Apply by August 18 for “Grow Your Own” teacher program grant

Teacher Pointing at Map of World

Recruiting and hiring qualified teachers is one of the most important tasks facing school districts. As the teacher candidate pool in shortage areas continues to shrink, the Minnesota Legislature passed a grant program for school districts to be proactive and create a “Grow Your Own” program. This approach allows local districts to recruit local community members and establish an alternative pathway to teacher licensure.

The “Grow Your Own” program has many benefits. Participants get a real taste of what it’s like to be a teacher though their work in district classrooms, which can introduce them to the career of teaching and help them determine whether teaching is truly a career path they want to pursue. Districts get additional helping hands in the classroom and potentially increase their pipeline of educators in the future. This is truly a win-win for all.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has funding available (under Minnesota Laws 2017, 1st Special Session, Chapter 5, Article 2, Sec. 57, Subd. 23). The funding provides school districts — with more than 30 percent minority students — grants for tuition scholarships or stipends to employees or community members affiliated with a school district for a Board of Teaching-approved, non-conventional teacher residency pilot program.

Further, the funding provides school districts and charter schools with grants to develop innovative “Grow Your Own” programs that encourage secondary school students to pursue teaching. This includes developing and offering dual-credit, postsecondary course options in schools for “Introduction to Teaching” or “Introduction to Education.”

Eligible applicants are school districts with more than 30 percent minority students. The grant period is October 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, with the possibility of extension for one year.

Complete application information is now available on MDE’s grant opportunity site at Scroll down and select “COMPETITIVE – STATE 2018 – GROW YOUR OWN – ROUND 2 REISSUE GRANT OPPORTUNITY.”

Applications must be submitted via email no later than 3:30 p.m. August 18, 2017, to The subject line of the email must include “Grow Your Own” and the name of your school district. Late applications will not be considered. Please follow all requirements included in the application instructions.

Contact Timothy Larson at or 651-582-8451 for more information.

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Minnesota House Research Department updates document regarding education tax credits and deductions

Source: Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department

The Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department updated its “Income Tax Deductions and Credits for Public and Nonpublic Education in Minnesota” publication in late June.

Minnesota has had an income tax credit for public and nonpublic education-related expenses since 1998 and a dependent education expense deduction since 1955.

House Research’s updated brief explains the deduction and credit and their effects on tax liability.

Visit to view this document.

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Broadband task force observes benefits of high-speed access during Rock County tour

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The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband took a field trip Wednesday, June 28, to witness the positive impact high-speed Internet access is having on Rock County.

Denise Dittrich represents MSBA members on the Task Force.

Several communities within rural Rock County have been the beneficiaries of high-speed Internet service thanks to the Rock County Broadband Alliance Grant project. The work — which included funding from the Border to Border Grant Program within the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Rock County — was directed by the South Dakota-based Alliance Communications.

Sen. Bill Weber said Rock County was one of the first Border to Border Broadband grant recipients. Sen. Weber said the upgrade will deal with the “inequities of broadband in schools.”

The $12 million project — which laid 531 miles of fiber — serves more than 1,000 customers.

The Task Force’s tour included a visit with Hills-Beaver Creek School District Superintendent Todd Holthaus. Holthaus touted the importance of having high-speed access for his students.

“It has helped level the playing field,” Holthaus said.

Also, Holthaus said the stronger connection will allow the district to start its own 1-to-1 device program for the upcoming school year.

When asked if he had any advice for the Task Force, Holthaus replied, “Keep on keeping on.”

Holthaus said that while he is pleased with his district’s technological upgrade, there are still many rural schools and communities that are underserved.

The Task Force also learned about how high-speed access has helped the KQAD radio station and Skattum Confinement Systems in Luverne, and Jim Veldkamp Farms in Jasper.

Steve Grahpensteen, general manager of KQAD, said that before receiving the high-speed Internet, they were paying $2,000 per month to their previous service provider. Now, Grahpensteen says the station pays only $85 per month.

At each visit, the recipients were quick to acknowledge that high speed internet service in rural Minnesota is not a want, but a need, in order to maintain a vibrant rural economy, competiveness in the marketplace and for quality of life.

Gov. Mark Dayton formed the Task Force on Broadband in 2011 by Executive Order. The Task Force develops policies to promote the expansion of broadband access throughout Minnesota. The Task Force is responsible for developing an action plan to identify and correct disparities in access and adoption of broadband in all Minnesota communities, with a goal of ensuring that homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses have access to the technology and information resources they need.

Applications for the 2017 Border-to-Border Broadband Grant program open on July 3.

The Task Force is scheduled to meet again Wednesday, July 19, in Sandstone.

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State accepting applications for new teacher licensing board


The Minnesota Legislature passed a law during the 2017 session to replace the Minnesota Board of Teaching with the new Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State is currently accepting applications for the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.

Serving on this important board would be a great opportunity. MSBA encourages school board members to apply before July 10 for the open “public member” board seat.

The complete list of open seats includes:

  • One public member (which may be a school board member)
  • One superintendent
  • One school district human resources director
  • One administrator of a cooperative unit (who oversees a special education program)
  • One principal
  • Six teachers

See for application information.

Direct questions regarding the application process to Lori Rosenthal at 651-582-8739 or

For general questions about this new licensing board, contact MSBA’s Denise Dittrich ( or Bill Kautt (

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School district general education revenue, building bond agricultural credit data available via MDE


The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has produced two important documents for school districts this month.

See for a listing of general education revenue projections for each school district for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

Also, visit for school building bond agriculture credit estimates for each school district.

These documents can also be accessed at MDE’s Funding Projections and Trends web page at or at the MSBA home page at

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Session Daily: Governor still hopeful negotiations can solve legislative funding fight


Gov. Mark Dayton speaks to the press June 9 about the repercussions of rescinding the tobacco tax inflator and his hope to meet with legislators to talk about some of the provisions to which he objects in budget bills he signed May 30. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Source: Session Daily

By Jonathan Avise

Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday he remains hopeful his dispute with Republican legislative leaders over funding for the House and Senate can be solved at the negotiating table, rather than the courtroom.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said last week they plan to sue the governor in order to restore legislative funding for the 2018-19 biennium that Dayton line-item vetoed from a state government finance bill May 30.

The governor said he has not yet engaged in “substantive legal discussions” regarding a potential legislative lawsuit, nor considered the potential ramifications on future governors and legislatures should such a legal case come forward.

“I’d like to see this resolved through negotiations,” Dayton said during a morning news conference at the Capitol.

Read the remainder of this article at Session Daily.

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Broadband grant application period opens July 3


Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Office of Broadband Development, will be soliciting proposals from qualified organizations for Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grants.

The grant application period opens on July 3, 2017. The application deadline is 4 p.m. Monday, September 11, 2017.

Application process: DEED is required by law to post the specific criteria and any quantitative weighting scheme or scoring system that will be used to evaluate or rank applications and award grants for this competitive grant program.

Visit to access the 2017 Broadband Grant Application.

Contact information: If you have any questions, you can call 651-259-7610 or email the Broadband office at or look through the Broadband Grant Program FAQs. The FAQs will be updated throughout the grant application process as new questions come in.

(This notice does not commit the state of Minnesota or DEED to entering into a grant contract with any organization.)


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