Senate Counsel, Research
and Fiscal Analysis
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Tom Bottern
State of Minnesota
S.F. No. 3928 - E12 Omnibus Finance Bill (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Carla J. Nelson
Prepared By: Jenna Hofer, Senate Fiscal Analyst (651/296-5259)
Ann Marie Butler, Senate Counsel (651/296-5301)
Bjorn E. Arneson, Senate Analyst (651/296-3812)
Date: April 19, 2018


Article 1: School Safety

Section 1.  Purchase of certain equipment.  Clarifies that current equipment bonding authority includes authority to issue bonds for public announcement systems, emergency communication devices, and other equipment related to violence prevention and facility security.

Section 2.  Safe schools revenue.

Subd. 1.  Safe schools revenue.  Defines safe schools revenue for a school district as the sum of safe schools aid and safe schools levy.

Subd. 2.  Safe schools levy.  Preserves the existing $36/pupil levy authority for school districts and $15/pupil additional levy authority for districts that are members of an intermediate district.

Subd. 3.  Safe schools aid.  Creates a new safe schools aid for school districts equal to $3.65 per pupil unit. Ensures that districts generate at least $25,000 in total safe schools revenue. For fiscal year 2019 only, provides additional aid equal to $7.50 per pupil unit for districts that are members of a cooperative unit other than an intermediate district.

Subd. 3a.  Intermediate district and cooperative unit revenue transfer.  Requires that revenue attributable to a cooperative unit be allocated and transferred to the cooperative unit. Specifies the allowable uses.

Subd. 4.  Safe schools revenue for a charter school.  Creates a new safe schools aid for charter schools equal to $3.65 per pupil unit. Specifies the allowable uses.

Subd. 4a.  Fiscal year 2019 additional safe schools revenue.  For fiscal year 2019 only, provides one-time $16.23 per pupil unit increase to safe schools revenue for school districts and charter schools.

Subd. 5.  Uses of safe schools revenue.  In addition to uses allowable under current law, includes telemedicine, cybersecurity, and debt service under section 123B.61 or 123B.62 in the allowable uses for safe schools revenue. Prohibits safe schools aid from being used to pay for costs associated with improving the school climate.

Subd. 6.  Report.  Requires the commissioner to annually report on district expenditures of safe schools revenue.

Makes this section effective for fiscal year 2019 and later.

Section 3.  Sanneh Foundation.  Appropriates additional money in fiscal year 2019 for grants to the Sanneh Foundation.

Section 4.  Transfer of unspent consolidation transition aid for incentive grants for character development education.  If no school district is eligible, allows the fiscal year 2019 entitlement for consolidation transition aid to be transferred to the department for character education incentive grants.  Makes the section effective June 30, 2018.

Section 5.  Appropriation.  Appropriates money for safe schools revenue, for incentive grants for character education, and for suicide prevention training.

Article 2: General Education

Section 1.  Alternative pupil.  Includes certain nonpublic pupils in grade 10 in the definition of “alternative pupil” for the purposes of participation in career and technical dual enrollment courses.

Section 2.  Transportation.  Increases the maximum reimbursement rate from 15 cents per mile to the current Internal Revenue Service business standard mileage rate (54.5 cents per mile for 2018). Provides the same reimbursement changes for nonpublic or “alternative” pupils. Clarifies that “necessary transportation costs” include costs of transportation in a private vehicle, bus, taxi, or other shared vehicle.

Section 3.  Eligible pupils.  Extends, for fiscal year 2019 only, the eligibility of certain English learner students with an interrupted formal education to participate in the graduation incentives program and in concurrent enrollment courses.  Makes the section effective July 1, 2018.

Sections 4 to 12.  Simplifies the calculation of referendum and local optional revenue and makes the calculations more transparent by eliminating the annual recalculation of referendum allowances based on the amount of LOR a district receives, and moving the $300 per pupil of referendum revenue available to districts by board resolution to LOR, so that all of the $724 available to districts by board action is in LOR and all of the referendum revenue is voter approved.  To ensure that all districts receive the same amount of aid and levy as under current law, establishes a two-tiered equalization formula for LOR, reduces the number of tiers for referendum equalization from 3 to 2, and reduces the referendum cap is reduced by $300.

Section 13.  General education aid.  Amends the general education aid appropriation to conform with the February 2018 forecast and for the additional aid payable under the amended provisions in this article.

Section 14.  Enrollment options transportation.  Amends the enrollment options transportation aid appropriation to conform with the February 2018 forecast and for the additional aid payable under the amended provisions in this article.

Section 15.  Repealer.  Repeals Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 126C.17, subdivision 9a, effective fiscal year 2020, which outlined the process for board-approved referendum allowance, now “first-tier local optional revenue.” Repeals Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 126C.16, now obsolete.

Article 3: Education Excellence

Section 1.  Academic Balance Policy.  Requires a school board to adopt and post a written academic balance policy.  The policy must prohibit discrimination against students on the basis of political, idealogical, or religious beliefs. The policy must include reporting procedures and disciplinary actions for policy violations.  The policy must be posted on the district's Web site during the 2018-2019 school year, distributed to employees, and included in subsequent editions of the student handbook.  Makes the section effective for the 2018-2019 school year and later.

Sections 2 to 6.  Clarifies in the Minnesota American Indian Teacher Training Program (MNITTP).  Allows the four grantee partnerships to contract with tribal, technical, and community colleges and four-year postsecondary institutions to provide program services and recruit candidates. Eliminates the loan portion of the MNITTP program and clarifies that they are grants, which are equivalent to the current scholarship model. Clarifies student eligibility for MNITTP grants.  Includes prioritization for a student that has origins of original peoples of North American and maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition. Requires priority be given to a student who is tribally enrolled and then to first and second generation descendants. States that eligible programming is for those pursuing education level attainment (AA, BA, MA, Doctoral), and in education areas (educational certification, ECFE or Pre-Kindergarten license, elementary and secondary education, administration, any program that services American Indian students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through grade-12). Gives priority to students progressing towards an AA or a BA.  Requires grantees and contracted partners to hire American Indian work-study students or other staff to provide programming regarding education professions to high school students. At least 80 percent of the grants must be used as student grants and 20 percent may be used for recruitment or administration of student grants.

Section 7.  Prohibiting School Employees from Using Public Resources for Advocacy; Endorsing Timely and Current Factual Information. Requires a school district to adopt a district policy that prohibits employees from using district funds or other publicly funded district resources to advocate for electing or defeating a candidate, or passing or defeating a ballot question. The policy applies when the employee performs the duties assigned to them under the employment contract. The policy doesn’t apply when an employee disseminates factual information consistent with the employee’s contractual duties. Makes the section effective July 1, 2018.

Section 8.  Adult basic education aid for community-based providers.  Allows the International Education Center, the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center, and the Minnesota Office of Communication Service for the Deaf to receive additional adult basic education aid for fiscal year 2019.The additional aid equals $400,000 times the ratio of (1) the number of students served by the organization for the previous fiscal year to (2) the sum of the number of students served for the previous fiscal year by all eligible organizations. Makes the section effective for fiscal year 2019 only.

Section 9.  Certain federal, state, and local requirements.  Requires a charter school to adopt an academic balance policy. Makes the section effective for the 2018-2019 school year and later.

Section 10.  Museums and education centers.  Appropriates money in fiscal year 2019 for the Judy Garland Museum for the Children’s Discovery Museum of Grand Rapids.

Section 11.  Race 2 reduce.  Appropriates money in fiscal year 2019 for Race 2 Reduce water conservation programming.

Section 12.  Grow your own pathways to teacher licensure.  Allows $900,000 of the fiscal year 2019 appropriation to be used for grants to school districts or charter schools with at least 30 percent students of color for established nonconventional teacher residency programs. Allows $600,000 of the fiscal year 2019 appropriation to be used for grants to schools or districts with at least 30 percent students of color or are American Indian to provide financial assistance, mentoring, and experiences to enable individuals to become teachers. Allows the grant monies to be used for scholarships, stipends, and to develop innovative residency programs.

Section 13.  Appropriation.  Appropriates money in fiscal year 2019 for online access to music education and academic balance policy review.

Section 14.  Revisor's instruction.  Directs the revisor of statutes to codify the Grow your Own Pathways to teacher licensure session law.

Section 15. Repealer.  (a) Repeals the loan provisions of the MNITTP program. (b) Repeals the vision therapy pilot project grants.

Article 4: Teachers

Section 1.  Background check.  Requires the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) to request a criminal history background check on a licensed teacher who is applying for a renewal license if a background check has not been conducted on the teacher within the last five years. Allows the board to request payment of $15 for the background check from a teacher renewing their license. Makes the section effective July 1, 2018.

Section 2.  Background check required.  Requires the school hiring authority to request a new criminal history background check on all employees every three years. For employees licensed by the PELSB, the consent form must authorize the school hiring authority to share the criminal history background check with the PELSB. Requires payment for a background check to be sent to the PELSB for deposit into the educator licensure background check account in the special revenue fund.  Exempts a school bus driver who has had a background check under section 171.3215 and had their existing bus driver's endorsement renewed.  Allows the school hiring authority to decide not to request a criminal background check on an employee who provides a copy of a background check conducted within the previous 36 months.

Section 3.  Transfer of Unspent Background Check Fees in the Educator Licensure Background Check Account.  Directs the Commissioner of Education to provide payment to the superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for the actual processing costs of criminal history background checks, including an additional full-time equivalent staff at PELSB and up to three additional full-time equivalent staff at the BCA. Provides for the annual transfer of unspent funds, estimated at $452,000, to the general fund for fiscal years 2019 through 2021.

Article 5: Special Education

Section 1.  Education, residence, and transportation of homeless.  Provides that, for homeless pupils with an individualized education plan (IEP) enrolled in a program authorized by an intermediate district or other cooperative unit, the serving district at the time of the pupil’s enrollment in the program remains responsible for transporting the pupil for the remainder of the school year, unless the initial serving district and current serving district mutually agree that the current serving district will be responsible for providing transportation. Makes this section effective July 1, 2018.

Section 2.  Intermediate School District Mental Health Innovation Grant Program; Appropriation.  Clarifies that a mental health or substance use disorder provider agency is eligible for the mental health innovation grant program.

Section 3.  Transfer of unspent department of education litigation funds for Monticello special education aid.  Directs the commissioner to transfer any funds remaining unspent as of June 30, 2018, from the amounts appropriated for fiscal year 2018 for department litigation costs to Monticello School District for additional special education aid.

Article 6: Facilities, Technology, and Libraries

Section 1.  Allocation from districts participating in agreements for secondary education or interdistrict cooperation.  Allows districts participating in a pairing agreement to allocate long-term facilities maintenance revenue for large indoor air quality, fire safety and asbestos projects among the participating district to provide an equitable distribution of the levy impact of the projects.

Section 2.  District aid.  For a district that is not a member of an organized telecommunications access cluster, eliminates the $16 per pupil local effort required before the district is eligible for state aid. Makes this section effective for revenue in fiscal year 2019 and later.

Section 3.  Additional telecommunications equity access aid.  Establishes a supplemental aid program to reduce unreimbursed telecommunications costs for districts in which the costs after federal and initial state aid exceed $7 per pupil. Makes this section effective for revenue in fiscal year 2019 and later.

Section 4.  To lease building or land.  Allows TIES (Technology and Information Educational Services) member districts to continue their lease levy authority for their portion of the building lease purchase costs through the dissolution of the joint powers board.

Section 5.  Sample ballot, posting.  For proposed capital projects requiring review and comment, requires that the summary of the commissioner’s review and comment and other supplemental information be posted in the school district’s administrative office four days before an election to issue bonds to finance the project. Requires that the same be posted in the polling place on Election Day. Makes this section effective for elections held on or after August 1, 2018.

Section 6.  Proper use of bond proceeds.  Clarifies that bond proceeds must be used for the original purpose.

Section 7.  Generally; notice.  Requires that the ballot language for a school district bond issue state the name of the plan or plans being proposed by the district as submitted to the commissioner for review and comment. Makes this section effective for elections held on or after August 1, 2018.

Section 8.  Equity in telecommunication access; appropriation.  Appropriating additional money in fiscal year 2019 for equity in telecommunications access aid.

Section 9.  Cancellation of unspent regional libraries telecommunications aid.  Cancels the estimated unspent portion of regional libraries telecommunications aid to the general fund.

Section 10.  Appropriations.  Appropriates money in fiscal year 2019 and later for the additional telecommunications access aid under section 125B.26, subd. 4a.

Article 7: Early Childhood

Section 1.  Program requirements.  Clarifies that formative measures for children in VPK programs must be age-appropriate.

Section 2.  Mixed delivery of services.  Requires that, for fiscal year 2020 and later, for any district or charter school serving more voluntary prekindergarten participants than in fiscal year 2019, the district or charter school must contract with a three- or four-star Parent Aware rated program operated by a charter school, Head Start, child care center, licensed family child care, or community-based organization for at least 40 percent of the increased participants.

Section 3.  Application process; priority for high poverty schools.  Strikes obsolete language. Authorizes the commissioner to waive the mixed-delivery requirements otherwise in effect for fiscal year 2020 if the applicant provides evidence that they were unable to contract for mixed delivery.

Section 4.  Participation limits.  Requires that, on a statewide basis, for fiscal year 2020 and later, at least 40 percent of the voluntary prekindergarten participants in excess of 3,160 participants must be served through a mixed delivery of services. (Under current law, voluntary prekindergarten participation is capped at 3,160 participants for fiscal year 2020 and later.)

Section 5.  No supplanting.  Requires that voluntary prekindergarten revenue and school readiness plus revenue supplement, not supplant, existing local, state, and federal revenues for prekindergarten activities.

Article 8: State agencies

Section 1.  Department.  Reduces the Minnesota Department of Education’s fiscal year 2019 appropriation by $386,000 to $24,488,000.  Reduces the agency’s fiscal year 2020 base budget by $40,000 to $22,014,000.

Section 2.  Appropriations; Perpich Center for Arts Education.  Reallocates $600,000 in funding for severance payments that will not be spent.

Article 9: Forecast adjustments

All sections amend prior appropriations to conform with the February 2018 budget forecast.

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