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Education Legislation and Executive Orders
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News on the Special Sessions

The second 2020 Special Session ended in the early morning on July 21.

The bonding bill - SSHF3 - contained $17 million in increased referendum equalization.  Unfortunately, politics got in the way of passing the $1.8 billion bonding/taxes bill, which not only is it essential to provide and maintain needed infrastructure across the state, but also acts as an economic stimulus package that will put people back to work.  The bill did not pass.  

The first 2020 Special Session ended at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 20. 

Special Session: SSHF33 - Education Policy Omnibus Bill -  a sparse education policy bill, was passed in the Senate (Vote: 67-0) and the House (Vote: 117-9) and and signed by the Governor.   

The 2020 Legislative Session ended.

HF4415 - Education Covid-19 Education bill as amended passed in the legislature on 5/17/20 and signed by the governor on 5/27/20.  

HF331 - raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic delivery devices from 18 to 21 years old, and increases penalties for illegally selling or providing these products to underage users.  Most students who use e-cigarettes get them from their 18 to 20-year-old peers. Increasing the age gap between people old enough to purchase nicotine products and middle and high school students will help keep these products out of schools. This new law will take effect on 8/1/20.

Following are Selected Education-related Bills of Interest (of these, only HF4415 above passed.)

HF4415 - Legislative Covid-19 Education Aid Proposals 

Both the House and Senate bills include the following provisions.

  • Provides full funding for the 2019-20 school year adjusting funding streams that use various measurements such as student contact hours or bus route miles to calculate revenue.   
  • Gives flexibility in transferring revenue from different fund balances to pay for salaries and costs associated with moving to distance learning.
  • Requires that teacher candidates who completed coursework requirements but could not complete required licensure exams due to coronavirus to receive a provisional license and extends the time by 6 months for teachers to meet the requirements to renew their license.
  • Instructs MDE to direct the discretionary federal coronavirus aid equitably to school districts to pay for the cost associated with the transforming to distance learning.
  • Provides cash flow assistance to school districts that cannot make debt service payments for school building bonds due to a delay in receiving property tax proceeds.

Provisions in the Senate language only. 

  • Includes the February 2020 forecast adjustments. This will allow schools to plan for the 2020-21 school year, knowing what funding they will receive from the state.  
  • Requires the inclusion of information on construction and skilled trades into career counseling services in middle and high school. The provision was agreed upon last session but failed to make it into the final bill. 

Provisions only in the House language.

  •  Requires school districts to pay hourly employees and contract workers (i.e., paraprofessionals and contracted bus drivers) based on their schedule hours from before the coronavirus hit.
  • Allows high school seniors to graduate and students to move to the next grade level in fall by waiving certain requirements around the required number of instructional hours, credits, and state graduation requirements.

Documents for the Education Coronavirus Relief Bills Described Above


HF4415 (Davnie-DFL)  


SC7474-2 contains the language for the Senate's coronavirus bill and can be seen in the information below.  

House Education Finance Omnibus Bill - HF4542 passed as amended with a delete all amendment in the House Education Finance Committee on 5/4/20.  It will head to the House Ways and Means Committee proceeding to the floor.  It has no Senate companion bill.  The information below is the language of the delete everything, which was the bill that was passed in committee with two minor amendments.  

House Education Policy Omnibus Bill - HF163 is the vehicle for the education policy bill.  DE3 amendment deleted everything and replace the language in HF163.  The information below is on the DE3 amendment.  

Legislative Covid-19 Tax Bill - the bill passed on the Senate floor on 4/30/20 on a 40-27 vote and is awaiting action by the House. 

The Senate Taxes Committee is moving the Covid-19 tax bill - SF3843 with the A-5 delete all amendment.  It includes $15 million annually in increased equalization aid beginning with property taxes paid in 2021 for the 2021-22 school year.  The information below incorporates the A-5 amendment

HF3186 - The Governor's Education Policy Bill

The Governor's Education Budget Recommendation

Referendum Equalization

HF3171 (Huot - DFL) / SF3706 (Nelson - R) spends $40 million annually to provide property tax relief for voter-approved operating referendums.  The bill also indexes to the average market value so the equalization will not erode over time.  
Equalization District Data Run - shows the property tax relief for each school district. 

The Senate leadership announced on Thursday, February 20 their Get Your Billion Back MN Plan, which gives the $1.3 billion budget surplus back to the taxpayers.  As only about $250 million of the surplus is on-going, that could put a significant strain on next year's budget cycle.  However, the plan does include $20 million annually for voter-approved equalization.  It does not index to the average market value.
SF3533 (Chamberlain - R) / HF3715 (Davids - R)
Equalization District Data Run - shows the property tax relief for each school district.

Safe School Aid 

SF3629 (Nelson - R) / HF4338 (Erickson - R) increases the current safe school aid to $36 per pupil from $34 per pupil for just the 2020-21 school year after which the aid would discontinue.  Sen. Nelson intent is to make it permanent in the next legislative budget year, which is the 2021 Legislative Session
SF3629 Safe School Aid District Data Run 

Coronavirus:  Governor Tim Walz's Emergency Executive Orders Regarding E-12 Education 

  • Executive Order 20-02 - Temporary two-week closure of schools from March 18-27 so educators can design a distance learning model for their students.
  • Executive Order 20-19 - Implementation of the distance learning models so students can resume their education in more safe environments until May 4.
  • Executive Order 20-41 - Extension of distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
  • Executive Order 20-57