STMA Legislative Advocacy

Similar children in similar school districts throughout Minnesota receive vastly different sums of per pupil revenue based on where their parents choose to live.

STMA ranks 327 out of 331 Minnesota school districts in general education revenue per pupil. STMA receives $1,125 less in general education revenue revenue per pupil compared to the state average. Our state’s current policy for funding public education is grossly inequitable, irrational, and inexplicable.

Watch the video to learn more and see how you can help to ensure that all Minnesota students have the same educational opportunities. The School Board and district administration thank the students and staff who participated in editing and putting together the video.

Bills We Are Watching

Education-Related Bills for the 2017 Legislative Session

Bill #

Author

Description

Companion Bill

HF 1381

Representative Joe McDonald (R-Delano); 26 others co-sponsored including Representative Lucero

An increase in equalization aid; calculation of referendum equalization revenue, aid, and levy modified

SF1206

SF1206

Senator David Senjem (R-Rochester)

An increase in equalization aid; calculation of referendum equalization revenue, aid, and levy modified

HF1381

HF181

Representative Lucero (R-Dayton)

Provides funding to the bottom 20% of school districts

SF189

SF189

Senator Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake)

Provides funding to the bottom 20% of school districts

HF181

STMA 2017 Legislative Platform

Below is the St. Michael-Albertville Schools 2017 Legislative Platform approved by the School Board at its January 16, 2017 regular board meeting.

Click here to download a pdf of the STMA Legislative Platform.

Legislative Updates

Check here frequently during the legislative session for updates and ways you can help.

Update 7: March 26, 2017

ACTION ALERT---TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUITY AID BILL

Please email Senator Kiffmeyer and ask her to support SF 936. SF 936 is a Telecommunications Equity Aid Bill in the Senate E-12 Finance Omnibus Bill. If passed, STMA would gain about $85,000.

Below is sample text you could use. Remember to include your name and a personal story.

Dear Senator Kiffmeyer,

I'm writing to ask you to support the inclusion of SF 936 in the Senate E-12 Finance Omnibus Bill.

SF 936 is a bill that would fully fund the Telecom Equity Aid Program and rename it E-12 Broadband Equity Aid. Minnesota schools including the STMA district have invested millions of dollars in technology required to support teaching, learning and online assessments. Broadband costs for schools vary geographically and cost some districts over $140 per pupil (out of pocket) because reimbursement for those expenses under the current law is capped and reimbursed at only 41%. This amounts to over 2% of a district's state funding in some cases while other districts pay as little as 0.02% for the same service causing a funding disparity for many rural school districts where these costs are highest. My district would gain $85,000 if SF 936 was passed.

Insert your concise, personal story about how inequity in funding affects your child(ren).

Please support the full funding of the E-12 Broadband (Telecommunications) Equity Aid Bill, SF 936, in the Senate E-12 Finance Omnibus Bill.

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully,

Name

Address

City, State Zip

Update 6: March 19, 2017

ACTION ALERT - EQUALIZATION BILL NEEDS HEARING

HF1381 (McDonald) is the equalization bill. This vital bill provides immediate property tax relief for low-property wealth districts LIKE STMA and makes the education funding system more equitable. The bill was heard in the Senate but not the House. The bill is in the House education finance committee and, so far, it looks like it won't be given a hearing. Time is running out. STMA needs your help. Take the time right now to email Chair Jenifer Loon of the education finance committee to urge her to give the bill a hearing and send it the tax committee. Copy Representative Lucero and other key representatives listed below.

A simple, short, polite email from you could make a big difference! Personal stories work best.

Send the email to: rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn; rep.eric.lucero@house.mn;

Copy: rep.kurt.daudt@house.mn, rep.greg.davids@house.mn, rep.joe.mcdonald@house.mn

Below is an example you can use to get started but PLEASE ADD A PERSONAL YET CONCISE STORY.

Chair Loon,

Please schedule a hearing for HF1381 (McDonald) and move it to taxes. This bill would provide immediate property tax relief and make the education funding system more equitable across the state.

Communities like St. Michael-Albertville, which have very little commercial and industrial property to expand the tax base, pay much more for school levies than other communities that do. School levies must be affordable so we all can support our schools. Please help us by moving HF1381.

Insert personal story

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully,

Name

Address

City, State Zip

Update 5: Mach 8, 2017

The 2015 Minnesota Legislature repealed sources of facilities revenue from three statutes and replaced them with one enhanced revenue program called Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Revenue (LTFM revenue). The new law, Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.595, offers a comprehensive program to fund a facility ten-year plan developed by a school district. LTFM replaces Health and Safety Revenue, Deferred Maintenance Revenue and Alternative Facilities Bonding and Levy programs, beginning in FY 2017. Revenue is phased-in over three years, from FY 2017 to FY 2019.

For FY2017 STMA will receive $657,383 and more in subsequent years. These dollars are used for maintaining buildings (roofs, HVAC), indoor air quality, fire safety, and many other needs. If LTFM funding was decreased, the district would have to use dollars that would otherwise be directly tied to students. Please contact our house member, Representative Lucero, and ask him to preserve the LTFM program at its current level of funding. Representative Lucero can be reached at 651-296-1534 or rep.eric.lucero@house.mn

Update 4: February 17, 2017

There is growing bipartisan energy to correct school funding inequality during the 2017 session. Please help STMA Schools by taking action to thank legislators for their work and encourage the progress of bills through the state legislature that would help our district and taxpayers.

1. Call Governor Dayton’s Office 651-201-3400. State your name and ZIP code. Thank the Governor for including substantial debt service equalization (potentially a huge savings for STMA taxpayers...) in his budget. The Governor has also called for an increase in the per-pupil funding formula and a boost for special education funding—all potentially very helpful to STMA’s bottom line.

2. Contact Representative Eric Lucero at 651-296-1534 or rep.eric.lucero@house.mn to thank him for co-sponsoring HF 1381 and authoring HF 181. These bills will provide significant tax relief in the form of debt service equalization to communities like STMA and provide funding to the bottom 20% of schools (which includes STMA).

3. Contact Senator Mary Kiffmeyer at 651- 296-5655 or sen.mary.kiffmeyer@senate.mn to ask her to co-sponsor SF 1206 (companion bill to HF 1381) as she has not added her name to the list of co-sponsors. Also, thank her for authoring SF189 which is the companion bill to HF 181 and will provide funding to the bottom 20% of schools in the state.

Update 3: February 10, 2017

If you're interested in capturing a fairer share of state tax dollars to support our students and schools, please consider attending one of our local legislators' town hall meetings on Saturday February 11. Senator Kiffmeyer and Representative Lucero have been champions for districts like ours. They need to hear from constituents that this is still a critically important issue in our communitites.

OTSEGO

  • Saturday February 11th from 9-10 AM
  • Denny’s Restaurant
  • 9020 Quaday Avenue NE, Otsego, 55330

ALBERTVILLE

  • Saturday February 11th from 11-12 AM
  • Guardian Angels Engel Haus
  • 5101 Kassel Avenue NE, Albertville, 55301

You need not be an expert in school finance or state government to attend these meetings. Senator Kiffmeyer and Representative Lucero are looking to meet constituents and hear what's important in their districts.

Update 2: February 8, 2017

As you know, STMA receives significantly less funding than other school districts in Minnesota: we currently rank 327 out of 331 Minnesota School Districts in general education revenue per pupil. However, you have a chance to help this week by contacting legislators and encouraging them to fix this disparity.

The Senate E-12 Finance Committee will hear testimony about SF189 (Kiffmeyer), a bill that would give more aid to school districts in the bottom 20th percentile of per pupil revenue, which includes STMA.

The hearing is Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 3pm in Room 1100 of the Minnesota Senate Building.

Superintendent Foucault will be testifying in support of the bill, as well as a few other superintendents. We invite you to e-mail the committee members below and encourage them to support SF189. You can begin your letter with: "Dear Madam Chair and Members of the Senate Committee on E-12 Finance,..." You can e-mail Committee Administrator Greg Marcus at greg.marcus@senate.mn and ask that your testimony be shared with all committee members, or you can e-mail them using the contact info below.

E-mail addresses:
sen.carla.nelson@senate.mn;
sen.eric.pratt@senate.mn;
sen.roger.chamberlain@senate.mn;
sen.gary.dahms@senate.mn;
sen.melissa.wiklund@senate.mn;

E-mail forms for those who don't have direct e-mail addresses:
https://www.senate.mn/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1067&ls=
https://www.senate.mn/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1232&ls=
https://www.senate.mn/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1219&ls=
https://www.senate.mn/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1064&ls=
https://www.senate.mn/members/member_emailform.php?mem_id=1151&ls=

Here is a link to the text of SF189: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF189&version=0&session=ls90&session_year=2017&session_number=0

Update 1: "Fairness in School Funding" Letter to the Editor November 28, 2016

How to Take Action

Your help is needed to support changes in how Minnesota funds its schools. You can get involved by:

  1. Signing up to receive updates and alerts. Request updates by sending an email to: STMAExcellence@gmail.com. You will receive updates and information about how YOU can make a difference for our students.
  2. Following STMA Equity for Excellence on Facebook for timely updates.
  3. Writing letters to the editor, especially to the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. This is especially effective when you respond to opinion pieces and articles on education.
  4. Sharing status updates and school equity information on your own social media posts. Use the hashtag #FundSchoolsFairlyMN.
  5. Contact your state legislators and legislative leaders.

Name

Phone

Mark Dayton, Governor

651-201-3400

Eric Lucero, House Representative

651-296-1534

Mary Kiffmeyer, State Senator

651-296-5655

Marion O’Neil, House Representative

651-296-5063

 

Resources

  • Contacts:
    Senate Information Line: 651-296-0504
    House Information Line: 651-296-2146