://www.mnmsba.org
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103