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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1220

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/12/2015 03:45pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to education; clarifying early learning scholarship parameters;
appropriating money;amending Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 124D.165.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 124D.165, is amended to read:


124D.165 EARLY LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS.

Subdivision 1.

Establishment; purpose.

There is established an early learning
scholarships program in order to increase access to high-quality early childhood programs
for children ages three to five.

Subd. 2.

Family eligibility.

(a) For a family to receive an early learning scholarship,
parents or guardians must meet the following eligibility requirements:

(1) have a child three or four years of age on September 1 of the current school year,
who has not yet started kindergarten; and

(2) have income equal to or less than 185 percent of federal poverty level income
in the current calendar year, or be able to document their child's current participation in
the free and reduced-price lunch program or child and adult care food program, National
School Lunch Act, United States Code, title 42, sections 1751 and 1766; the Food
Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Food and Nutrition Act, United States
Code, title 7, sections 2011-2036; Head Start under the federal Improving Head Start for
School Readiness Act of 2007; Minnesota family investment program under chapter 256J;
child care assistance programs under chapter 119B; the supplemental nutrition assistance
program; or placement in foster care under section 260C.212.

(b) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, a parent under age 21 who
is pursuing a high school or general education equivalency diploma is eligible for an early
learning scholarship if the parent has a child age zero to five years old and meets the
income eligibility guidelines in this subdivision.

(c) Any siblings between the ages zero to five years old of a child who has been
awarded a scholarship under this section must be awarded a scholarship upon request,
provided the sibling attends the same program as long as funds are available.

(d) A child who has received a scholarship under this section must continue to
receive a scholarship each year until that child is eligible for kindergarten under section
120A.20 and as long as funds are available.

(e) Early learning scholarships may not be counted as earned income for the
purposes of medical assistance under chapter 256B, MinnesotaCare under chapter 256L,
Minnesota family investment program under chapter 256J, child care assistance programs
under chapter 119B, or Head Start under the federal Improving Head Start for School
Readiness Act of 2007.

Subd. 3.

Administration.

(a) The commissioner shall establish application
timelines and determine the schedule for awarding scholarships that meets operational
needs of eligible families and programs. The commissioner may prioritize applications on
factors including family income, geographic location, and whether the child's family is on a
waiting list for a publicly funded program providing early education or child care services.

(b) For fiscal years 2014 and 2015 only, scholarships may not exceed $5,000 per year
for each eligible child. For fiscal year 2016 and later, the commissioner shall establish a
target for the average scholarship amount per child based on the results of the rate survey
conducted under section 119B.02.new text begin The commissioner may increase by up to 15 percent
the scholarship amount for children enrolled in a three-star Parent Aware-rated program
and may increase by up to 20 percent the scholarship amount for children enrolled in
a four-star Parent Aware-rated program so long as any increase added to the average
scholarship amount does not exceed the actual program rate or tuition.
new text end

(c) A four-star rated program that has children eligible for a scholarship enrolled in
or on a waiting list for a program beginning in July, August, or September may notify the
commissioner, in the form and manner prescribed by the commissioner, each year of the
program's desire deleted text beginto enhance program services ordeleted text end to serve more children than current funding
provides. The commissionernew text begin, after notifying and awarding scholarships to all qualified
families who applied,
new text end may deleted text begindesignate adeleted text endnew text begin award remaining scholarship funds tonew text end predetermined
deleted text beginnumber of scholarship slots for that programdeleted text endnew text begin programsnew text end and notify the programnew text begin providersnew text end
of deleted text beginthat numberdeleted text endnew text begin those scholarship fundsnew text end. Beginning July 1, 2016, a school district or Head
Start program qualifying under this paragraph may use its established registration process
to enroll scholarship recipients and may verify a scholarship recipient's family income
in the same manner as for other program participants.new text begin Scholarships awarded under this
paragraph must be paid to the eligible program provider designated by the award recipient,
and must be transferred to another eligible program provider at the recipient's request.
new text end

(d) A scholarship is awarded for a 12-month period. If the scholarship recipient has
not been accepted and subsequently enrolled in a rated program within ten months of the
awarding of the scholarship, the scholarship cancels and the recipient must reapply in
order to be eligible for another scholarship. A child may not be awarded more than one
scholarship in a 12-month period.

(e) A child who receives a scholarship who has not completed development
screening under sections 121A.16 to 121A.19 must complete that screening within 90
days of first attending an eligible program.

deleted text begin (f) For fiscal year 2017 and later, a school district or Head Start program enrolling
scholarship recipients under paragraph (c) may apply to the commissioner, in the form
and manner prescribed by the commissioner, for direct payment of state aid. Upon receipt
of the application, the commissioner must pay each program directly for each approved
scholarship recipient enrolled under paragraph (c) according to the metered payment
system or another schedule established by the commissioner.
deleted text end

Subd. 4.

Early childhood program eligibility.

(a) deleted text beginIn orderdeleted text end To be eligible to accept
an early learning scholarship, a program must:

(1) participate in the quality rating and improvement system under section
124D.142; and

(2) beginning July 1, deleted text begin2016deleted text endnew text begin 2020new text end, have a three- or four-star rating in the quality rating
and improvement systemnew text begin or be a program the commissioner determines is eligible based
on an evidence-based program evaluation or program review
new text end.

(b) Any program accepting scholarships must use the revenue to supplement and not
supplant federal funding.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), all Minnesota early learning foundation
scholarship program pilot sites are eligible to accept an early learning scholarship under
this section.

Subd. 5.

Report required.

The commissioner shall contract with an independent
contractor to evaluate the early learning scholarship program. The evaluation must
include recommendations regarding the appropriate scholarship amount, efficiency, and
effectiveness of the administration, and impact on kindergarten readiness. By January
15, 2016, the commissioner shall submit a written copy of the evaluation to the chairs
and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with primary
jurisdiction over kindergarten through grade 12 education.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for fiscal year 2016 and later.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginEARLY LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS.
new text end

new text begin There are appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of education for
early learning scholarships under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.165, the following
sums in the years designated:
new text end

new text begin $
new text end
new text begin .......
new text end
new text begin .....
new text end
new text begin 2016
new text end
new text begin $
new text end
new text begin .......
new text end
new text begin .....
new text end
new text begin 2017
new text end