Two bills of interest presented at the Capitol this week include one that would establish a professional educator and licensing standards board and another that would provide Enhanced Small Schools Revenue.

Both bills were held over for possible inclusion in the education finance omnibus bill.

Here’s a look at each of the bills:

Professional Board

The House Education Finance Committee on Thursday heard HF140, the bill that would create the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.  The bill calls for the establishment of a brand new 11-member board and implementation of a tiered-licensure system stemming from the legislator study group and Office of Legislative Auditor recommendations.

It is MREA’s hope that this bill will help with the bureaucratic nightmare that getting licensed has become. The bill could do more to address the supply side of the teacher shortage crises.

Learn more about Minnesota’s teacher crisis.

Enhanced Small Schools Revenue

The House Education Finance Committee on Wednesday heard a bill that MREA has worked alongside legislators to help fill a gap in funding for small, rural school districts with fewer than 1,500 students.

HF 1024 aims to build a block grant of ongoing revenue to districts with fewer than 1,500 students. It would roll the current Small Schools Formula into a program that would weigh the first 750 students in a district by an additional $275 per pupil.

Enhance Small Schools Revenue (ESSR) would cost an additional $30 million annually.

MREA extends a special thanks to Superintendent Lee Westrum of Wadena-Deer Creek and Superintendent Kim Belcastro of Wrenshall for testifying in support of this bill and sharing the impact it will have.

ESSR was among the strategies MREA outlined in the Rural Kids Count Report released in January 2017. Learn more.