House Hears Formula Increase, Senate Debates MDE Policy Bill

While bill introductions continue to break records, there seems to be subtle change of pace in some committees. As the DFL majority checks off boxes on their to-do list, the focus will start shifting to reviewing the Governor’s proposals in depth. That being said, the pressure from upcoming bill deadlines will certainly put lawmakers’ feet back on the gas pedal soon.

House and Senate Capital Investment committees released their spreadsheets for the 2023 bonding bill. This proposal is purportedly the bill that was negotiated between then-Chair Bakk and Chair Lee last year.  House Chair Lee wants this bill to move fast and that the plan is to take public testimony and amendments this week. House Republicans stand ready to add their projects to the proposal and support the bill, but Senate Republicans are asking for a tax relief bill in exchange for their votes on a bonding bill.

House Education Hears from MREA on “5&5 linked”

MREA’s Executive Director Bob Indihar traveled to St. Paul and testified on behalf of MREA members in favor of HF439, a bill that would increase the general education basic formula by 5% per year for the next two school years. The bill also links future formula increases to the rate of CPI inflation. This bill is the top priority for MREA, and there were several school administrators and others testifying in favor of the bill. There was very little member discussion and HF439 was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill. “5&5” is a heavy enough lift, but factored against the potential mandates, including: Paid Family & Medical Leave, Safe & Sick Time, Unemployment Insurance, $25/hour minimum wage for support staff, health insurance requirements for parttime staff and potential TRA increases, 5&5 might not cut it.  Linking future formula increases to inflation is another heavy lift and there’s a long history of institutional opposition to doing so in the legislature. We’ll need your voices and advocacy to help carry HF 439 across the finish line.

Compensatory Fix?

House Education Policy discussed HF1547, legislation intended to backfill the potential loss of compensatory aid caused by a universal school meals program and lack of parents filling out FRE applications. A state goal of HF 1547 is to relieve schools and parents of the paper form burden and find an alternative means to generate various education aids. Rep. Feist recognized the struggle it can be for schools to get parents to fill out the forms necessary for FRE. There were still unanswered questions regarding the details of how this would actually work, Chair Youakim assured the committee that the bill would be going to Education Finance to continue working on it.

Senate Education Debates MDE Policy Bill

Adosh Unni and Megan Arriola from MDE presented the Governor’s education policy package to the Senate Education Policy committee last week. No surprise, it is a sweeping proposal including clarifications to educational standards, teacher licensure changes, added accountability for federal food service programs, and efforts to increase diversity in the teaching profession (just to name a few). The proposed revisions to academic standards drew a lot of pushback from Republican members, Chair Cwodzinski did his best to assure them that academic standards are not curriculum and it’s still up to the individual schools to determine how to teach their students.

Education Policy also heard a proposal to establish a pilot program to improve educational outcomes and accountability. This pilot program would focus less on standardized testing, and more on the whole student taking into account their lives outside of school. The bill passed and was re-referred to Senate Education Finance.

This week in Education Committees

Senate Education Finance

Senate Education Finance will discuss the following bills:

  • SF1753 (Cwodzinski) – African American Registry grant
  • SF1090 (Cwodzinski) – physical education standards delay
  • SF1080 (Hauschild) – CTE revenue increase
  • SF1553 (Lucero) – American Indian education aid school district authorization to carry forward from one school year to the next in certain circumstances
  • SF448 (Gustafson) – formula increase by 5% and tied to inflation
  • SF1276 (Maye Quade) – early learning scholarship program modification
  • SF20 (Kunesh) – full-service community schools appropriation
  • SF1719 (Putnam) – education partnership program modification
  • SF865 (Westlin) – MCEE ongoing grants

Senate Education Policy

Senate Education Policy will discuss the following bills:

  • SF476 (Mitchell) – climate justice instruction for school districts
  • SF1240 (Putnam) – support staff requirements for ECFE
  • SF1401 (Westlin) – MDE required to integrate service-learning
  • SF901 (Cwodzinski) – personal finance class requirement
  • SF242 (Draheim) – online personal finance class requirement
  • HF617 (Kunesh) – school trust lands duties and powers modification

House Education Policy

House Education Policy does not currently have any hearings scheduled.

House Education Finance

House Education Finance will give committee members an overview of equalization and discuss the following bills:

  • HF112 (Pryor) – physical education standards delay
  • HF1271 (Youakim) – operating referendum equalization aid increased, property tax levies decreased
  • HF879 (Youakim) – local optional revenue increased and linked to general education basic formula
  • HF1396 (Hemmingsen-Jaeger) – equalization aid increase for adept service to equalization program
  • HF1457 (Pursell) – allowed uses of LTFM revenue and capital levies clarified
  • HF362 (Moller) – comprehensive school mental health services lead position created at MDE
  • HF1102 (Clardy) – elementary counseling services for nonpublic pupils included in nonpublic pupil aid
  • HF58 (Richardson) – prohibition on dismissal of K-3 students
  • HF933 (Rehm) – Eastern Carver County lease levy authorized
  • HF1045 (Hill) – community ed for adults with disabilities
  • HF683 (Edelson) – community ed revenue program funding increase
  • Resources
  • Bill Search, Status, and MyBills – Minnesota State Legislature (
  • MREA members are encouraged to join Advocacy Briefings to hear directly from our Advocacy team, who is at the Capitol every day advocating for Greater Minnesota education. Check your Insider Brief for the invite.
  • Walz’s Working Families and Economic Relief outline.