Education pilot program clears Legislature


A proposed pilot program would allow districts to pool resources, with increased student achievement in mind.

Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) and Sen. Al DeKruif (R-Madison Lake) sponsor HF755/ SF946*, which would establish a five-year pilot project managed by the Education Department. Groups of schools would apply for the program, with three to six selected to participate. The department would then monitor the project for successful results and recommend whether it should be continued.

The bill, which was sent to conference committee due to amendments in the House, is different from the version previously supplied by the Senate. The revised text allocates money for the department to review applicants, manage the program and evaluate its effectiveness when it is complete.

The House passed the committee report 128-1; the Senate 66-0. It awaits action by the governor.

The lone vote in opposition came from Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), who questioned why the bill did not contain language allowing schools in the program to alter their start and end dates for the school year. Erickson responded that the bill does not provide any specifics related to those dates.

Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville), who was one of the conferees, spoke in support of the bill.

“Any controversy that might have been there with a few members, I think, was taken care of with the conference committee in the appropriation. … Hopefully it is a bill that will encourage innovation,” she said.