USDA publishes final rule for school meals

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On December 6, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue empowered local schools with additional options to serve healthy and appealing meals.

A final rule on school meal flexibilities, to be published later this month in the Federal Register, increases local flexibility in implementing school nutrition standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium.

Secretary Perdue said the final rule will deliver on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) promise, made in a May 2017 proclamation, to develop forward-thinking strategies that ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical.

MSBA has long advocated for this flexibility and applauds the final rule. We will continue discussions with the USDA and Congress about additional regulatory and legislative improvements to school meal programs that will help ensure school districts are able to provide affordable healthy meals to children.

The Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements final rule offers schools new options as they serve meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) and other federal child nutrition programs.

The rule:

  • provides the option to offer flavored, low-fat milk to children participating in school meal programs, and to participants ages six and older in the Special Milk Program for Children (SMP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP);
  • requires half of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menu be whole grain-rich;
  • and provides more time to reduce sodium levels in school meals.

Access the complete press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.

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PELSB seeking superintendent, teacher to fill open board seats

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The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board will have open seats when the terms of two members expire on January 1, 2019. PELSB encourages members of the public to submit applications for consideration to serve on the PELSB Board.

The two open seats on the board will include:

  • A teacher from outside the seven-county metropolitan area.
  • A superintendent from the seven-county metropolitan area.

PELSB’s vision is to ensure equitable education practices through high licensure standards, quality educator preparation programs, and stakeholder engagement. Board members have the opportunity to directly impact all Minnesota students and educators by making decisions and setting policy to enact this vision.

Members of the public can apply for an open seat through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. If you have additional questions about the appointment process, please contact Casey Carmody at casey.carmody@state.mn.us.

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State projects $1.54 billion surplus for 2020-2021

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Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) today released its 2018 November Budget and Economic Forecast — which projects a $1.54 billion surplus for the state’s budget for fiscal years 2020-2021.

According to MMB:

Minnesota’s budget and economic outlook remains sound, despite slower growth through the budget horizon. A revenue forecast increase and lower base expenditure estimates add to an improved outlook for the current biennium leaving an estimated $1.544 billion balance available for the FY 2020-21 budget. Statutory allocations, partially resulting from the improvement to the current biennium, add $491 million to the budget reserve which now totals $2.075 billion. Slower economic growth is projected to continue into FY 2022-23, resulting in a slowdown in forecast revenue growth. This leaves forecast revenues exceeding base expenditure estimates by only $456 million for that biennium.

“If these projections hold out until the next budget forecast in February, it is good news for the state’s education priorities — the formula, special education and school safety,” MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind said.

Visit https://mn.gov/mmb/forecast/forecast to access the Complete Budget and Economic Forecast Document and other related materials.

Source: Minnesota Management and Budget

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MSBA Delegate Assembly addresses special education funding, school safety issues

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MSBA President-Elect Deborah Pauly (Jordan School Board) and MSBA President Kathryn Green (Austin School Board) presided over the 2018 MSBA Delegate Assembly held Saturday, December 1, in Minneapolis.

The 2018 MSBA Delegate Assembly approved 17 legislative resolutions Saturday, December 1, in Minneapolis.

The Delegate Assembly — comprised of public school board members from across the state — debated and voted on resolutions to help set MSBA’s legislative priorities for the 2019 legislative session and beyond.

Among the noteworthy resolutions, the Delegate Assembly urged the Minnesota Legislature to address special education funding and school safety issues. See how the Delegate Assembly voted on each resolution below.

Also, scroll down for a photo slideshow from the Delegate Assembly.


Resolution No. 1 — Full Funding of 2018 School Safety Grants

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to fully fund the 2018 Minnesota Department of Education School Safety Grants for all the qualifying applications, maintaining all criteria.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 59-48

Resolution No. 2 — Adopt One Predictable and Equitable Special Education Formula

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to adopt one predictable and equitable special education funding formula which eliminates the cap and returns transportation to a fully funded dedicated revenue source.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 109-0

Resolution No. 3 — Funding to Cover Cost of Transportation of Open Enrolled Students When Required on IEP

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to authorize funding to cover the currently unfunded school district cost of transporting open enrolled students with disabilities for whom transportation is a required IEP service.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 104-6

Resolution No. 4 — Pay for All Educational Costs When Students Become Wards of the State

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to directly pay all educational costs for students who become wards of the state.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 110-2

Resolution No. 5 — Level IV Special Education Staff Development Funding

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to re-authorize and fund Level IV Special Education Professional Development Grants.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 109-4

Resolution No. 6 — Level IV Mental Health Innovation Funding

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to fund the Innovative Mental Health Grants established previously by the Legislature.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 103-5

Resolution No. 7 — Special Education Transportation for Pregnant And Parenting Teens

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to allow pregnant and parenting teen students to be transported using special education vans and buses, without reduction of school district revenue.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 84-16

Resolution No. 8 — Provide Free School Meals

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to provide free meals for all students.
  • How They Voted — FAILED 83-27

Resolution No. 9 — Expand the Use of Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Levy

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to allow the use of the Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Levy to include security improvements and emergency communications systems and devices.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 111-1

Resolution No. 10 — Allow Education District Programs to Access the Safe Schools Levy

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to amend the Safe Schools Levy Statute by adding education district program costs as authorized expenditures.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 101-8

Resolution No. 11 — Ballot Question to Increase Sales Tax for Special Education

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to allow the voters of Minnesota to approve a constitutional amendment for a dedicated sales tax to support special education funding without any changes to the current funding formula.
  • How They Voted — FAILED 104-6

Resolution No. 12 — Grant School Boards Levy Authority Up to Cap

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to grant school boards operating levy authority to the legislative cap on voter-approved operating levy.
  • How They Voted — FAILED 77-34

Resolution No. 13 — Definition of Sexual Harassment

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to critically examine the definition of “sexual harassment” as defined in the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
  • How They Voted — FAILED 90-17

Resolution No. 14 — Unrequested Leave of Absence

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to clarify the language of M.S. 122a.40, Subd. 10 and M.S. 122a.41, Subd. 14a by adding the following language: “The parties may not ratify a teacher contract effective July 1, 2019 or thereafter, which does not contain a required negotiated plan for issuing an unrequested leave of absence. If a school district needs to place a teacher on unrequested leave of absence after July 1, 2019, and prior to the ratification of a contract effective July 1, 2019, or thereafter, school district policy will be used to determine which teacher will be placed on unrequested leave of absence.”
  • How They Voted — PASSED 96-12

Resolution No. 15 — Student to Counselor/Social Worker Ratio

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to support student and staff ratios of under 300-to-1 for number of students to counselors and social workers per school site, provided the state funds additional positions needed.
  • How They Voted — FAILED 87-24

Resolution No. 16 — School Start and End Time

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to oppose any state mandated start and end times for the school day.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 101-7

Resolution No. 17 — School Board Vacancy

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to allow local school districts to fill school board member vacancies by appointment of an eligible individual until the school district’s next election cycle.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 106-4

Resolution No. 18 — Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Systems

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to modify M.S. 123B.02, Subd. 21 to include “renewable energy” and “energy storage systems.”
  • How They Voted — PASSED 102-4

Resolution No. 19 — Allowable Pay for School Board Members

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to amend M.S. 123B.195 to increase the maximum amount earned by a school board member from $8,000 to $10,977; however, school board members’ pay for driving school buses is exempt.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 81-22

Resolution No. 20 — Minnesota Attorney General to File a Special Education Lawsuit

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to pass a resolution, as provided for in House Rule 4.02, asking the Minnesota attorney general to file a lawsuit on behalf of Minnesota school districts that requires the federal government to fulfill its pledge to fund 40 percent of federally mandated special education costs.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 93-16

Resolution No. 21 — Allow School Districts and Emergency Responders to Develop Emergency Drills

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to allow local school boards and school leaders to work with emergency responders to develop emergency drills that do not force evacuation.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 100-7

Resolution No. 22 — Align Minnesota Special Education Statutes and Rules with Federal Law

  • Resolution Statement — Be it resolved, that MSBA urges the Legislature to align Minnesota special education rules and statutes with federal law in the areas of conciliation conferences, state and district assessment reporting, IEP goals and objectives, transition services, functional behavioral assessments, and prior written notice.
  • How They Voted — PASSED 94-13

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Gov. Dayton orders flags at half-staff for President George H. W. Bush

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In honor and remembrance of President George H. W. Bush, and in accordance with an order issued by President Donald Trump, Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered all United States flags and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the state of Minnesota, beginning immediately, for a period of 30 days from the day of his death.

The 41st President of the United States of America, George H.W. Bush, dedicated four decades of his life to public service. In addition to serving as President of the United States, he also served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States with President Ronald Reagan, as a Congressman in the United States House of Representatives, as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Envoy to China, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

President George H. W. Bush passed away at the age of 94 in Houston, Texas, on Friday, November 30, 2018. He had been diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease, leaving him unable to walk, and intermittently battling health issues following the death of his wife, Barbara Bush, in May 2018.

A decorated navy pilot, President George H. W. Bush enlisted in the United States Navy on his 18th birthday, following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At the time, he was the youngest aviator in the United States Navy. Bush served in the Navy until September 1945, then attended Yale University, and entered the oil business following graduation. He became involved in politics years later, serving the 7th District of Texas in the House of Representatives in 1966.

President George H.W. Bush is survived by his six children, including former United States President George W. Bush, and grandchildren. President Trump has designated Wednesday, December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning.

Source: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton

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Gov. Dayton orders flags at half-staff in honor of California attack victims

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In accordance with a proclamation issued today by President Donald Trump, Gov. Mark Dayton has directed all United States and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the state of Minnesota.

As directed by the president’s proclamation, flags will be flown at half-staff beginning immediately, until sunset on Saturday, November 10, 2018, as a mark of respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence in Thousand Oaks, California.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, a horrific act of violence was committed against innocent people at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. The victims and their families deserve our honor, respect, and remembrance.

Source: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton

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Minnesota districts fare well with referendum results

Every little saving will aid further education

MSBA’s bond and capital project levy referendums results show 19 of 25 school districts passed at least one question for a 79 percent approval percentage. For the calendar year, 31 out of 45 districts passed at least one question for a 69 percent passage rate.

Access MSBA’s list of bond and capital project levy referendum results.

The results from school districts with operating levy questions show 24 of 35 passed at least one operating levy question for a 68.5 percent passage rate.

Access MSBA’s list of operating levy question results.

If your school district has corrections on the data, send your information to MSBA’s Greg Abbott at gabbott@mnmsba.org.

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