Gov. Walz orders flags at half-staff in honor of Kort M. Plantenberg

US-Minnesota-Flags-HalfStaff

In honor and remembrance of Warrant Officer Candidate Kort Miller Plantenberg, Governor Tim Walz has ordered all United States and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings from sunrise until sunset on Thursday, December 12, 2019.

Warrant Officer Candidate Kort M. Plantenberg died tragically in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash on December 5, 2019. He will be remembered in a funeral mass at Saint John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minnesota, on December 12, 2019.

View a copy of Gov. Walz’s proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff.

Chief Warrant Officer Two Charles Nord and Chief Warrant Officer Two James Rogers will also be honored on the day of their interment.

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Federal Advocacy & Weekly Policy Update

 

December 6, 2019

Congressional Update

 Congress Continuing FY20 Appropriations Negotiations

With only 14 days remaining before stopgap funding for the Department of Education and other federal agencies expires, Congress appears to be no closer to resolving a standoff over additional funding requested by the White House for the southern border wall, despite some progress on agreeing to overall spending levels. Senate and House leaders are continuing to discuss an agreement for completing the annual federal spending process, which should have concluded by the end of September. If Congress does not reach an agreement before December 20, a third stopgap spending bill will be needed to continue government operations. With the holidays on the horizon, we anticipate that another temporary funding bill would most likely have to stay in place until February or March of 2020. MSBA and NSBA are continuing to urge Congress to complete the Department of Education’s budget, including adopting spending levels – especially for ESSA Title I and IDEA Part B– close to the levels passed by the House earlier this year which includes an increase in funding for public education.

 Administration Update

 FCC Publishes New E-rate Category Two Regulations

Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission published new regulations governing category two of the E-rate program.The E-Rate helps school and libraries pay for broadband access, through category one and category two services. Category one services provide connectivity to schools and libraries, while category two services provide connectivity within them. The new rules make several valuable improvements for school districts that use the program to support their broadband networks, including:

  • Permitting school districts to allocate their category two funding among their schools;
  • Increasing the category two funding floor for small, rural schools from $9,200 to $25,000 starting in 2021;
  • Making managed internal broadband services, caching and basic maintenance of internal connections permanently eligible for category two support;
  • Making the category two budget structure, first adopted by the FCC in 2014, permanent.

MSBA and NSBA asked the FCC to raise the per pupil funding amount provided by the program from $150 to $250, but the agency rejected the idea.  However we are pleased, by the other category two improvements adopted by the agency and looks forward to helping school district applicants take full advantage of them.

Notable K-12 Bills

  • H.R.5286To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a grant program that will support efforts at the State level to establish anti-bullying task forces to study, address, and reduce bullying in elementary and secondary schools, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Rep. Krishnamoorthi, Raja [D-IL-8]
  • H.R.5283To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve direct certification, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Rep. Fudge, Marcia L. [D-OH-11]
  • H.R.5253To provide entrepreneurship as a well-rounded educational opportunity, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Rep. Meng, Grace [D-NY-6]
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Gov. Walz orders flags at half-staff in honor of three Minnesota National Guardsmen

US-Minnesota-Flags-HalfStaff

In honor and remembrance of the three Minnesota National Guard soldiers who were tragically killed in a helicopter crash near Kimball, Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz has ordered all United States and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in Minnesota, beginning today, Friday, December 6, at 2:05 p.m. until Monday, December 9, at 2:05 p.m.

View a copy of Gov. Walz’s proclamation.

The Minnesota National Guard lost contact with the UH-60 Black Hawk around 2:05 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2019, after the helicopter took off from St. Cloud, Minnesota, on a maintenance test flight. The names of the crew members have not been released, pending family notification.

“On Thursday, December 5, 2019, three Minnesota National Guard soldiers were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Central Minnesota,” reads the proclamation from Gov. Walz. “These fine soldiers served with distinction and put others before themselves. The people of Minnesota honor these soldiers for their dedicated service, pray for their loved ones, and recognize their ultimate sacrifice to our state and country.”

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State budget forecast estimates $1.3 billion surplus

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Minnesota’s budget and economic outlook has improved since the end of the 2019 legislative special session, according to the Minnesota Management and Budget’s 2019 November Budget and Economic Forecast released on Thursday, December 5.

A better than expected close to the last biennium, an improved revenue forecast, and a small decrease to estimated spending create a forecast surplus of $1.332 billion in the fiscal year 2020-21 biennium.

The stable budget outlook allows for an automatic allocation to the budget reserve account, bringing the reserve balance to its statutory target level of $2.359 billion.

While Minnesota’s economy and revenues continue to grow into the fiscal year 2022-23 planning estimates, budget challenges remain for that biennium.

Visit the Minnesota Management and Budget website for more information.

 

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School Finance Working Group Meeting Update

On Thursday, November 21, the School Finance Working Group met at the Minnesota Department of Education. The St. Paul Public Schools special education team provided an overview of how special education in general is funded in Minnesota with a case study of how special education funding works in St. Paul Public Schools. They discussed the complexities of the formula by presenting St. Paul’s actual data, an overview of teacher pay and the cost of training needed beyond professional development, and some of the challenges with tuition billing and access fees. They also provided a brief history of the 2012 Finance Working Group’s results and how those results were implemented. The presentation included a deck and a hand out that will be provided to all members.

There was a discussion on how future meetings would be structured, including adding extra time on both the front and back end of the scheduled meetings. The December meeting is slated to be dedicated to the English Learner (EL) and a case study on the EL cross-subsidy. January and February are tentatively slated for a discussion on the basic education formula.

 

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Federal Advocacy & Weekly Policy Update

The big news of the week is that Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution to keep the government open until December 20 and the President has signed it. Negotiations for a permanent deal will continue after the recess.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no weekly update next week.

Congressional Update

House and Senate Leaders Pass Temporary Funding Deal

This week, the House (231-192) and Senate (74-20) passed HR 3055 to avoid a government shutdown and extend funding at current levels until December 20.  President Trump signed the measure last night. Though the funding has been temporarily extended until December 20, there is no guarantee that congressional leaders will be able to overcome the policy and political hurdles that have impeded the process all year, which could mean that federal programs will continue operating at FY19 levels well into 2020.

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Holds Hearing Regarding FCC

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee is expected to hold a hearing with the full Federal Communications Commission including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on December 5.  This will be the second time the Chairman has provided testimony to this committee.  We expect the hearing to include discussions on the recently released report from the Government Accountability Office which made recommendations on how the FCC can better police fraud in its broadband subsidies program.

Notable K-12 Bills

  • H.R.5206To amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to establish a fund to provide support services for individuals participating in certain training activities under such Act. Sponsor:Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9]
  • H.R.5204To direct the Secretary of Education to study student mental health at institutions of higher education and to issue guidance on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act for mental health and substance use disorder policies of institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Rep. Porter, Katie [D-CA-45]
  • H.R.5171To permanently authorize the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. Sponsor:Rep. Dean, Madeleine [D-PA-4]
  • H.R.5148To improve program integrity through State evaluation of institutions of higher education, requirements for student complaint submissions, and the establishment of policies and procedures to address closure of institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Rep. Levin, Mike [D-CA-49]
  • S.2899A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to support apprenticeship programs.Sponsor:Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]
  • S.2887A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to address and take action to combat rural teacher shortages across the United States. Sponsor:Sen. Jones, Doug [D-AL]
  • S.2857A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to count military and veterans’ education benefits as Federal educational assistance, and for other purposes. Sponsor:Sen. Carper, Thomas R. [D-DE]

 

 

 

 

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Teacher mentorship and retention grant applications due by December 18

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Source: Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)

During the 2019 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature designated PELSB as the administrator of a grant to support efforts for teacher mentorship and retention of effective teachers.

The Teacher Mentorship and Retention of Effective Teachers Grant is designed to help develop teacher mentoring programs for teachers new to the profession or district, including teaching residents, teachers of color, teachers who are American Indian, teachers in license shortage areas, teachers with special needs, or experienced teachers in need of peer coaching.

The grant application is open to:

  • School districts;
  • Groups of school districts;
  • Coalitions of districts, teachers, and teacher education institutions; or
  • Coalitions of schools, teachers, or nonlicensed educators.

Access the grant applications on the PELSB website.

The timeline to apply for a Teacher Mentorship and Retention Grant for the 2020 fiscal year is:

  • November 22: PELSB will hold an informational meeting about the Teacher Mentorship and Retention Grant to provide updates and answer questions about the application and grant selection process. The meeting will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the PELSB Board Room, 1021 Bandana Blvd. E., Suite 222, St. Paul, MN 55108.
  • November 29: Prospective grant applicants must submit an Intent to Apply to PELSB Grant Manager Saba Teshome by email at saba.teshome@state.mn.us.
  • December 18: Teacher Mentorship and Retention Grant applications are due by 4:30 p.m.

PELSB is encouraging all interested districts, groups, and coalitions to consider applying for the Teacher Mentorship and Retention Grant. Additionally, PELSB encourages members of the public to share this call for grant applications with any interested individuals.

Contact Saba Teshome by email at saba.teshome@state.mn.us with any questions.

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