Update for June 16, 2015: The Final Results

At the Capitol

In a June 12, 2015 Special Session, the 2015 Education Omnibus Bill passed the House on a 115-10 vote and through the Senate 53-12.

All of the policy and funding provisions that had been in the original conference committee report were continued in the final bill. The final bill added $125 million to the bottom line. The additional $125m is largely appropriated to the per pupil formula, early education and struggling learners.

The education special session documents can be found here. Scroll down to “Committee Documents” and you will find the bill itself, the summary, the fiscal appropriations tracking sheet and district runs. Runs show you what dollars you can expect in your district.

Notable Provisions of the 2015 Education bill

Policy Provisions

  • Adds MCA writing test in high school
  • Limits number of hours districts can administer locally selected tests (e.g. MAP, NWEA) to 10 and 11 hrs
  • Schools must offer/pay once for a college normed test, optional for students
  • Eliminates Explore/Plan/Compass tests
  • If there are testing disruptions, districts can decide not to submit testing data for purposes of teacher evaluation and accountability
  • May not place a student two years in a row with least effective teacher unless there is no other option
  • Expansion of PSEO including world languages for 9th and 10th graders
  • Concurrent enrollment courses open to 9th and 10th graders
  • Requires MNSCU schools to give college credit for PSEO courses
  • Districts may opt to have Ag science courses fulfill science electives; computer science courses may fulfill math credit
  • Allows pre-Labor Day start of September 1 for 2015-16 school year
  • Allows districts who currently have a 4-day week to continue until 2020; any district thereafter may apply to do so, contingent on meeting performance goals
  • Charter schools allowed to provide fee-based preschool programs
  • Requires districts to ask parents when child’s last comprehensive vision screening by an ophthalmologist or optometrist; must report to MDE
  • Requires MDE to determine costs of remedial course taking in MN state universities and colleges, and record which high schools these students graduate from.
  • Requires MDE to collect data on student homelessness and high mobility rates in required statewide reports on student performance
  • MDE must submit list of school districts not meeting World’s Best Workforce goals
  • Streamline teacher licensing for hard to fill areas, settings or subjects, including for out-of-state candidates
  • Requires BOT  to enter into reciprocity agreements with contiguous states
  • Non-profits who partner with universities allowed to provide teacher preparation programs, and Board of Teaching must license those participants
  • Requires Board of Teaching to collect and report data on teacher prep programs and outcomes for teachers, including student performance data
  • Requires BOT to accept teacher experience as “teacher of record” from another state to qualify for MN license (must have 3.0 GPA an pass tests)
  • Part-time Career and Tech teachers exempt from licensing
  • Replaces teacher licensing test language from “college-level” to “board approved”

Funding Provisions: Increased funding added during Special Session negotiations

  • An additional $63m on the per pupil formula 2%/2%
    • (Conference committee report offered 1.5%/2%)
    • Current per pupil formula 2015-$5831
    • New formula 2016-$5948, 2017-$6067
  • $48m Early learning scholarships  (Conference committee report offered $31m)
  • $50m Head Start (Conference committee report offered $40m)
  • $16.7m in Indian Education Formula aid (Conference committee report offered $3.2m)
  • $4m St. Paul Promise Neighborhood/Northside Achievement Zone (Not included in Conference committee report)
  • $1m Educational Partnership pilots (Not included in Conference committee report)
  • $4m ELL funding from 6-7 years (Not included in Conference committee report)
  • $14.6m Compensatory pilot grants (Conference committee report offered $4.6m)
  • $5m Tribal contracts  (Not included in Conference committee report)
  • $295,000 referendum correction for Owatonna (Not included in Conference committee report)
  • $31m School Readiness
  • Extended Time revenue
  • $31m for school facilities
  • Increased Qcomp and allowing usage to compensate teachers in hard-to-fill areas or settings
  • Concurrent enrollment funding
  • Reading  Corps funding
  • Principal’s Academy funding
  • Race2Reduce Water Conservation Grants
  • Northwest College in the High School funding
  • Innovative Technology coops funding

We’d like to take this opportunity to say that Parents United pushed very hard, publicly and with your backing, for higher targets than the House and Senate were going to settle for. We heard from a groundswell of parents and citizens throughout Minnesota who did not want lawmakers to settle for inadequate budget targets in a time of surplus. We are grateful for all of your messages to us, your legislators, legislative leaders and the Governor – and proud that we all helped move the dime on this!

Look for a Fall and Winter Update, and we’ll see you again next March for the 2016 Session!

At Parents United’s Website 

What is Parents United’s agenda? Our agenda is simple: we don’t speak for parents, but work to provide credible, timely information about education policy and the law-making process so parents can speak for themselves. Truth be told, Parents United is a translator of complex terms and policy implications, as well as a navigator for a legislative process often oblique to the public.

Your team at the Capitol,

– Ann, Heidi, Shawna and Mary