Special Update for May 23, 2016: The Final Bits and Pieces

At the Capitol

This will be short and sweet. Early Sunday morning, the Supplemental Budget Conference Committee completed their work on the K-12 portion of the bill. It passed off both floors later that day and is now on the governor’s desk ready for his signature. You can track how it is fairing at the Governor’s Legislative Tracking page.

The final spending came in at $79M and for the most part the appropriations are one-time and much smaller than initially expected. Disappointment was palpable in the hearing room. For an entire list of funding provisions see Brad’s Blog at Schools for Equity in Education.

The policy provisions accepted last week are in the bill. Added this week, we see negotiated language on a required civics test and a student discipline working-group. This weekend, we were assured the Minnesota Student Survey will continue. As ever, parents will be informed and it will remain voluntary for students. All of these provisions have back-stories, and we can’t WAIT to share them with you on June 4!

The two largest appropriations

The Governor’s voluntary school based pre-K program had the largest appropriation at $25M and includes ongoing funding. The competitive grant provision for school support staff has $13M of one-time money. Just want to say…it’ll be difficult to lift Minnesota out of our national last place ranking for counselor-pupil ratio with pennies!

The big picture

Session Daily breaks down what happened and what did not before midnight on Sunday, May 22. It would be disingenuous to say this end-of-session implosion was a surprise or that we didn’t see it coming. At Parents United’s Legislative Kick-Off Off in March, we said the session would be all about the November election.

One wonders, for example, if we have come to the point where gaining, or retaining the majority AND getting your party’s presidential candidate elected trumps (sorry, had to use it) completing the work of the people. Might inaction be purposeful? After two years of work, not to have a bonding bill, a transportation bill or movement on real ID may be aggravating, but it has a political upside, in that you can always blame the other team. Listen carefully to the rhetoric coming in the next week.

Unknown-2What really happened for education this year?!

Join us on Saturday, June 4 from 10:30-12 at the Roseville Public Library community room for our annual Legislative Wrap-Up. We will discuss outcomes of the session and the implications for classrooms, teachers and students. We will also touch on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including the timeline and differences from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As this is our final Wrap-Up, we will recognize the work of Parents United over fourteen years. Please register now.