Omnibus Education Bill: What MSBA supports — and opposes

Omnibus Education Bill: What MSBA supports — and opposes

The House and Senate education committees have compiled their respective omnibus preK-12 policy and finance bills (HF 844/SF 811).

To see the side-by-side bill comparison summary of HF 844/ SF 811 and SF 1495, please visit:

After the initial education conference committee hearings last week, in which no official action was taken, it has been five days with no education meetings. With only SIX days left in the 2015 legislative session, this highly unusual — we can only hope that this is good news for Minnesota students.

As we continue to wait for the conference committee to reconvene, MSBA has put together a comprehensive list of policy and finance provisions we prefer in the each of the bills (House and Senate).

We have categorized the provisions into major areas of interest. You will find them listed below with provisions under each category that we either support or oppose.

SUPPORT: Local Decision Making and Flexibility

  • Providing authority to school districts to establish Flexible Learning Year programs. (Senate and House)
  • Permitting schools to start before Labor Day for the 2015-16 school year only. (Senate)
  • Allowing school districts located in Carver, Scott and Le Sueur counties to form an intermediate school district. (Senate)
  • Requiring local school boards to negotiate an unrequested leave of absence plan. (House)
  • Granting school boards authority to reallocate compensatory revenue among school sites. (House and Senate)
  • Allowing school boards authority to approve fund transfers. (Senate and House)
  • Permitting school boards to offer a coordinated early learning program to provide early childhood family education and school readiness services and other early learning programs. (House)
  • Postponing the review of the mathematics academic standards to the 2020-2021 school year. (House and Senate)

OPPOSE: Restricting Local Decision Making

    • Prescribing how schools provide explicit and systematic reading instruction in basic phonology and language decoding. (Senate)
    • Requiring school personnel to designate and provide separate private areas for students to use based on sex. (House)
    • Prohibiting an administrator from placing a student consecutively in a teacher’s classroom that has the lowest evaluation rating unless there is not another teacher at that grade or subject. (House and Senate)
    • Establishing in statute excused absences from physical education class. (Senate)
    • Requiring the school board to develop a process for determining grade promotion or retention. (Senate)
    • Requiring school districts to reserve future increases in the school endowment fund apportionment for school technology. (Senate)

SUPPORT: Flexibility for Teacher Licensure

  • Allowing more flexibility for teacher candidates in attaining Minnesota teacher licensure, including utilizing alternative pathways to licensure. (House)
  • Streaming pathways for teacher licensure for out-of-state teacher, licensure by portfolio and certified teacher from adjoining states. (House)
  • Giving school districts the authority to hire a nonlicensed community expert, if not able to hire an acceptable licensed teacher. (House)
  • Exempting licensure requirements, upon school board approval, for part-time vocational or career and technical education program instructor. (Senate and House)

OPPOSE: Creating Barriers to Teacher Licensure

  • Eliminating the use of a qualifying score on ACT or SAT for a teacher candidate. (Senate)
  • Requiring the Board of Teaching to recognize out-of-state licensure in “same” content fields and areas only. (Senate)

SUPPORT: Improving Teacher Quality

  • Allowing districts to use career and technical revenue for nonlicensed community experts. (Senate)
  • Expanding the use of basic skills revenue to include teacher recruitment and teacher development activities, and can be used for early education programs. (House)
  • Lifting cap of Alternative Compensation (Q Comp) to enhance districts’ ability to attract, retain, mentor, train, and evaluate teacher performance. (Senate)
  • Allowing alternative teacher professional pay system to include hiring bonus or other compensation to staff hard-to-fill position or school. (House)
  • Authorizing staff development revenue to be used for teacher mentoring and mentor stipend. (House)
  • Allowing eligible districts to use integration aid and levy to recruit and retain a diverse corps of administrators and teachers to provide incentive, including cash incentives, for teachers to teach in hard-to-staff classroom and schools. (House)
  • Requiring a student teacher to be placed with a licensed teacher who has at least three years of experience and is not in the improvement process. (House)
  • Instructing each teacher preparation program to collect data and publish summary data on its teacher candidates. (Senate) 

SUPPORT: Statewide Equity

  • Increasing the basic education by funding formula by 3 percent each year. (Neither)
  • Providing equalization aid for local optional revenue program for districts that have 30 percent or more amount of seasonal recreational property. (Tax Bill)
  • Increasing transportation sparsity revenue for school district that does not receive operating sparsity revenue. (House and Senate)
  • Providing equity revenue for all school districts. (House)
  • Re-establishing Long-term Facilities Maintenance revenue and equalization aid. (Senate)
  • Allowing the School Trust Lands director to serve for a term of five years, instead of four years, after being appointed by the Governor. (Senate)

OPPOSE: Increasing Inequity

    • Funding one-time grant programs which would produce inequitable access to student programs. (Senate)
    • Delinking future compensatory funding increases revenue from the concentration formula to per eligible student. (House)
    • Placing statewide limits on the amount of time spent in standardized assessments and allowing negotiation on the number of tests administered. (Senate)
    • Eliminates the requirement that graduates take the ACT. (House) 

SUPPORT: Career and College Readiness

  • Requiring all MnSCU institutions to give full credit to students enrolling in or transferring within MnSCU institutions who previously completed PSEO course at a MnSCU institution. (House)
  • Allowing an agriculture science or career and technical education credit to fulfill an elective science credit, required chemistry or physics credits if it meets appropriate requirements approved by district. (House and Senate)
  • Allowing a computer science credit to fulfill math credit requirement for high school graduation if it meets state’s academic standards. (Senate and House)
  • Allowing a Project Lead the Way credit to fulfill a science or mathematics credit. (Senate)
  • Increase funding for Concurrent Enrollment. (House and Senate)
  • Declaring school district employees, charter school and Department of Education employees are immune from civil and criminal liability with respect to travel abroad program. (House)

OPPOSE: Administrative Burdens

  • Requiring the Minnesota Department of Education to issue a report to the Legislature in regards to swimming instruction resources and best practices along with the establishment of a work group to make recommendations to make swimming available to all Minnesota students. (Senate)
  • Placing unrealistic directives and timelines on the already overburdened Board of Teaching, instead of utilizing alternative pathways to licensure. (House and Senate)
  • Amending school report cards to include amount of time students spend in physical education class, percentage of students receiving a passing grade and number of required physical education classes to graduate. (Senate)
  • Requiring MNSCU and the Commissioner of the Department of Education to identify the minimum score guidelines on high school MCA’s for reading, math and writing as a performance measure to demonstrate readiness for a certificate level program, two-year college program and four-year college program. (House)

MSBA has shared this list with the chairs of the conference committee. If any of these provisions are important to you or your school district, please contact the conference committee chairs — Rep. Jenifer Loon and Sen. Chuck Wiger — and communicate your support or opposition.

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