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SF 1276

as introduced - 93rd Legislature (2023 - 2024) Posted on 02/07/2023 09:01am

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

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to early childhood; making changes to the early learning scholarships
program; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2022, section
124D.165, subdivisions 2, 3.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2022, 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 deleted text begin185deleted text endnew text begin 200new text end 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) An "eligible child" means a child who has not yet enrolled in kindergarten and isdeleted text begin:
deleted text end

deleted text begin (1) at least three butdeleted text end not yet five years of age on September 1 of the current school yeardeleted text begin;deleted text endnew text begin.
new text end

deleted text begin (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;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (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; or
deleted text end

deleted text begin (4) homeless, in foster care, or in need of child protective services.
deleted 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. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2022, 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 deleted text beginor otherwise in need of protection or services; ordeleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (3) have been referred as in need of child protection services;
new text end

new text begin (4) have an incarcerated parent;
new text end

new text begin (5) have a parent in a substance use treatment program;
new text end

new text begin (6) have a parent in a mental health treatment program;
new text end

new text begin (7) have experienced domestic violence;
new text end

new text begin (8) have family income less than or equal to 185 percent of federal poverty level income
in the current calendar year; or
new text end

deleted text begin (3)deleted text endnew text begin (9)new text end 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 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 or within 90 days after the child's third birthday if awarded
a scholarship under the age of three.

(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. 3. new text beginAPPROPRIATIONS; EARLY LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Department of Education. new text end

new text begin The sums indicated in this section are
appropriated from the general fund to the Department of Education in the fiscal years
designated.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Early learning scholarships. new text end

new text begin (a) For the early learning scholarships program
under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.165:
new text end

new text begin $
new text end
new text begin 555,709,000
new text end
new text begin .....
new text end
new text begin 2024
new text end
new text begin $
new text end
new text begin 555,709,000
new text end
new text begin .....
new text end
new text begin 2025
new text end

new text begin (b) This appropriation is subject to the requirements under Minnesota Statutes, section
124D.165, subdivision 6.
new text end