MDE Releases Key Changes to State Education Laws

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 Each section of the summary includes descriptions with a contact person at MDE for further assistance.

The summary includes notable changes. Examples include:

  • E-Learning Days

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.

  • Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment

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.

  • Negotiated Unrequested Leave of Absence

District and teacher bargaining units must negotiate plans for unrequested leaves of absence.

  • MN Principals Academy

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.

  • SPED Third-Party Reimbursement

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.

  • Lead in School Drinking Water

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.

  • Teacher Licensing

Changes the name of the Board of Teaching (BOT) to the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).

  • Agricultural Educator Grants

A grant program was established for districts to pay agricultural educators for work over the summer with high school students in extended programs.

  • Food Service Contracts

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 Curriculum

Social studies learning must include economics and citizenship.

  • Child Safety

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.

  • Grade-point Average Policy

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.

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