Done by Monday? Update for April 27

At the Capitol – Update for April 23-30

It is a fairly safe bet that the 87th Legislative Session will adjourn this weekend or on Monday and it promises to be a busy few days. If that bet pays off, next week we will recap the final education bills and what they may mean for you in our next update.

I am a public school graduate…

This week, read the story of Dan Buettner, an international explorer and founder of Blue Zones—an innovative company that engages U.S. students in tracking global expeditions.

This year’s Legislative Session

Minnesota has a part-time legislature. They must adjourn sine die (without day) after a set number of days within a two-year period. The primary function for our legislature is to deal with the state budget—balancing revenues and expenditures. Many years ago that was done once every two years, but over time we have grown accustomed to a two-year legislative session—the first year being a budget year and the second traditionally reserved for bonding.

Being a bonding year, this session began with a great deal of talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. A bonding bill has the potential to create multiple jobs. When a bonding bill is produced the state assesses infrastructure needs and borrows the funds necessary to complete them. Taxes pay the bonds back—like a mortgage. The argument is: a bonding bill in 2012 can capitalize on low interest rates, improve Minnesota’s infrastructure, create jobs and therefore improve state revenues.

Arguing that bonding bills are not the only avenue to jobs, the majority this year has advocated reducing business taxes as their preferred method of job creation. The argument is: give businesses tax breaks and they will use those dollars to hire people, therefore creating jobs.

No surprise, the most noise this session has been around the stadium. The debate has captured front page news and stadium bills die and are revived at breathtaking speed. No one knows what will happen before this is over.

For education, the session has brought a small acceleration in how quickly schools will be paid back, a thin K12 omnibus bill (to be expected in a non-budget year) and several individual bills, some already signed into law and others we are still tracking to see what will happen.

Several Education Bills continue on their path to the Governor’s desk and we will be tracking them until the final gavel to see what will or will not make it into law. (Things can change rapidly—follow Mary on Twitter for the most current information.)

Bills presented to the Governor

For those of you who are avid students of the civics process, this graphic describes what happens to a bill presented to the Governor during the last days of session.

There are a few sections you may find interesting:

  • One provision requiring the annual principal evaluation to include student academic growth as 35% of the evaluation.
  • A provision allowing for an initial charter school contract term to be five years rather than the three years in current law.
  • Another provision allowing for 10th, 11th and 12th graders to enroll in a career and technical course at a MnSCU school. The 10th graders are required to have passed the 8th grade reading MCA in order to be eligible for this opportunity.

Bills still in process

  • SF946 School district pilot project established to examine joint operations to provide innovative delivery of programs and activities and share resources. Conference committee report • Passed House 113-12 • Passed Senate 66-0
  • The HF1870 (LIFO) conference committee report was completed before spring recess. It was passed by the House on a vote of 71-60 just yesterday. Watch for it to be brought before the Senate for a vote soon.
  • The House passed HF2580 (Loon) known as the parent trigger law by a vote of 72-57. The Senate companion is still listed in the Education committee. No change.

The Governor’s Legislative Tracker is the final destination for a bill. You can see if and when it was signed into law, or vetoed and for what reason.

Education bills signed into law

  • HF2506 CPR training and staff development elimination
  • SF1073 Strongly encourages school districts to assist students to develop transition plans into postsecondary education or career. The bill also strongly encourages school districts to have an adequate student-to-counselor ratio beginning in the 2015-16 school year.
  • HF2078 Nonpublic pupil textbook aid use expansion
  • HF1524 Substitute principals continuing education requirements clarification
  • HF2376 School food service fund equipment purchase approval process simplified
  • HF392 School bus crossing control arm requirement
  • HF300 Student school entrance comprehensive eye examinations parental recommendation requirement
  • HF1770 Teacher candidates required to pass basic skills exam
  • SF1213 Adult education performance tracking system modifications
  • HF1585 Interscholastic conference membership state high school league arrangement requirement exception authorization

Education bills vetoed

Ask Your Legislators! Question/Comment of the Week

What would you list as your top accomplishment this session?

Constitutional Amendments

No new constitutional amendments were adopted this week.

Forward this on to encourage others to Learn • Network • Act!

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Mary Cecconi, Executive Director
Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, MN 55108
651-999-7391
www.parentsunited.orgEmail Mary at mary@parentsunited.org

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