Schools for Equity in Education

– Legislative Update

ACTION ALERT! SEE school levy tax relief and reform bill scheduled in committee


The House Education Finance Committee plans to hear the school levies tax relief and reform bill (HF3224) next Thursday, March 10.  If any legislator on the committee represents you, please send them a quick email explaining why this property tax relief is so vital for your taxpayers and schools.  Nine members represent SEE districts.  Here are the members on the committee, some talking points and history on the bill, and the total property tax relief (in the blue column) for SEE districts.

After education finance, the bill travels to property taxes.  The House Property Tax Division Committee needs to adopt the provisions in HF3224 into its omnibus bill so the tax relief can be incorporated into the House Taxes Omnibus bill.  When HF3224 gets to these two committees, SEE will issue more urgent and broad action alerts.  Stay tuned!

What’s happening at the Capitol?

The big news is the state’s budget surplus grew from $7.7 billion to $9.3 billion.  It’s even harder to say the legislature doesn’t have the resources to fix glaring inequities in the education funding system like property tax relief for school levies and the special education cross subsidy.

The House Education Policy Committee heard the Governor’s education policy bill (HF3401 Richardson-DFL).  This Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) presentation summarizes the more than 100 new provisions over a broad array of topics and has over a dozen unfunded mandates.  Many requirements, particularly in the world-class education and the safe and welcoming environment sections, were in his policy bill in the last session and didn’t make it into the final education bill.  I would expect the same outcome this session.  However, one of the new provisions that allow all school districts to become an online service provider without approval from MDE beginning in the 2023-24 school year would be welcome by many schools and students.  Read more.

The Senate had its first floor session and passed two provisions in their “Parents Bill of Rights.” SF2729 allows school boards to require public speakers to state their town or city at school board meetings, but speakers do not have to publicly say their home address.  School districts can have a process to request that information in other ways.  The bill passed 37-0.  SF2575 requires districts to provide parents with all instructional materials given to their children immediately and without cost.  Proponents claim it’s the parent’s right to have this information, and it will build stronger ties between teachers and families.  Opponents point out that this could add considerable burdens to already stressed-out teachers who are valiantly trying to meet the needs of their students in the chaos of the past couple of years.  The bill passed on a party-line vote.  Read more.

Bills to note heard in committee this week.
SF3380 (Chamberlain-R) – increases safe school revenue by $8 per pupil.  This state aid added to the current $36 per pupil amounts to $44 per pupil, with a minimum of $20,000 per district.  The $44 per pupil (all in state aid) is extended to private schools.  The author added he might be agreeable to increasing the funding (a good idea as $8 does not go very far).  The House might be interested in increasing safe school revenue but not the private school part.
HF3634 (Morrison-DFL) – requires mental health screening in schools and provides funding for mental health support staff. Read more.
HF2949 (Feist-DFL)– Links the basic formula to inflation.  Read more.

Just introduced – HF3891 (Feist-DFL) – Establishes a legislative working group to determine a different proxy to identify students who qualify for compensatory funding. Compensatory funding supports struggling students living in poverty. Currently, families must fill out a form proving that they are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and many families are reluctant to fill out the form. With the federal covid mandate that schools provide free lunch to all students, compensatory student counts plummeted, and the funding evaporated. Yet the students still need support.

See all the issues that the education committee took up this week.

The Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee is committed to literacy and hosted members from the Professional Educators Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), which approves all the coursework for state-approved teacher preparation programs.  Chair Roger Chamberlain questioned whether teacher candidates get sufficient training in the science of reading (comparable to the LETRS training) while the aspiring teachers are still in college.  He noted that research from the National Council on Teacher Quality found that 74% of all teacher preparation programs did not explicitly cover all the components in the science of reading.  Also, he said when current teachers complete the successful LETRS literacy training, many provide feedback that they have not been introduced to these concepts before.  PELSB countered that their standards are strong and ensure all the science of reading components are integrated into the approved higher education literacy courses.  Also, they said 94% of new teachers that take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) pass the literacy portion of the test.  They vaguely suggested a disconnect between when the new teachers leave college and when they get out in the school districts.  Lots of finger-pointing.  It was pretty tense in the room.  I hear a lot from superintendents that new teachers, through no fault of their own, are not ready to teach literacy and found PELSB’s explanation complacent. Just as many K-12 schools have, PELSB must do better because too many students are not reading by third grade.

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.