MSBA at the Capitol — Senator introduces universal preschool bill

MSBA at the Capitol — Senator introduces universal preschool bill

In the Senate — Senate E-12 Budget Division Committee

Sen. John Hoffman presented SF6 to the Senate E-12 Budget Division Committee on Wednesday, January 21. His proposal for universal preschool attracted a standing room only crowd — there was strong support for providing funding for universal all-day preschool program for four-year-olds. The bill clarified that parents may enroll a child to participant in a school district’s program OR apply for an early learning scholarship.

The committee was very receptive to the proposal, but cautious about its fiscal implications. The fiscal note showed an initial cost of $416.7 million in 2016 and 2017. The cost would increase to $581 million in 2018 and 2019. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus education finance bill. Click here for a related story

Senate Noteworthy Bill Intros:

Sen. Lyle Koenen introduced SF162, which would authorize school boards to implement flexible learning year programs without the approval of commissioner of education. This proposal reflects what has been a long-standing MSBA legislative policy — as a result we do support this bill. This promises to be a controversial topic since the governor has been public about not allowing school districts to provide less days in school. This will be interesting.

In the House — House Education Finance Committee

Organizations provided the House Education Finance Committee an overview of early education programs throughout the state Wednesday, January 21. No bills will heard on this topic.

House Noteworthy Bill Intros:

Rep. Dean Urdahl introduced a teacher reciprocity proposal (HF247) that would require the Board of Teaching to enter into National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) interstate agreements for teacher licensure. The bill would allow fully certified teachers from other states to transfer their certification to Minnesota and receive a full, five-year continuing teaching license without having to complete any additional exams or other preparation requirements. At MSBA, we support allowing school boards to have more flexibility in hiring teachers due to teacher shortages in more than 20 disciplines in many parts of the state. There promises to be many more bills and hearings on this topic.

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