House and Senate Pass COVID-19 Relief Packages
Since the Governor’s declaration of peacetime emergency, the Legislature met twice to pass COVID-19 relief packages. The first funding package, which passed on March 17, provided $50 million to a public health response contingency account and $150 million for a health care response fund. The second piece of legislation, which was passed on March 26, provided an additional $330 million to address a second wave of COVID-19 concerns including $200,000,000 for a COVID-19 Emergency Fund under Minnesota Management and Budget; $30 million for emergency grants to childcare providers; $38.5 million for food shelf programs and housing supports; and $30 million for small business loans and extensions for professional licensing deadlines
Despite extensive lobbying by MASA, in partnership with all the other education advocacy organizations, the legislation did not address any of the funding challenges school districts are faced with as they implement the Governor’s executive order to close schools and move to distance learning. In addition, a number of policy items need to be addressed regarding issues such as seat time, credit attainment for graduation and needed clarifications on how certain funding formulas are calculated. These provisions were included in a proposal that ultimately did not advance in last week’s short floor session.
The state legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until April 14 but will come back if needed to address issues as it relates to the COVID-19 crisis. To date, no additional activity is planned but legislators are reachable via their legislative email.
As we move forward in this unchartered territory, we will do our best to advocate to policymakers the issues your districts face. However, please reach out to your elected officials to let them know about these challenges and the incredible work your school district is doing to completely transform the delivery of public education during this pandemic.