Minnesota’s 2017 Legislative Session brought a series of changes and new laws, as it usually does, for schools in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) recently released an overview of the statutory changes affecting education as a result of the 2017 Education bill.
Changes and law updates are wide ranging and likely impact every MAEOP member who works in E-12 schools.
The law changes can be read on MDE’s website at http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/about/rule/leg/. Each section of the summary includes descriptions with a contact person at MDE for further assistance.
The summary includes notable changes. Examples include:
School boards are allowed up to five days of online-provided instruction due to inclement weather. Districts/charters must notify parents and students of the plan at the beginning of the school year.
Plans to assist students with exploring career and college interests must inform the student and his/her parent of the student’s achievement level on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) administered in high school.
District and teacher bargaining units must negotiate plans for unrequested leaves of absence.
The Minnesota Principals Academy will receive $100,000 with $50,000 used to pay for principals/school leaders from schools identified as needing intervention under federal law.
School districts must notify parents of children enrolled in medical assistance (MA) or MinnesotaCare of its intent to seek reimbursement from the plan for evaluations required as part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or family service plan (FSP) process.
School districts and charter schools must adopt either the state’s model plan or an alternative plan to test school water for lead. A school district must begin testing by July 1, 2018, and complete testing within five years.
Changes the name of the Board of Teaching (BOT) to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).
A grant program was established for districts to pay agricultural educators for work over the summer with high school students in extended programs.
Districts may not contract with a food service management company to operate an a la carte food service unless the company agrees to offer free, reduced-price and paid reimbursable lunches to all eligible children.
Social studies learning must include economics and citizenship.
Districts may now include child sexual abuse prevention instruction in a health curriculum and may also provide parents information on the warning signs of abuse and additional resources.
School boards must adopt policies regarding weighted grade-point averages for any high school or dual-enrollment course.
More than 10 key areas are covered, from facilities and technology to libraries and state agencies.
Government entities including public school districts are required to maintain records under state law. The maintenance of records is a legal requirement and is important for documenting the activities on which state and federal tax money was expended. Records also make policies transparent and preserve the history and knowledge of government entities.
Minnesota statutes require every government entity to have a retention schedule to govern the retention and destruction of all records. Public school districts are government entities; therefore, all public school districts in Minnesota must have a record retention schedule that is approved by the Records Disposition Panel, the state entity that approves the record retention schedules of government entities.
Minnesota law also requires charter schools to comply with and maintain and follow a retention schedule for all school records.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has prepared extensive information to assist school districts who have raised questions about record retention. While the resource provides helpful, general information to the public, it does not constitute legal advice nor is it a substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney. The information should not be relied upon as a comprehensive or definitive response to your specific legal situation.
Dates in 2017 and 2018 that have meeting restrictions based on Minnesota Statutes are available for school districts to use in planning SY2017-18 meetings and activities. Sections 120A.42 CONDUCT OF SCHOOL ON CERTAIN HOLIDAYS and 645.44, Subd.5 WORD AND PHRASES DEFINED, are impacted.