Federal Advocacy and Weekly Policy Update

Congressional Update

NSBA Seeks Targeted Liability Coverage for the Pandemic

On July 8, NSBA, along with the school superintendents association (AASA) and Association for Educational Service Agencies (AESA), sent a letter to Congressional leaders requesting that they include temporary and targeted liability relief for school districts within the next round of COVID-19 aid legislation. Congressional lawmakers have been considering whether to include liability protections for employers and postsecondary institutions. As the issue of reopening schools takes further prominence in these debates, similar liability protections will be crucial for public school districts-one of the nation’s largest employers-to ensure state, school, and district leaders can reopen safely later this year and implement necessary protocols to protect students and staff.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Advances FY21 Education Spending Bill

On July 7, the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing education funding passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Labor-HHS-ED legislation. The bill was passed along party lines (9-6) and no amendments were offered during the markup. The legislation proposes an additional $716 million above FY 2020 enacted levels for the U.S. Department of Education and related programs (approximately a 1% annual increase). Subcommittee Chair DeLauro (D-CT) highlighted proposed funding increases for several education programs in her remarks at the markup. Despite opposing the bill, Ranking Member Cole (R-OK) expressed the need for an additional COVID-19 relief package to address the emergency funding needs more fully of the K-12 community. Full committee markup of the bill is now scheduled for Monday, July 13 at 1:00pm ET where additional amendments are expected to be considered. The committee report on this legislation-detailing specific spending levels for education programs of interest to NSBA- is expected to be released sometime over the weekend ahead of Monday’s markup. NSBA’s advocacy team is working to obtain and share a copy of this report ahead of further committee action on July 13. House Democratic leaders are currently aiming to hold floor votes on most FY 2021 spending bills by the end of July.

Pandemic Relief Package Discussions Continue

Although the Senate is recessed for another week, discussions in Congress regarding the shape and size of the next COVID-19 relief package have continued. Congressional leaders in both parties, along with the White House, remain publicly committed to passing a fifth aid package in response to the pandemic by the end of the month- just before the start of the annual August recess in Congress. However, disagreements over the total size of the aid package have emerged. The White House, along with some Congressional Republicans, hope to cap the package at $1 trillion while Congressional Democrats strongly favor significantly more funding in the future legislation. NSBA’s advocacy team is working to ensure lawmakers appreciate the emergency funding needs for the K-12 education community, particularly as the new school year approaches.

Biden-Sanders Unity Taskforce Recommendations

In May, shortly after Former Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, both the Bernie Sanders and Biden campaigns announced several “Unity Taskforces” to provide policy recommendations regarding a host of issues including education. The taskforce report summarizing this work was released on July 8. The wide-ranging report proposes fully funding IDEA, expanding broadband access, tripling the Title I funding under ESEA, and calls for significantly more federal aid in response to the COVID-19 pandemic among many other education-related policy recommendations.

Administration Update

White House Summit on Safely Reopening America’s Schools

The White House convened a number of education stakeholders from the state and local levels, along with senior members of the Trump Administration, to discuss the reopening of K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions for the 2020-21 academic school year set to begin this fall. The afternoon culminated in a roundtable discussion later in the day with President Trump. The central purpose for the half-day summit was to encourage states, school districts, and institutions to reopen later this year, share best practices for how to achieve that, and elevate efforts to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic once reopened. President Trump’s remarks kicking-off the roundtable discussion were brief and focused on what his administration has done to date regarding emergency education relief funding, related waivers, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. He strongly emphasized that he plans to, “. . . put pressure on states and governors to open schools this fall.”

Head of USED’S Civil Rights Division to Depart

Kenneth Marcus, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, has announced he is stepping down from his position overseeing the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the end of July. During his two-year tenure at OCR, Marcus helped develop new regulations for the Administration’s Title IX rule and greatly increased the speed at which his office processed civil rights complaints. Kimberly Richey, currently the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights, will become acting head of OCR following Marcus’ departure.

GAO Report at Odds with USED Decision to Scrap School Discipline Guidance

In late 2018 Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded school discipline guidance, promulgated originally by USED under the Obama Administration, arguing that it robbed K-12 teachers of classroom autonomy regarding disciplinary decisions and could potentially lead to additional school shootings. Following this decision House Democratic leaders requested a study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study these claims. The new study from GAO from GAO found no empirical evidence linking school discipline and school shootings among several other key findings.

U.S. Department of Education Discretionary Grant Updates

USED published notice on a discretionary grant program for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: “Technical Assistance on State Data Collection – IDEA Data Management Center”. This grant program seeks to assist states in meeting IDEA data collection and reporting requirements. The purpose of the priority for this grant would establish a technical assistance center to help states improve capacity to collect, report, analyze, and use high-quality IDEA Part B data. The estimated available funds total $2,700,000, and are contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of new applications. Applications are due by August 24, 2020, and further information is available here.

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Federal Advocacy and Weekly Policy Update

Congressional Update

Congress Signals Additional COVID-19 Emergency Legislation in July
Following a relatively quiet June on Capitol Hill, Congress is expected to be extremely busy in July as they race to complete important work – including passing another COVID-19 emergency response bill – before the lengthy August recess. Senate and House leaders have signaled plans to negotiate a fifth major emergency bill designed to help the country navigate the pandemic, including by providing additional funding to help school districts respond to the pandemic and prepare for the next school year. MSBA is working hard with NSBA and other partners to educate Congress about the emergency costs school districts face in serving students during the pandemic and about the unique expenses associated with reopening schools consistent with federal and state health requirements. Congress is not scheduled to return from the August recess until September 7, so we are also working to convey a clear sense of urgency about the need for legislators to provide additional emergency funding to school districts before the recess begins in early August.

Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray and Minority Leader Schumer Introduce New COVID-19 Education Stimulus Bill
Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and 16 Senate Democratic colleagues, introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), which is seen as Senate Democrats’ opening bid in additional COVID-19 stimulus for education with Senate Republicans. The bill would build upon the CARES Act passed in the spring, providing an additional $175 billion in funds for K-12 school districts through the Education Stabilization Fund. The bill also proposes to invest $12 billion in special education programs funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA,) $4 billion in emergency funding for the E-Rate Program to close the “homework gap,” and $4 billion for career and technical education programs. Notably, the legislation contains language that mandates “for a state to receive any of the funding for elementary, secondary, or early childhood in the bill, the State must assure the Secretary that full rights are provided to children with disabilities and their families under IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.” NSBA continues to push for narrowly tailored and temporary flexibility concerning IDEA during the pandemic in addition to increased IDEA funding. The Senate Democrats’ proposal would provide higher overall education funding than the House-passed HEROES Act, but it is seen as only the opening gambit in what is likely to be a difficult negotiation with Senate Republicans. More information on the legislation is available here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Released Updated Guidance for K-12 Schools
Earlier this week, following testimony by Dr. Robert Redfield, MD, Director, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the Senate HELP Committee’s hearing regarding the effects of COVID-19, the CDC released updated guidance. The guidance provides updated information regarding testing for K-12 school openings this fall –“Interim Considerations for K-12 School Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing”.

Administration Update

Department of Education Publishes Equitable Services Rule
The Department of Education published its interim Final Rule regarding the “CARES Act Programs; Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Non-Public Schools.” The regulation provides school districts with the option to use CARES Act emergency funding only for Title I eligible students in which case districts would only be obligated to set aside a portion of the funding for eligible Title I students that attend private schools. This is the normal method for equitable distribution of funds under Title I. Alternatively, the rule states that districts may use the emergency funding for all students in which case they must provide equitable services to all private school students in their area. The new rule took effect immediately upon the rule’s publication in the Federal Register on July 1, 2020 and is open for comment until July 31, 2020. NSBA plans to file comments opposing the new rule, but we do not expect the Department to change course unless they are forced by Congress or the courts to do so.

Department of Education Announces Rural Technology Initiative
The Department of Education announced a challenge to “advance high-quality technology instruction in rural communities”. The agency’s Rural Tech Project “invites high schools and local educational agencies to develop competency-based distance learning programs that enable students to master skills at their own pace with the goal of preparing them for the well-paying, in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.” The Department expects to award up to 5 finalists with an equal share of $500,000 with one grand prize winner receiving an additional $100,000. Proposals must be submitted by October 8, 2020. The Department is hosting an information session on July 21 at 3pm ET for those interested in learning more.

Department of Education Approves Final Group of State Perkins CT Plans
The Department of Education announced that the agency has now approved all Perkins V state plans. The final states to be approved by the Department include: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia

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Federal Advocacy and Weekly Policy Update

Congressional Update

House Appropriations Committee Announces Mark-Up Schedule
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Lowey (D-NY) announced this week that the committee will mark-up the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills during the week of July 6. The U.S. House will vote on the bills, including the U.S. Department of Education’s budget, during the last two weeks in July. The committee may also be leading work in July on the next COVID-19 emergency spending bill, which could include additional emergency funding for K-12 education. MSBA’s Government Relations team will work with NSBA’s advocacy team to ensure that Congress understands the additional costs that school districts face in reopening this fall, so that education is properly represented in both the regular annual appropriations bills and any additional emergency funding provided by federal leaders.

House Education and Labor Committee Holds COVID-19 Racial Inequities Hearing
The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing earlier this week titled “Inequities Exposed: How COVID-19 Widened Racial Inequities in Education, Health, and the Workforce.” Chairman Scott (D-VA) opened the hearing saying that Congress must take steps to address racial disparities in education focusing on K-12 school funding, noting that students of color have been more affected by chronic underfunding and school closures due to COVID-19. He highlighted that the HEROES Act would take steps to solve some of these issues, including assistance to both K-12 schools and higher education institutions as well as funding for the OSHA emergency protection standard to keep those most at risk safe from COVID-19 in the workplace. Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) focused on the devastating job losses caused by the pandemic. She highlighted that the U.S. economy was strong prior to COVID-19 and that reopening the economy responsibly is a priority. Witnesses included:
• Camara P. Jones, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Senior Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine, Past President, American Public Health Association, Atlanta, GA• Valerie Rawlston Wilson, Ph.D., Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute, Silver Spring, MD
• Avik Roy, Co-Founder and President, The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, Austin, TX
• John B. King, Jr., President and CEO, The Education Trust, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Roy highlighted how school closures disproportionately affected low income and students of color because wealthy families are better equipped to support their children’s learning. He said it is possible to safely reopen school and that other countries can provide models for the U.S. when considering how to best reopen. Mr. King urged Congress to act boldly to support K-12 education (allocating at least $500 billion for state and local government, including strong Maintenance of Effort provisions and a Maintenance of Equity provision to ensure the most vulnerable students receive the most support). He prioritized the need for broadband, extended learning time, and resources to address both nutritional and social-emotional needs. He encouraged the Administration to refrain from approving key civil rights waivers and to promote diverse schools. He asked Congress to consider equitable reforms including extending the federal student loan rates through next year (the relief enacted through the CARES Act), doubling the Pell Grant, and simplifying the FAFSA process. He also urged an expansion of Pell grant access to incarcerated and undocumented students. He encouraged support from Congress in education prep programs that focus on and support diversity, noting that Education Trust is ready to assist.An archived video of the virtual hearing and the witnesses’ full written testimony is available here.

Senate HELP Committee Plans COVID-19 Hearing
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee plans to hold a hearing on Tuesday, June 30 titled “COVID-19: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.”

The hearing will be live-streamed here.

Administration Update

Department of Education Announces Controversial Equitable Services Regulations
The Department of Education released an interim final rule regarding use of CARES Act K-12 emergency relief funds to provide services to private school students under the law’s equitable services provision. The rule will take immediate effect when published in the Federal Register next week and the Department invited the public to file comment and said the “CARES Act is a special pandemic related appropriation and is meant to benefit all American students and families.” The rule provides districts with two options for implementing the CARES Act’s equitable services requirement. If a district chooses to use CARES Act emergency funding only for Title I eligible students, then it may elect to only set aside funding for equitable services for Title I eligible students that attend private schools. If a district wishes to use CARES Act funding for all students, then the district must set aside funding to provide equitable services to all students that attend private schools in their region. NSBA and MSBA strongly oppose the Secretary’s interpretation of this CARES Act provision and have urged Congress to stop the Department from implementing this requirement.

Department of Education Announces Discretionary Grants
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education invited applications for the “Out-of-School Time Career Pathway Program”. The program makes grants to SEAs, working in partnership with eligible entities, to provide students with more options for participating in career pathways that lead to a recognized postsecondary credential – these programs occur outside of regular schools hours or as part of an expanded learning program. The estimated available funds total $1,500,000 each year for five years. Applications are due by September 21, 2020, and further information is available here.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services invited applications for the “Educational Technology, Media, and
Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program – Stepping-Up Technology Implementation.” The program seeks to “(1) improve results for children with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom for children with disabilities; (3) provide support for captioning and video description that is appropriate for use in the classroom; and (4) provide accessible educational materials to children with disabilities in a timely manner.” This discretionary grant competition will focus on 2 absolute priorities: (1) Providing Technology-Based Professional Development to Trainers of Special Education Teachers to Support Children with Disabilities, and (2) Improving Social Skill Development for Students with Disabilities Through the Use of Socially Assistive Robotics (SAR). The estimated available funds for this program total $2,500,000 contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by August 14, 2020, and further information is available here.

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Members of Congress ask U.S. education secretary to rescind rule on equity services guidance

The U.S. Department of Education just issued an Interim Final Rule regarding its equitable services guidance for CARES Act funding to school districts. Access the U.S. Department of Education’s press release for details.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (Massachusetts) and U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (Minnesota) sent a letter today to Secretary DeVos, urging her to rescind this equitable services rule. In addition to Rep. Stauber, three other Minnesota congressional members were among the signees – Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Collin C. Peterson and Rep. Dean Phillips.

“The U.S. Department of Education’s equitable services Interim Final Rule regarding the CARES Act would cause greater disparities among schools and communities, and it would harm students who need more support to succeed in school,” said Anna Maria Chávez, Executive Director & CEO of the National School Boards Association. “NSBA applauds the bipartisan leadership of Representatives Moulton and Stauber and their colleagues to reverse the course of this unprecedented, harmful guidance that would disenfranchise our public school students.”

NSBA and other groups took part in a conference call earlier today with the Department regarding this Interim Final Rule. A few discussions points from this call are as follows:

  • Secretary DeVos stated that the CARES Act funding is a special pandemic-related appropriation, and that nothing in the law states that funds are to be distributed like regular Title I appropriations.
  • Assistant Secretary Jim Blew stated that, “We are encouraging everyone to put in your comments about the [interim final] rule … favorable or unfavorable.”
  • Assistant Secretary Blew also stated that if there are formal grievances, “In each district, there should be an ombudsman to address concerns between an LEA and a private school.”
  • Will be an “Interim Final Rule” with a 30-day public comment period.
  • Secretary DeVos Lead — More than 100 private schools, including Catholic schools, have stated that they will never reopen.
  • Assistant Secretary Jim Blew Lead — The earlier guidance states one approach. However, for some school districts that “only want to serve their low-income students,” the interim final rule would allow schools to calculate the proportional share for this purpose Lead — to “only serve their low-income students” [rather than all students].

In addition to the work from NSBA, MSBA has submitted a letter of concern to the Secretary DeVos and urged Minnesota’s congressional delegation to oppose the U.S. Department of Education’s recommendations related to method of Title I distributions for private schools.

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Q&A documents released for implementation of IDEA Part B, Part C dispute resolution procedures

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Office of Special Education Programs recently issued questions-and-answers documents in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B and Part C dispute resolution procedures in the current COVID-19 environment.

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Federal Advocacy and Weekly Policy Update

Congressional Update

Supreme Court Upholds DACA, Next Steps are Unclear

The Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that the procedure used by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was “arbitrary and capricious.” Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four liberal members of the Court to rule that the process by which the Trump Administration moved to terminate the program was illegal. The decision allows the protections enacted by the previous administration to stay intact for the near term, protecting many K-12 students, college students, as well as faculty and staff for the immediate future. However, while the Court ruled that the process used by the Trump Administration to end the program was wrong, they did not rule on the legality of the program. As a result, the Trump Administration may pursue other options to terminate the program, though those options are likely to be much more time consuming.

Congressional Appropriations Process Inches Forward

The House Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the budget for the Department of Education, plans to mark up the budget on July 7 beginning at 5pm.  In the Senate, last week’s ambition about an accelerated timeline for considering their own bills has already hit a snag; a dispute between Senate Democrats and Republicans over whether Senate Democrats will have the ability to offer amendments to address some of their priorities around police reform and COVID-19. NSBA’s advocacy team is working to ensure the fiscal year 2021 budget includes significant funding for education priorities.

House Education Committee Holds Hearing to Examine the Pandemic’s Impact

This week, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing about the “Budget Cuts and Lost Learning: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Public Education.”  Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) highlighted the work of the House in passing the HEROES Act last month that would provide nearly $1 trillion to address budget shortfalls and avert cuts in education with $60 billion in direct K-12 funding.  He said that “this is a pivotal moment in our fight for equity in education”, and “we cannot put the safety of our students, teachers, and staff at risk.  We must provide the resources they need.”  Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said that since some schools have not yet spent the relief funding provided through the CARES Act, it would be premature to provide additional funding before Congress has had an opportunity to evaluate the use of funds already disbursed.  She went on to remind the committee that more spending does not guarantee better outcomes. 

Looking ahead, the House Education Committee has scheduled an additional hearing next week focused on widening racial inequities due to COVID-19 emergency, titled “Inequities Exposed: How COVID-19 Widened Racial Inequities in Education, Health, and the Workforce“.  Witnesses have not been announced. The livestream will occur on Monday, June 22 at noon ET and the livestream can be found here.

Administration Update

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Releases Analysis of Challenges

The Administration’s Pandemic Response Accountability Committee published a report titled “Top Challenges Facing Federal Agencies: COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Response Efforts.” The analysis was reported by the Offices of Inspector Generals (OIGs) from 37 agencies across the government.  The purpose of the report is to provide “insight into the top management challenges facing federal agencies that received pandemic-related funding.”  Common themes reflected across agencies included financial management of CARES Act and other funds, grant management, information technology security and management, and protecting health and safety while maintaining effective operations.  Additional challenges named by OIGs included the “large amount of funds appropriated under the CARES Act and related legislation, the need to distribute aid rapidly under emergency conditions, and the need to maintain agency operations as factors that impact these challenges.”

Department of Education Publishes Discretionary Grant Opportunity to Improve IDEA 

Parts B and C Data

The Department of Education published a discretionary grant program notice for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: “Technical Assistance on State Data Collection – National Technical Assistance Center to Improve State Capacity to College, Report, Analyze, and Use Accurate IDEA Part B and Part C Fiscal Data” –The Technical Assistance on State Data Collection seeks to improve the capacity of states to meet IDEA data collection and reporting requirements, authorized under IDEA. This priority will establish a Fiscal Data Center, which will provide states with technical assistance to help meet fiscal data collection and reporting obligations under IDEA. The estimated available funds for this program total $3,975,000 in years 1 and 2, $4,425,000 in years 3 and 4, and $4,200,000 in year 5. Applications are due by July 31, 2020, and further information is available here.

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Joint Minnesota House education committee hearings will cover distance learning, 2020-2021 school year

The Minnesota House Education Policy Committee and the Minnesota House Education Finance Division will be holding three remote informational hearings in June that will focus on distance learning and the 2020-2021 school year.

9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, June 24, 2020: This hearing will highlight the voices of students, parents, our state ethnic council, and community organizations that are supporting communities during distance learning. (Speaking slots have already filled, but written comments can be submitted to alyssa.fritz@house.mn by noon Tuesday, June 23.)

9:45 a.m. 11:15 a.m. Thursday, June 25, 2020: This hearing will highlight the voices of teachers, counselors, social workers, school nurses, transportation operators, and early education teachers who are supporting public school communities during distance learning. (Speaking slots have already filled, but written comments can be submitted to sarah.burt@house.mn by noon Wednesday, June 24.)

9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 30, 2020: This hearing will highlight the voices of public school administrators, principals, school board members, and the Minnesota Department of Education about their experiences with distance learning. (Speaking slots have already filled, but written comments can be submitted to alyssa.fritz@house.mn by noon Monday, June 29.)

 These remote hearings may be viewed live via the following methods:

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Special Session 2020: House and Senate Education Bill Introductions

Friday, June 19th, 2020

We publish bills every day they are introduced and hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state. Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district.

Following are the bills that were introduced during Minnesota’s 2020 Special Session.

House and Senate Education Bill Introductions

For Weekly Legislative Updates See the Weekly Advocate

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School Finance Working Group Update

The School Finance Working Group met remotely Thursday, June 18 from 4-5:30 p.m.

The agenda included a review of some funding streams that are not equally available to all school districts. The group reviewed and addressed topics concerning funding discrepancies between charter schools and school districts as well as pupil transportation funding. MDE presented an update on the development of options to address school finance pressure points.

The last item on the agenda was the presentation of the draft proposals or options as identified by the working group subcommittees.
• Special Education Cross Subsidy (5 options)
• English Learner (EL) Cross Subsidy (3 options)
• Opportunity / Achievement Gap (2 options)
• School-Based Health Care (4 options)
• Funding Streams Not Equally Available to All School Districts – work in progress (3 options)
• Funding Streams Not Equally Available to Different Types of Local Education Agencies – work in progress (4 options)
• Pupil Transportation Funding (2 options)

The next meeting will consist of a robust discussion surrounding these draft proposals and looking at issues not yet addressed such as the basic formula, Local Optional Revenue (LOR) and property tax equalization. The next scheduled meeting dates are July 16 and July 3.

The School Finance Working Group’s mission is to address education-funding issues facing the state. The group reviews key funding streams, identifies options for school finance reform, and seeks consensus on recommendations for systemic change. A review of previous working group sessions is available on the MDE website School Finance Working Group page.

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Governor Walz orders flags at half-staff on June 19 in honor of Minnesota’s COVID-19 victims

Governor Tim Walz has directed all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 19, 2020. He has directed flags to fly at half staff on the 19th of every month through 2020 to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19.

“Thousands of Minnesotans have lost dear friends and close family members in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “Each life taken has been a heartbreaking tragedy for our state. In these challenging times, we must work together to slow the spread of this pandemic.”

Individuals, businesses, and other organizations are also encouraged to join in lowering their flags to honor Minnesotans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and their families.

View Governor Walz’s full proclamation.

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