Federal Department of Education Announces New Grant Applications

The United States Department of Education invited applications for two competitive grants offered the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and one grant offered by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services:

  • School Climate Transformation Grant Program – School districts may seek funding for implementing a multi-tiered system of support for improving school climate. The Department will prioritize support for certain communities that will benefit from implementation of this system, including rural communities, Tribal communities, and LEAs that are in Qualified Opportunity Zones. This discretionary grant program has a total of $40,000,000 in estimated available funds, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by July 22, 2019 and further information is available here.
  • State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP), Tribal Education Agency Development Discretionary Grant Program (STEP Development)”– The STEP program seeks to: “(1) Promote Tribal self-determination in education; (2) Improve the academic achievement of Indian children and youth; and (3) Promote the coordination and collaboration of Tribal educational agencies (TEAs) with State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) to meet the unique education and culturally related academic needs of Indian students.” Applications are due by August 12, 2019 and further information is available here.
  • Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities, Doctoral Training Consortia Associated with High-Intensity Needs”– The program seeks to: “(1) help address State-identified needs for personnel preparation in special education, early intervention, related services, and regular education to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities; and (2) ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful in serving those children.” The estimated available funds for this program total $3,900,000. Applications are due July 29, 2019 and further information is available here.


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Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update

Congressional Update

House Begins Debating U.S. Department of Education’s FY20 Budget

The House began debate, this week, on an omnibus spending bill (H.R.2740). The bill would increase the Department of Education’s fiscal year 2020 budget, including by providing new funding for ESSA, Title I and IDEA Part B. Unlike the House, the Senate’s appropriations work has been stalled over the absence of an agreement about the overall level of spending that should be established for fiscal year 2020. Congress and the White House have been unable to decide whether the spending caps established in 2011 should be raised for the next fiscal year. The House choose to move ahead using the spending levels established for the last fiscal year, but Senate leaders paused their work until a decision could be made about the caps.

House Education and Labor Announces Higher Education Innovation Hearing

The House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearingon Wednesday, June 19 focused on innovation in higher education. MSBA is closely following the HEA debate, given the law’s provisions focused on educator recruitment, preparation and retention.  NSBA is working closely with other national K-12 groups to ask Congress to strengthen the HEA’s educator-focused provisions to help address teacher and leader shortages, especially in high need fields like special education.

Notable K-12 Bills

  • R.3220To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to allow certain institutions to use geographic preference for procurement of certain foods, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1]
  • R.3205To amend title 14, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, in coordination with the Secretary of Education, to establish programs for the purpose of improving the mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills of elementary and secondary school students and faculty members, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH-9]
  • R.3192To add suicide prevention resources to school identification cards.Sponsor:Rep. Correa, J. Luis [D-CA-46]
  • R.3180To improve the identification and support of children and families who experience trauma.Sponsor:Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7]
  • 1782A bill to add suicide prevention resources to school identification cards.Sponsor:Sen. Kennedy, John [R-LA]
  • 1770A bill to improve the identification and support of children and families who experience trauma.Sponsor:Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]


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State looks to partner with school districts on social emotional learning-based curriculum


The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget are looking to partner with school districts or collaboratives of schools to offer a social emotional learning-based curriculum for middle schoolers to promote positive mental health and prevent substance use.

Programming would start in fall 2020. The state will cover the costs to implement the curriculum for four years (from school year 2020-21 to 2023-24), including staff training and reimbursement of teacher or substitute training time, curriculum materials, and technical assistance.

Learn more and apply at https://mn.gov/mmb/behavioral-wellness.

Only a limited number of schools can be supported, so districts are encouraged to apply as early as July 15, 2019. As soon as districts apply, state staff will schedule a site visit. The application is expected to officially remain open until November 15, but the state may close the application process earlier depending on the number of applicants.

The curriculum, called Life Skills Training (LST), is offered to middle school students over three consecutive years (sixth-eighth grade or seventh-ninth grade). The curriculum works by helping to develop students’ social and self-management skills. The curriculum is flexible and can be taught in a range of different existing courses, including health, physical education, home room, foundational courses, etc.

LST is also aligned with CASEL’s five social emotional learning competencies (SEL) and may be beneficial for schools looking to implement evidence-based SEL models.

Direct questions to Lindsey Thompson at Lindsey.Thompson@state.mn.us.

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MPCA hosting meetings to discuss Volkswagen settlement funds


The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is hosting a series of information meetings around the state to discuss the Volkswagen settlement in Minnesota and to seek input on how the state should invest in the next round of funds.

In 2016, Volkswagen and the federal government settled allegations that VW violated the federal Clean Air Act. As part of the settlement, states are eligible to receive funds to pay part of the cost of projects to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles and to install electric-vehicle charging stations. Minnesota’s share of the settlement is $47 million. In 2018, the MPCA finalized Minnesota’s plan for using the first phase (2018-2019) of funds to improve the state’s air quality.

States are receiving funds to reduce diesel pollution caused by vehicles violating air emission standards. Funds can be spent to replace diesel vehicles and equipment and install electric vehicle charging stations.

Revisit how the settlement could provide grants for school buses from an MSBA Advocate update from March 2018.

The Volkswagen settlement meetings are schedule for:

  • Tuesday, June 4 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Marshall Lyon County Library, 201 C Street, Marshall
  • Wednesday, June 5 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ) — Wood Lake Meeting Center, 210 Wood Lake Drive SE, Rochester
  • Wednesday, June 12 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Bemidji State University, Bridgeman Hall 100, 1512 Birchmont Drive NE, Bemidji
  • Thursday, June 13 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — MPCA Duluth Office, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth
  • Monday, June 17 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, June 25 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Dakota County Burnhaven Library, 1101 West County Road 42, Burnsville

Direct questions to the MPCA at info.pca@state.mn.us or 800-657-3864.

See www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/VW-SettlementMeetings-June2019.pdf or www.pca.state.mn.us/vw for more information.

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PELSB waives posting requirement for internal hires seeking out-of-field-permission


The Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) recently waived the posting requirement for internal hires seeking out-of-field-permission until the board revises Minnesota Rules part 8710.0320.

Visit www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/PELSB-Resolution-June2019.pdf to view PELSB’s complete resolution.

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Gov. Walz orders flags at half-staff through June 4 for Virginia Beach shooting victims


In accordance with a proclamation issued by President Donald Trump, Gov. Tim Walz has directed all flags at state buildings in Minnesota from now to sunset on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, be flown at half-staff as a sign of respect for the victims of the shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Friday, May 31.

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Submit workshop proposals for NSBA Conference by June 5


The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is accepting workshop proposal submissions from member school districts for its 2020 Annual Conference.

The NSBA Conference is scheduled for April 4-6, 2020, at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Visit https://ww5.aievolution.com/nsb2001 to submit a workshop proposal. The submission deadline is Wednesday, June 5.

The proposal review period will run from June 20 to July 12.

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