The Governor has signed the K12 Education bill, which includes ABE funding for the next two years. This ends a long slog through a legislative session filled with potential potholes for ABE.
While we were unsuccessful in obtaining additional ABE funding, we were successful in fending off efforts in the House to reduce the 3% growth factor. We also prevented any policy changes that might affect the formula, as well as any targeted allocations to specific ABE providers outside the formula.
There were also some limited discussions about whether the legislature would designate a task force or focus group to discuss possible changes to the formula for CBOs, but that did not take place.
We successfully influenced language that was adopted replacing the word "GED" with "high school equivalency test" in statute. The associated language mandates a process to select one or more such tests, which could include some combination of GED, HiSet, and /or TASC (or potentially others). While this was not a LAN initiative, we met successfully with the bill sponsors to insert language mandating that any changes must be done "in consultation with adult basic education stakeholders." MDE will determine the exact process that will be followed.
The bill to change the CNA reimbursement language was signed into law and will go into effect on August 1st, 2017.
The Home and Community Based Scholarships did make it into the final bill, at 1/2 of what the House originally proposed - $1M for the biennium instead of $2.
As always, our primary lobbyist Sherry Munyon did outstanding work, ably assisted by her colleague Lise Frenette. The two of them worked closely with Valerie Dosland from Community Ed on the ABE issues. Thanks also to all of you who responded so well to our various requests for specific legislative advocacy with your legislators. We also thank the K-12 chairs Rep. Loon and Sen. Nelson for listening to our concerns regarding ABE funding this session.
Our focus now shifts to safeguarding federal ABE funding. Look for continuing updates on this from Eric Nesheim.
Karen Wolters, Legislative Chair
Tom Cytron-Hysom, Legislative Committee