The House Education Finance Committee released more details on its E-12 funding plans late Saturday. The $900 million Omnibus Finance Bill (HF2400DE1) allocates education funding very similarly to the Gov. Tim Walz and includes many new policies and mandates.

The House Education Finance Committee spent the past week discussing, debating, amending and eventually passing its Omnibus Education Bill, HF2400DE1.

View summary by key issues.

In Funding

  • Increases Basic Formula Allowance 3% in FY ’20 to $6,501 and 2% in FY ’21 to $6,631
  • Increases SPED Funding by $113 m in ways similar to the governor
  • Continues the 4,000 School Readiness and VPK seats scheduled to lose funding June 30
  • Increases what was Tier 2 Operating Referendum equalization from $510,000 per RPU to $650,000 per RPU
  • Starts another round of Support staff six year declining grants for $5 m
  • Many grants are extended or begun in new areas

Mandates & Control

Some of the new mandates and tightening up of local control include:

  • School Boards must control all extracurricular activities; no activities without the consent and direction of the board
  • Cultural and racial inclusive requirements added to WBWF planning, curriculum, work environment and professional development
  • Dyslexia screenings required
  • Non-exclusionary discipline procedures required
  • Districts may not dismiss children enrolled in Prekindergarten programs
  • Significant changes to Tiered License system
  • ABE and ECFE teachers are included in continuing contract (tenure) statutes
  • Early Learning teachers including school readiness must be licensed within the Tier system this fall. Persons serving as teachers in ’18-19 grandfathered and must be licensed by July 1, 2024
  • Sexual health education required, topics defined, models to be provided
  • Lead in water and Radon testing, notification, and remediation required
  • Respectful meal policies required, districts cannot limit students’ participation in any school activity due to unpaid lunch debt

Add Flexibility

The bill provides some flexibility to schools, including:

  • Pre labor day school start allowed for 20-21 and 21-22
  • Special education paper work reduction
  • Students with IEP’s may participate in ADSIS
  • LTFM revenue may be used for facility safety enhancements—no additional levy allowance
  • Member districts of Cooperatives may use additional $65 in lease levy and LTFM for cooperative facilities for instructional purposes
  • Districts may participate in a Breakfast-After-the-Bell program, funds allocated

Other Key Issues Affecting Education 

  • Paid Family Medical Leave (FMLA) premiums required on all wages subject to state unemployment insurance, all employees eligible to access paid FMLA
    • Premium $0.65% of wages
    • Estimate for all school employees state-wide $46 million
  • Ag2School Bond Credit proposed to go up to $70% in House Property Tax Division Report
    • $30 m in FY 21 projected to grow to $81 m in FY22-23 biennium