School mandates hit list

Rep. Tom Emmer, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, reiterated his K-12 education plan for the state today, promising to reduce state mandates for all school districts. He didn’t say what state mandates should be eliminated.

For that I turned to Scott Croonquist, the executive director of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts. Here is his list of state mandates that school districts would most like to see eliminated:

&middot There is a maintenance of effort requirement for school support staff such as counselors, nurses, psychologists, etc. Current law requires school districts to maintain their spending on school support staff from year to year. The impact is that teachers can be laid off but support staff cannot.

&middot State law requires that 2 percent of basic funding be set aside for staff development. The law further dictates how that money must be spent.

&middot State law establishes a $25 per pupil penalty if a school district does not reach a contract agreement with it teachers by January 15.

&middot State law requires that school districts establish reserve accounts for various purposes and districts are not allowed to transfer funds between accounts without legislative approval

&middot There are several areas where Minnesota’s special education mandates exceed the federal requirements.

Every Monday morning on Morning Edition, Minnesota Public Radio’s political reporter, Tom Scheck, looks at what’ behind the stump speeches. Next Monday, he’ll tackle the question of mandates.