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HF 4496

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/21/2022 02:33pm

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

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/21/2022

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to early childhood; making changes to the quality rating improvement
system and the early learning scholarships program; appropriating money; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 124D.165, subdivisions 2, 3; Minnesota Statutes
2021 Supplement, section 124D.142, subdivision 2; Laws 2021, First Special
Session chapter 13, article 9, section 4, subdivision 3.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2021 Supplement, section 124D.142, subdivision 2, is
amended to read:


Subd. 2.

System components.

The standards-based voluntary quality rating and
improvement system includes:

(1) quality opportunities in order to improve the educational outcomes of children so
that they are ready for school;

(2) a framework based on the Minnesota quality rating system rating tool and a common
set of child outcome and program standards informed by evaluation results;

(3) a tool to increase the number of publicly funded and regulated early learning and
care services in both public and private market programs that are high quality;

(4) voluntary participation ensuring that if a program or provider chooses to participate,
the program or provider will be rated and may receive public funding associated with the
rating; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(5) tracking progress toward statewide access to high-quality early learning and care
programs, progress toward the number of low-income children whose parents can access
quality programs, and progress toward increasing the number of children who are fully
prepared to enter kindergartendeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (6) a uniform rating process for all programs under the system, with a prohibition on an
automatic rating process for any program, including but not limited to a voluntary
prekindergarten program under section 124D.151.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, 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.

(b) An "eligible child" means a child who has not yet enrolled innew text begin a school district's or
charter school's
new text end kindergarten and is:

(1) at least three but not yet deleted text beginfivedeleted text endnew text begin sixnew text end years of age on September 1 of the current school
year;

(2) a sibling from birth to age deleted text beginfivedeleted text endnew text begin sixnew text end 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; or

(4) homeless, in foster care, or in need of child protective services.

(c) A child who has received a scholarship under this section must continue to receive
a scholarship each year until that childnew text begin enrolls in a school district's or charter school's
kindergarten program or
new text end is eligible for deleted text beginkindergartendeleted text endnew text begin grade 1new text end 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. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, 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.

new text begin (c) The commissioner shall not differentiate the per-child scholarship amount based on
program type or a program's rating status under section 124D.142, but may pay a 15 percent
differential above the per-child scholarship amount when programs meet the applicable
requirements in section 119B.13, subdivision 3a.
new text end

deleted text begin (c)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end 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.

deleted text begin (d)deleted text endnew text begin (e)new text end 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.

deleted text begin (e)deleted text endnew text begin (f)new text end 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.

deleted text begin (f)deleted text endnew text begin (g)new text end For fiscal year 2017 and later, a school district or Head Start program enrolling
scholarship recipients under paragraph deleted text begin(c)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end 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 deleted text begin(c)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end according to the metered payment
system or another schedule established by the commissioner.

Sec. 4.

Laws 2021, First Special Session chapter 13, article 9, section 4, subdivision 3, is
amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Early learning scholarships.

(a) For the early learning scholarship program
under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.165:

$
70,709,000
.....
2022
$
deleted text begin 70,709,000 deleted text end new text begin
90,709,000
new text end
.....
2023

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

new text begin (c) The base for this appropriation is $90,709,000 in fiscal year 2024 and later.
new text end