By Kirk Schneidawind, MSBA Executive Director
As the path for the 2015 special legislative session begins to become more solidified, we believe it is important to reinforce our priorities on some of the key provisions related to the final E-12 education bill.
MSBA and the other education organizations will be sharing the following four messages with legislative leadership to ensure the best outcome for all Minnesota students.
Please join us in reinforcing these messages with legislative leadership in the next few days.
- First, the Conference Committee Report of HF 844 provides an excellent framework upon which to build a successful E-12 bill that helps all of our public school students and school districts. The funding and policy provisions have received the necessary scrutiny by school advocacy organizations and House and Senate committees.
- In order to improve student achievement goals for the World’s Best Workforce and strategic planning, school districts should urge the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to make investment in the general education formula the top priority. Investments in the basic formula provide stability, predictability and equity for all of our public school districts. Investments on the basic formula allow our districts the flexibility in meeting the needs of all of our students.
- School districts understand the importance of early learning opportunities. The Senate E-12 bill (SF 811) provides a solid policy foundation for enhancing early learning opportunities. Investments made in school-based School Readiness programs provide a great structure for improving, enhancing, and growing learning opportunities for our youngest learners. The Legislature should direct investments for our early learners in proven and effective School Readiness programs in an effort to prepare our youngest learners for kindergarten. Allowing districts to phase this in will permit districts and the state to address a number of implementation issues, including, but not limited to the following: availability of licensed teachers, facilities, partnerships with community providers, transportation safety, and local coordination of services ages 0-4.
- Last, we would urge the Legislature and Gov. Dayton to resolve their differences within the E-12 bill as soon as possible. Districts are in the process of establishing their 2015-16 school district budgets (June 30) as required by state law, finalizing their school calendars and determining employment needs for the next school year.