Six of the new unfunded mandates for Minnesota schools proposed in the House and Senate, would cost an estimated $65.62 per pupil to implement, according to data collected by MREA from member school districts.

At the request of legislators, MREA conducted a survey on some of the key mandates proposed this legislative session. The results led MREA to send letters to Chairs Sondra Erickson, Jenifer Loon and Eric Pratt asking them to significantly scale back policy requirements.

Between HF 3315 and SF 3086, MREA identified six proposed mandates that appeared to have financial implications for school districts. Seventy-two member superintendents responded. These superintendents represent one-third of school district members and are responsible for the education of about 60,000 students.

The estimated out-of-pocket expenses for the five mandates addressed in this survey would be $65.62 per pupil.  This is 53 percent of the $124 increase in the formula for the 2018-19 school year.  In addition, the superintendents estimated the costs of redirecting staff from current tasks to these new mandates would be an additional $35.82 for a total fiscal impact of $101.44.

Redirecting staff time impacts rural schools in which all staff are doing multiple roles already. This spreads already tight staffing thinner. As one superintendent commented in the survey, “This is about priorities. If any of this comes in, something else has to go.”

Cost of 7 Proposed Mandates

Mandates # Districts with Data Per APU Out-of-Pocket Costs Per APU In-Kind Staff Redirection Total New and Existing Costs
Dyslexia Screening once between K and grade 2 (House and Senate) 61 $8.87 $5.50 $14.37
Include in health curriculum for grades 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 substance abuse prevention, sexual exploitation (trafficking) prevention, and ‘consent’ to prevent sexual abuse.  (House) 58 $13.37 $10.15 $23.52
Reporting Preliminary MCA Results within 30 days and Verified Results before start of School (House) 50 $3.24 $2.53 $5.77
Implement Technology Requirements on Districts, district issued devices, and providers (House) 48 $16.30 $5.51 $21.81
Implement non-exclusionary discipline policies and practices modifications to the Fair Pupil Dismissal Act (Senate) 35 $2.57 $9.43 $12.00
Require a specific course for government or civics credit in 11th or 12th grade beginning in 23/34 for 9th graders entering HS in 20/21* (House) 72 $21.27 $2.70 $23.97
Totals           $65.62**    $35.82 $101.44

*1/3 of reporting districts already require an 11th or 12th grade civics or government class.  These are the estimated costs for the 68% of districts which would need to add this course.

**65.82 is 53% of $124 increase in the formula for ‘18/19

Response

HF 3315 contains five of the mandates estimated in the chart above and SF 3086 has two.

The mandate in common is the requirement for dyslexia screening. MREA recommended to all three chairs that rather than requiring a dyslexia specific screening for all children, more targeted language that would require screening for dyslexia for students showing reading difficulties or who are reading below proficiency. This focuses districts on the children who are having difficulty learning to read, something we all agree is vital.

View letter to Senate Leadership on SF3086

View letter to House Leadership on HF3315

What’s Next?

HF 3315 is being incorporated into the House Omnibus Education bill to be released Monday. SF 3086 has been passed out of Senate E-12 Policy committee and is heading to the Senate floor.  They eventually will end up and conference committee.

We urge members to be the Voice of Greater Minnesota Education and weigh in with your representatives and senators on these proposed mandates as well as others not included in the survey.  View more complete list.

See who represents you.

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