February Forecast, First Bill Deadline Friday

The February budget forecast was released last week, and it doesn’t look much different than the November forecast. Even with the new law requiring inflation considerations, the state surplus is suspected to be around $17.5 billion for the next biennium. The majority of this surplus, around $12.5 billion, is one-time money, with the remaining $5 billion available for on-going spending.

First Deadline Week

The first bill deadline is at the end of this week. Committees have full hearing agendas and have added evening hearings to try and clear as many bills as possible.

Following the news of a rather rosy budget forecast, the DFL trifecta continues to work through a volume of legislation much larger than any session in recent history.

Last Week in Education Committees

MREA’s Bob Indihar testifies in Senate Education Finance

House Education Policy considered several proposals to add graduation requirements including computer science, ethnic studies, and personal finance. HF1547, the compensatory aid fix bill, was heard in House Education Finance. Republican members were friendly to the bill, recognizing its importance.

The 5&5 bill (SF448) was discussed by the Senate Education Finance committee, presented by bill author Senator Gustafson. MREA Executive Director, Bob Indihar, returned to the capitol to provide testimony in support of this priority bill. Indihar spoke to rising costs affecting schools and that districts are in need of a predictable funding stream. Several other testifiers spoke in support of the bill, including a PTA member and an MSBA board member. Senator Rarick agreed that this bill would be great for schools. In the same breath, he tried bringing attention to the many mandates being considered by the majority party and that this money would get consumed quickly before schools could catch up. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill.

This week in Education Committees

Senate Education Finance

Senate Education Finance will discuss the following bills:

  • SF1881 (Kunesh) – gen ed formula increase and class size ratios modified
  • SF449 (Gustafson) – comprehensive school mental health services position at MDE
  • SF1318 (Mann) – school employee health insurance mandate and para hourly pay increase
  • SF1240 (Putnam) – support staff persons requirement for early childhood family education programs
  • SF1655 (Rarick) – average daily membership minimum hours for a disabled kindergartner pupil alignment to those other kindergarten pupils
  • SF1047 (Mohamed) – student admission provisions modification
  • SF1297 (Gustafson) – funding provision for student organizations
  • SF2383 (Cwodzinski) – extracurricular Activities Grant Program appropriation
  • SF2255 (Boldon) – ACHLA appropriation for English language learner programming
  • SF1855 (Xiong) – growth factor modification for adult basic education aid
  • SF1911 (Kunesh) – school library aid establishment and appropriation
  • SF579 (Maye Quade) – lead testing and remediation requirements in schools modification
  • SF2097 (Cwodzinski) – ParentChild+ program appropriation
  • SF1401 (Westlin) – service-learning integration into Minnesota’s education system

Senate Education Policy

Senate Education Policy will discuss SF1311 (Cwodzinski), the Governor’s education policy bill, in both of its hearings this week.

House Education Policy

House Education Policy has no hearings scheduled at this time, but it is likely they will be reviewing the Governor’s education policy bill.

House Education Finance

House Education Finance will discuss the following bills:

  • HF423 (Lislegard) – school facility construction supplemental aid funding provided (Ely, Rock-Ridge, Mabel-Canton)
  • HF620 (Youakim) – paraprofessional paid orientation required
  • HF1348 (Tabke) – school employee health insurance mandate and para hourly pay increase
  • HF336 (Kozlowski) – SPED revenue adjustment (Duluth ISD 709)
  • HF1137 (Sencer-Mura) – number of heritage language and culture teachers increased
  • HF1138 (Sencer-Mura) – teacher residency grant pilot program established
  • HF1257 (Hill) – barriers to teacher licensure removed, licensure requirements modified, and short-call substitute teacher pilot program established
  • HF1268 (Hill) – teacher licensure and teacher preparation program changes made, PELSB membership changes made
  • HF1224 (Hill) – tiered licensure changes made
  • HF1023 (Smith) – Rochester Children’s Museum grant funding provided
  • HF1294 (Long) – Bakken Museum grant funding provided
  • HF1364 (Wolgamott) – museum and education center funding provided
  • HF1108 (Pérez-Vega) – Minnesota Children’s Museum funding provided
  • HF1761 (Clardy) – student organization funding provided
  • HF1375 (Keeler) – cost-efficient projects authorized, including remodeling costs in long-term facilities maintenance revenue program