Schools for Equity in Education

– Legislative Update

The property tax relief bill is on the move.  A look at the strategy to get it over the finish line.

The House Education Finance Committee heard HF3224 and sent the bill to the House Property Tax Division Committee.  The bill is already scheduled in the property taxes for this Wednesday, March 16. The chairs of the tax and property tax committees both serve on the education finance committee and signaled strong support for the property tax relief in the bill.

To keep the school levy tax relief in play, it needs to be in the House or Senate tax omnibus bill to make it part of the final negotiations. If in both bodies tax omnibus bills, it’s an even stronger position. As the bill’s tax relief is ambitious, I would not expect the House to fund it fully.  However, that is not the immediate concern. First, we need to get it into the property tax division’s omnibus bill, significantly increasing the likelihood of the provisions making it into the House tax omnibus bill.  Conversations are happening on the Senate side as well. I expect we will soon engage all of you through an action alert to contact your legislators and key committee members to express support of the bill, but not just yet. Stay tuned!

The education committees continue to hear numerous bills each time they meet. With the ideological chasm between the DFL-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, it’s uncertain if there will even be a final education omnibus bill. If there is one, it will probably be quite limited in scope. The bills with the highest chance of getting into a final education omnibus bill have identical companion bills authored by a DFLer in the House and a Republican in the Senate and have also been scheduled by the House and Senate education committees. On the SEE Education Bills Summary, if a single line meets these criteria, at least this issue has an agreement on both sides. For example, on line 39, both are interested in grant funding to support social studies teachers with training and curriculum for teaching economics in high schools.

As I said before, Republicans believe they have momentum and could control all three bodies – the Governor’s office, House, and Senate – after the fall elections. That is a strong incentive to keep the majority of the $9.3 billion surplus unspent so they can heavily invest in their top priorities during the next legislative session in 2023. However, Minnesotans probably expect some tax relief, and both the House and Senate are promoting their tax packages. If they can find common ground, a final tax omnibus bill has the best chance of hitting the Governor’s desk for signature into law.

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is the watchdog for Minnesotans to ensure that government programs effectively spend our tax dollars. The OLA just completed an audit on the Minnesota Department of Education’s role in addressing the achievement gap. OLA recommended that the legislature define the ”achievement gap” in law. Also, it found faults in MDE response in assisting districts in closing the achievement gap. Read more. However, OLA found that the Regional Centers of Excellence received enthusiastic praise from superintendents whose districts had access to the regional centers. These low-performing districts were indeed closing the achievement gaps. The OLA recommended that Minnesota expand access to the regional centers to more districts.


Here is where it gets frustrating. The regional centers were established to meet the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to close the achievement gap. ESSA funds the staff and requires MDE to set performance measures that identify districts that qualify for the regional center’s services. MDE’s Commissioner said the regional centers are a great model. Still, it cannot be replicated as envisioned by the OLA report. The ESSA law requires distinct differences between the tiers of support and services provided to the lowest-performing schools that receive comprehensive support and other schools that receive targeted support. Stifling the sharing of best practices that could help so many historically underserved students succeed in school and life is a ridiculous unintended consequence.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!



Deb Griffiths
Director of Communications and Community Outreach


Receive weekly updates during the legislative session.

SEE Side-by-Side Comparison

See the education funding priorities of the Governor, House, and Senate.

Education Bill Summary

An up-to-date look at education bills currently under consideration.

Thank you!

Please support these businesses who boost our efforts to ensure fair and equitable school funding for all Minnesota children.