The Senate and House approved the legislative Conference Committee report on how schools can handle the winter weather closures this year. It is heading to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
The legislation comes after Minnesota experienced an extended period of winter weather conditions that led to a high number of school closures, late days and early dismissals for a series of weeks.
Key provisions include:
- Permissive for school districts. It is not mandatory. Use it if you need to, or want to use it, to maintain 165 days of instruction and required hours.
- Available for an unlimited number of days or hours you closed in 18-19 due to health and safety concerns to calculate days and hours. Up to five E-Learning days continue to count as instructional days for those districts, which met notification requirements prior to the start of the school year.
- Pay for food service employees or contractors is an allowable food service expense.
- Pay employees cancelled days or hours or allow them work to replace them.
- Pay contractors for missed service if the contractor informs the district of intent to pay their employees for missed hours.
- Report usage to the Education Commissioner.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) should provide more detailed information soon.
The Conference Committee worked swiftly, resolving disagreements between the bills passed in the House and Senate in about a week. The conference committee, sometimes referred to as the fourth branch of government, was led by each of bill’s chief authors, Rep. Shelly Christensen and Sen. Carla Nelson.
A conference report needs a majority vote of each bodies members—a minimum of two House members and two Senate members. The members from each body included: