The Senate E-12 Committee heard legislation and testimony on three key rural education issues this past week. A brief rundown on each is provided below.
Enhanced Debt Service plans (SF 489) for consolidating districts and districts with very high debt service was heard Tuesday. Superintendent Bob Indihar of Moose Lake whose community used enhanced debt service due to natural disasters and Kim Belcastro, superintendent of Wrenshall which is in discussion with Carlton for consolidation, testified in support. SF 489 would set an equalizing factor of 300 percent of the state average ANTC for debt service.
The Facility Working Group proposal for Debt Service Equalization at 125 percent of ANTC (SF 490) was also heard with multiple testifiers. This would help a number of rural districts but leave large swaths of the state uncovered. See Determining District Wealth Report: View Part 1. View Part 2.
A student made drone, a model house and robot were passed around the Senate committee members as Cody Witting, a senior at Cromwell-Wright, testified in support of a Rural STEM Experiential Learning Pilot Project, “Putting 21st Century Tools in Kids’ Hands!” (SF 471, HF 555). He was joined by Warren Schmidt, Rothsay superintendent , Richard Osman, a teacher Campbell Tintah, and Elroy Vesta, president of EJ Enterprises in Fergus Falls and past President of Minnesota Manufacturers Association. Learn more.
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