The Legislature is on break next week through April 17. During this time Legislators will be in district and many will be holding Town Hall meetings or informal sessions. Please take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your legislators. When you do meet, please say thank you for the efforts on behalf of public education and share these messages. We need every voice advocating to finish strong.
Two 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.
Special education cross-subsidy needs to be addressed.
Tax credit vs Education Funding. Every dollar committed to a tax credit or voucher scholarship is a dollar that doesn't go into the state's general fund, which reduces resources for our schools and our 850,000 students.
Teachers Retirement Association (TRA). The employer portion needs to be fully funded by the state. Legislators need to understand the impact of taking money from the general fund to pay for pensions.
Teacher Licensure is in need of reform. It should be consolidated into a single governance body and tiered-licensure system.
For more information and more detailed "Talking Points" see the Quick Link section.
MSBA Day at the Capitol
Day at the Capitol was a terrific day of advocacy. Members
Inver Grove Heights School Board Members Paul Mandell and Sherry Warrick
heard a legislative update and key talking points from Kirk Schneidawind, executive director of Minnesota School Boards Association and the Government Relations Team.
MSBA Board Member, Deb Pauly, Delivering Members' Letters to Governor Dayton
School board members signed letters to legislative leaders.
The letter to Governor Dayton asks him to keep public dollars for public education. (HF386/SF256) If you weren't able to sign a letter, please take a moment to do so now. We have heard the letters that were delivered were appreciated.
The letters to Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Gazelka request an increase in the target to accommodate at least 2 percent on the general education formula. Raising the target would allow the education chairs to provide the 2 percent they hoped to provide schools. Please feel free to personalize the letter by sharing how less than 2 percent impacts your district.
We have put together a press release template for the Day at the Capitol event for you to complete and use in your district.
House Committee Meetings and Floor Sessions
The House passed Chair Erickson's Teacher Licensure bill (H.F. 140) 76-55 after a little more than an hour debate Monday morning. The amended bill consolidates the governance of teacher licensure under one entity - the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board. The board would consist of 11 members, appointed by the Governor.
Rep. Erickson offered an amendment on the floor to ensure one staff member of a board-approved teacher preparation program is on the board. The amendment passed. Another amendment offered by Rep. Mariani would have required a school board to consider a tier-three or tier four teacher before a fully licensed teacher. In response to Mariani's amendment, Chair Erickson said,
Photo by Paul Battaglia
"To almost insult [schools] and suggest they don't have the knowledge and skills
to ensure they have the best possible candidate in the room is a pathway which we don't want to go down. We have faith in these entrusted officials. We want to trust our school boards." The amendment did not pass.
The House teacher licensure bill is a stand-alone bill while the Senate has included it's proposal in its Omnibus E-12 bill.
House Education Innovation Policy Committee heard a presentation of the OLA Evaluation on the Minnesota State High School League Tuesday morning. More information on the report will be included in a future Weekly Advocate.
The House Omnibus Tax bill passed off the House floor and is headed to conference committee.
Senate Committee Meetings and Floor Sessions
The Senate Education Finance Omnibus bill (S.F. 718) was heard Tuesday. It passed off the floor and now goes to conference committee.
The Senate Tax Omnibus bill was on the floor for almost seven hours. Much of the debate centered around tax credits for donations to foundations for scholarships for students attending nonpublic schools. Sen. Matt Klein offered an amendment deleting the nonpublic school tax credit proposal to increase referendum equalization. In an amendment to the amendment, Sen. Carla Nelson was successful in maintaining both the referendum and tax credits by reducing local government aid to the City of Minneapolis. In the end, the Senate tax bill includes enhanced operating referendum equalization and increased debt service equalization. Both tax bills continue to include the tax credits that would subsidize students attending nonpublic schools. MSBA supports the tax fairness in both provisions.
Commissioner Cassellius has expressed strong opposition to the nonpublic school tax credit proposal on behalf of Governor Dayton. We haven't seen the last of this issue as this bill heads to conference committee.
MSBA does not support tax credits to foundations for scholarships to non-pubic schools.
The Legislature will be on Easter/Passover Break from April 9 through April 17. The Weekly Advocate will return on April 24.
Conference committee members for the omnibus bills could be appointed next week.
For additional bills and topics on specific days and times, please check the
Bills of Interest & Impact
S.F. No. 2306: A bill increasing the basic formula allowance by 2.5 percent per year
As session progresses, we will provide updates on significant bills that have been heard.