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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1230

1st Engrossment - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 07/08/2019 04:24pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to education; modifying eligibility for early learning scholarships;
expanding voluntary prekindergarten programs to five groups; amending Minnesota
Statutes 2018, sections 124D.151, subdivisions 2, 5; 124D.165, subdivisions 2, 3,
4.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 124D.151, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Program requirements.

(a) A voluntary prekindergarten program provider
must:

(1) provide instruction through play-based learning to foster children's social and
emotional development, cognitive development, physical and motor development, and
language and literacy skills, including the native language and literacy skills of English
learners, to the extent practicable;

(2) measure each child's cognitive and social skills using a formative measure aligned
to the state's early learning standards when the child enters and again before the child leaves
the program, screening and progress monitoring measures, and deleted text beginothersdeleted text endnew text begin other age-appropriate
versions
new text end from the state-approved menu of kindergarten entry profile measures;

(3) provide comprehensive program content including the implementation of curriculum,
assessment, and instructional strategies aligned with the state early learning standards, and
kindergarten through grade 3 academic standards;

(4) provide instructional content and activities that are of sufficient length and intensity
to address learning needs including offering a program with at least 350 hours of instruction
per school year for a prekindergarten student;

(5) provide voluntary prekindergarten instructional staff salaries comparable to the
salaries of local kindergarten through grade 12 instructional staff;

(6) coordinate appropriate kindergarten transition with families, community-based
prekindergarten programs, and school district kindergarten programs;

(7) involve parents in program planning and transition planning by implementing parent
engagement strategies that include culturally and linguistically responsive activities in
prekindergarten through third grade that are aligned with early childhood family education
under section 124D.13;

(8) coordinate with relevant community-based services, including health and social
service agencies, to ensure children have access to comprehensive services;

(9) coordinate with all relevant school district programs and services including early
childhood special education, homeless students, and English learners;

(10) ensure staff-to-child ratios of one-to-ten and a maximum group size of 20 children;

(11) provide high-quality coordinated professional development, training, and coaching
for both school district and community-based early learning providers that is informed by
a measure of adult-child interactions and enables teachers to be highly knowledgeable in
early childhood curriculum content, assessment, native and English language development
programs, and instruction; and

(12) implement strategies that support the alignment of professional development,
instruction, assessments, and prekindergarten through grade 3 curricula.

(b) A voluntary prekindergarten program must have teachers knowledgeable in early
childhood curriculum content, assessment, native and English language programs, and
instruction.

(c) Districts and charter schools must include their strategy for implementing and
measuring the impact of their voluntary prekindergarten program under section 120B.11
and provide results in their world's best workforce annual summary to the commissioner of
education.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 124D.151, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Application process; priority for high poverty schools.

(a) deleted text beginTo qualify for
program approval for fiscal year 2017, a district or charter school must submit an application
to the commissioner by July 1, 2016.
deleted text end To qualify for program approval deleted text beginfor fiscal year 2018
and later
deleted text end, a district or charter school must submit an application to the commissioner by
January 30 of the fiscal year prior to the fiscal year in which the program will be
implemented. The application must include:

(1) a description of the proposed program, including the number of hours per week the
program will be offered at each school site or mixed-delivery location;

(2) an estimate of the number of eligible children to be served in the program at each
school site or mixed-delivery location; and

(3) a statement of assurances signed by the superintendent or charter school director that
the proposed program meets the requirements of subdivision 2.

(b) The commissioner must review all applications submitted deleted text beginfor fiscal year 2017 by
August 1, 2016, and must review all applications submitted for fiscal year 2018 and later
deleted text end
by March 1 of the fiscal year in which the applications are received and determine whether
each application meets the requirements of paragraph (a).

(c) The commissioner must divide all applications for new or expanded voluntary
prekindergarten programs under this section meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) and
school readiness plus programs into deleted text beginfourdeleted text endnew text begin fivenew text end groups as follows: the Minneapolis deleted text beginanddeleted text endnew text begin school
district; the
new text end St. Paul school deleted text begindistrictsdeleted text endnew text begin districtnew text end; other school districts located in the metropolitan
equity region as defined in section 126C.10, subdivision 28; school districts located in the
rural equity region as defined in section 126C.10, subdivision 28; and charter schools.
Within each group, the applications must be ordered by rank using a sliding scale based on
the following criteria:

(1) concentration of kindergarten students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches by
school site on October 1 of the previous school year. A school site may contract to partner
with a community-based provider or Head Start under subdivision 3 or establish an early
childhood center and use the concentration of kindergarten students eligible for free or
reduced-price meals from a specific school site as long as those eligible children are
prioritized and guaranteed services at the mixed-delivery site or early education center. For
school district programs to be operated at locations that do not have free and reduced-price
lunch concentration data for kindergarten programs for October 1 of the previous school
year, including mixed-delivery programs, the school district average concentration of
kindergarten students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches must be used for the rank
ordering;

(2) presence or absence of a three- or four-star Parent Aware rated program within the
school district or close proximity of the district. School sites with the highest concentration
of kindergarten students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches that do not have a three-
or four-star Parent Aware program within the district or close proximity of the district shall
receive the highest priority, and school sites with the lowest concentration of kindergarten
students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches that have a three- or four-star Parent
Aware rated program within the district or close proximity of the district shall receive the
lowest priority; and

(3) whether the district has implemented a mixed delivery system.

(d) The limit on participation for the programs as specified in subdivision 6 must initially
be allocated among the deleted text beginfourdeleted text endnew text begin fivenew text end groups based on each group's percentage share of the
statewide kindergarten enrollment on October 1 of the previous school year. Within each
group, the participation limit for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 must first be allocated to school
sites approved for aid in the previous year to ensure that those sites are funded for the same
number of participants as approved for the previous year. The remainder of the participation
limit for each group must be allocated among school sites in priority order until that region's
share of the participation limit is reached. If the participation limit is not reached for all
groups, the remaining amount must be allocated to the highest priority school sites, as
designated under this section, not funded in the initial allocation on a statewide basis. For
fiscal year 2020 and later, the participation limit must first be allocated to school sites
approved for aid in fiscal year 2017, and then to school sites approved for aid in fiscal year
2018 based on the statewide rankings under paragraph (c).

(e) Once a school site or a mixed delivery site under subdivision 3 is approved for aid
under this subdivision, it shall remain eligible for aid if it continues to meet program
requirements, regardless of changes in the concentration of students eligible for free or
reduced-price lunches.

(f) If the total number of participants approved based on applications submitted under
paragraph (a) is less than the participation limit under subdivision 6, the commissioner must
notify all school districts and charter schools of the amount that remains available within
30 days of the initial application deadline under paragraph (a), and complete a second round
of allocations based on applications received within 60 days of the initial application deadline.

(g) Procedures for approving applications submitted under paragraph (f) shall be the
same as specified in paragraphs (a) to (d), except that the allocations shall be made to the
highest priority school sites not funded in the initial allocation on a statewide basis.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 124D.165, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


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 an eligible child; 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.new text begin Parents or guardians are not required to provide
income verification under this clause if the child is an eligible child under paragraph (b),
clause (4) or (5).
new text end

(b) An "eligible child" means a child who has not yet enrolled in kindergarten and is:

(1) at least three but not yet five years of age on September 1 of the current school year;

(2) a sibling from birth to age five of a child who has been awarded a scholarship under
this section provided the sibling attends the same program as long as funds are available;

(3) the child of a parent under age 21 who is pursuing a high school degree or a course
of study for a high school equivalency test; deleted text beginor
deleted text end

deleted text begin (4) homeless, in foster care, or in need of child protective services.
deleted text end

new text begin (4) a child in need of protective services or in foster care; or
new text end

new text begin (5) designated as homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance
Act, United States Code, title 42, section 11434a.
new text end

(c) 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.

(d) 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.

(e) A child from an adjoining state whose family resides at a Minnesota address as
assigned by the United States Postal Service, who has received developmental screening
under sections 121A.16 to 121A.19, who intends to enroll in a Minnesota school district,
and whose family meets the criteria of paragraph (a) is eligible for an early learning
scholarship under this section.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 124D.165, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


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 must give highest priority to applications from
children who:

(1) have a parent under age 21 who is pursuing a high school diploma or a course of
study for a high school equivalency test;

(2) are in foster care or otherwise in need of protection or services; or

(3) have experienced homelessness in the last 24 months, as defined under the federal
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, United States Code, title 42, section 11434a.

The commissioner may prioritize applications on additional 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) 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.

(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 to enhance program services or to serve more children than current funding
provides. The commissioner may designate a predetermined number of scholarship slots
for that program and notify the program of that number. For fiscal year 2018 and later, the
statewide amount of funding directly designated by the commissioner must not exceed the
funding directly designated for fiscal year 2017. 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.

(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 new text beginover the age of three new text endwho receives a scholarship deleted text beginwhodeleted text endnew text begin andnew text end 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.new text begin A child who receives a scholarship
before the age of three must complete the developmental screening no later than 90 days
after the child's third birthday.
new text end

(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.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 124D.165, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Early childhood program eligibility.

(a) In order 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, 2020, have a three- or four-star rating in the quality rating and
improvement system.

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

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