2019 Final Education Omnibus Bill
The final education spending target is $543 million, up from the Senate target of $206 million, but down from the House target of $900 million. Total spending exceeded the target due to reclaiming unspent funds in other programs., Eighty-eight percent of the funding was dedicated to the basic formula and the special education cross subsidy (the unfunded cost of special education services.) The education omnibus bill includes the following highlights.
- Increases of 2% to the basic formula for each of the next two years ($389 million).
- Establishes special education cross subsidy reduction aid - the goal is to freeze the cross subsidy at the current state average of $820 per pupil. Districts will see a 2.6% reduction in their cross subsidy next year and a 6.4% reduction the following year. Also, caps in the special education formula will be reduced or eliminated over the next several years. ($90 million total for FY20 and FY21, $142 million total for FY21 and FY22.) In addition, a school district's fiscal responsibility for resident special education students enrolled in schools outside the district will drop from 90% to 85% next year and 80% the following year and thereafter.
- Increase in referendum equalization aid to reduce the high taxpayer cost of a referendum dollar in low-property wealth district. ($10 million in the tax omnibus bill.)
- Preserves the funding for 4,000 existing voluntary preK seats for the next two years. ($47 million)
- Provides safe schools aid, contingent on the state having a surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. The funding can be spent on support staff or building safety upgrades. (Up to $30 million or about $30 per pupil.)
Policy items were kept to a minimum and include the following.
- Clarifies operating levies by moving the $300 per pupil of board-approved referendum to local optional revenue (LOR). Now all referendum is voter-approved, and the $724 per pupil of board-approved levies is LOR.
- Requires screening for characteristics of dyslexia for all students in grades K-2 and students struggling with reading in grade 3 or higher.
- Encourages districts to offer a course for credit in government and citizenship in grades 11th or 12th.
- Directs the Department of Labor and Industry to study ways for middle and high school students to safely participate in hands-on training in the skilled trades.
- Reduction in some special education paperwork in the areas of conciliation conferences, prior written notice and including MCA scores on a student's IEP.
- Allows students to possess and use sunscreen.
- Some notable controversial policy not in the final bills includes comprehensive sex education, changes to the tiered teacher licensure system, and opportunity scholarship vouchers to pay for students attending private schools, including religious ones.
- See the second half of the MDE Legislative Update for more policy details
Additonal detailed information.
Education Conference Committee Information
Compare the House and Senate education omnibus bills.
Education Conference Committee Members
Conference committee members must negotiate to craft one bill from the House and Senate versions of the education omnibus bills.
Education Omnibus Bills
*Indicates the document was revised by the governor to reflect the decrease in funding due to the February forecast.
Note: The Senate has $14.8 million in the tax omnibus bill and the House has $22 million in the education omnibus bill of equalization to reduce the taxpayer cost for voter-approved operating referendum.
District by District Property Tax Relief - comparison the equalization bills for each district.
SF670 (Chamberlain-R) / HF618 (Runbeck-R) - property tax relief per district for debt service - $30 million per year. The Chair of the Senate Taxes Committee is chief author of this bill.
SF1237 (Nelson-R) - property tax relief per district for referendum and debt service - $63 million per year. The Chair of the Senate E-12 Finance and Policy is chief author on this bill.
HF1142 (Tabke-FL) for debt service and HF1143 (Huot-FL) for referendum, property tax relief per district for both - $100 million per year.