WHAT: Education organizations host a joint press conference to address special education funding shortfalls and the Legislature’s responsibility to pay its bill to Minnesota schools.
WHERE: Minnesota State Capitol Press Room and Virtually
WHEN: 1 p.m. Monday, May 9
The organizations listed below are leading a Day of Advocacy, beginning with a press conference at the State Capitol urging legislators to fully fund special education with a small part of the multi-billion surplus. After the press conference, advocates, including parents, school board members, school administrators, and others, are encouraged to reach out to their legislators and legislative leaders, urging them to eliminate the cross-subsidy. Now, more than ever, school districts must have the resources to meet the needs of all their students. You can participate in person or virtually.
More information, including details on how you can participate, will be coming next week.
Minnesota School Boards Association, Minnesota Association of School Administrators, Schools for Equity in Education, Association of Metropolitan School Districts, Minnesota Rural Education Association, Minnesota Association of School Business Officials, Minnesota Administrators of Special Education, Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association, Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals
What is happening at the Capitol?
If you haven’t acted on the **ACTION ALERT** from last week, please contact legislators to ask for property tax relief for school levies.
Earlier this week, the House passed HF4300 – the education finance and policy omnibus bill – on the floor with a 69-61 party-line vote. The Senate is expected to take up the bill on the floor next week and amend it. With two versions of the same bill, an education conference committee can begin to negotiate a single version that both the House and Senate can support. The education conference committee comprises an equal number of Senators and Representatives, usually around five each. The chair will rotate between Rep. Jim Davnie and Sen. Roger Chamberlain, the chairs of the Senate and House education finance committees. Given the broad ideological differences between the democrats and republicans, I expect the negotiations will stall without reaching a consensus on education and all of the significant conference committees such as transportation, taxes, economic development, etc. Thus, the top three state leaders – Governor Tim Walz (DFL), Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL), and Senate Majority Jeremy Miller (R) – will try to negotiate a final agreement in all areas of government in closed room meetings before the end of the session. Unlike conference committee meetings where the members have in-depth knowledge of the issues, and the public can see and participate in the process, these closed-door meetings with just three participants lack transparency and is not an excellent way to make significant decisions for all Minnesotans.
That being said, I still believe property tax relief through school levy equalization and funding for the special education cross-subsidy is still in play. The House and Governor indicated support for doing so, and it will come down to the Senate. It’s been a rough couple of years for students and educators. With a $9.3 billion surplus, legislators have the funding to fix these glaring problems. Then, schools will have the resources and the local control to meet their students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. We shall see.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Schools for Equity in Education
Director of Communications and Community Outreach