The Senate and House conferees reconciled and adopted language in the education articles of the supplemental omnibus bill yesterday afternoon. The education chairs in both bodies presented an overview and supported the language in the bill. Governor Mark Dayton will now weigh in. The bill, in its entirety, needs to pass off both floors by midnight Sunday and then to the governor for his signature or veto.
Below are links to the House and Senate language that was adopted. We have also created side-by-sides (see left sidebar) with the new language and the governor's provisions.
Some important pieces of the bill include:
nearly $20 million for safe schools, with a $5 million provision for mental health;
a special education legislative work group to study and make recommendations; and
funds for telecommunication equity aid.
It is noteworthy that there are
at least 12 mandates within the adopted language, many are unfunded. Some examples are
requirements for school boards/districts to:
adopt a policy to establish safety assessment teams;
screen all students between the beginning of kindergarten and grade 2 who are not reading at grade level and screen any student in grade 3 or higher who demonstrates a reading difficulty;
adopt and implement a policy that prohibits district employees from using district funds -- including time, materials, equipment, facilities, social media, communication technologies or other resources -- to advocate for or defeat a candidate or ballot question;
distribute MCA results to parents/guardians twice. Once within 30 days of taking the test and before school begins the following fall; and
require a specific course in government and citizenship in 11th or 12th grade for students beginning 9th grade in 2020-21. And, to report passage rate to the Commissioner of Education, who then must report the passage rate on school performance reports.
Please ask legislators to remove all unfunded mandates from the bill.