Via E-Mail Delivery
May 1, 2023
Representative Cheryl Youakim, Chair
House Education Finance Committee
Minnesota House of Representatives
443 State Office Building
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Senator Mary Kunesh, Chair
Senate Education Finance Committee
Minnesota State Senate
3209 Minnesota Senate Building
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Dear Chair Youakim and Chair Kunesh:
Thank you for your work and leadership on the Education Finance and Policy Omnibus bills moving through the legislative process. As leaders of our respective organizations, we appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on the education policy and finance bills currently under consideration.
As you may know, Nonpublic Education Partners (NPEP) is a coalition of organizations supporting nonpublic schools and students across the state of Minnesota. NPEP collectively supports over 72,000 students enrolled in nonpublic schools in Minnesota.
Thank you for including in the education policy bill – HF1269/SF1311 – flexibility for nonpublic schools and school districts for greater flexibility in developing alternative transportation arrangements for students. This flexibility was allowed under the Safe Learning Plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we support the House and Senate language to continue this flexibility. See Article 1, section in SF1311 and Article 1, section 2 in HF1269.
We are appreciative for the continued support for nonpublic pupil aid programs for students, included in HF2497/SF2684. These programs are grounded in the policy that we need to make sure that we ensure all our students have access to certain services and programs. This inclusive public policy means our all our students are safely transported, have access to quality and nonsectarian educational materials, and experience food security while they are learning in our schools throughout the state.
The House Education Finance bill, HF2497, includes $35 million for the Building and Cyber Security Grant Program. Governor Walz recommended $50 million for this program in his biennial budget recommendations to the legislature.
As you make final decisions, we respectfully ask that the conference committee fund the program at $50 million for FY24-25 and expand eligibility to all schools, including nonpublic schools, under this program.
An attack on any school, whether it is a public, nonpublic, charter or another school site, cannot be tolerated or allowed to happen in Minnesota. We want to make sure Minnesota is doing everything it can to ensure that all our students are safe and secure.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit feedback to the conference committee. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Tim Benz Jason Adkins
President Executive Director
MINNDEPENDENT Minnesota Catholic Conference
C: Rep. Laurie Pryor
Rep. Josiah Hill
Rep. Mary Frances Clardy
Rep. Ron Kresha
Rep. Steve Cwodzinski
Sen. Heather Gustafson
Sen. Erin Maye Quade
Sen. Zach Duckworth