2003 MODIFICATIONS TO STAFF DEVELOPMENT LAW

Staff Development Update (from June 2012 Management Services Newsletter)

Under M.S. 122A.61, school districts are required to set aside 2 percent of their basic revenue each year for in-service education. However, the requirement to set aside the 2 percent has been waived through the 2012-2013 school year. Additionally, during the 2012 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed legislation giving school districts flexibility when using the 2 percent reserved for staff development activities. The 2012 Legislature amended “Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2010, Section 122A.61, Subdivision 1” — which will become effective on July 1, 2012 — by striking the requirement that school districts allocate staff development revenue as follows: 50 percent to sites on a per-teacher basis, 25 percent for grants for best practice, and 25 percent for district-wide staff development.

  • The requirement to set aside 2 percent of basic revenue for staff development purposes is waived for the 2012-2013 school year.
  • The requirement to set aside 2 percent of basic revenue for staff development purposes will become effective again for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Effective July 1, 2012, the requirement to allocate staff development dollars as specified in M.S. 122A.61 (i.e., 50 percent-25 percent-25 percent) is permanently waived.
  • The Minnesota Department of Education has not rescinded the year-end reporting requirements.

Repealer and Clarification:

Repealer Language:

Sec. 51. [STAFF DEVELOPMENT RESERVED REVENUE; FISCAL YEARS 2004 AND 2005.] Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 122A.61, subdivision 1, for fiscal years 2004 and 2005 only, a school district must may reserve an amount equal to at least zero percent of the basic revenue under Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.10, subdivision 2. A district may waive this requirement by a majority vote of the licensed teachers in the district and a majority vote of the school board. A district in statutory operating debt is exempt from this requirement.

      The 2003 Legislature has given districts the right to waive all or any part of the 2 percent set aside for staff development for fiscal years 2004 and 2005. Important points to remember:

  • All staff development funds carried over from fiscal year 2003 must be expended in accordance with M.S. 122A.61.
  • If districts "officially reserve FY2004 or FY2005 revenues for staff development, subdivision 1, then they must follow the requirements specified in that statute." (50 percent-25 percent-25 percent)
  • Districts who do not "officially reserve" funds for staff development activities under M.S. 122A.61, subdivision 1, may budget for staff development activities without expending or encumbering the funds in accordance with that statute.

Below please find a letter from Commissioner Yecke regarding these important modifications of this statute. 

Commissioner's Interpretation of Staff Development Repealer Language

MEMORANDUM

DATE: August 6, 2003
TO: Superintendents, Business Managers, Education Organizations
FROM: Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D., Commissioner of Education
RE: Clarification of Staff Development Law Changes

Laws 2003, First Special Session, Chapter 9, Article 1, Section 51, as amended by Laws 2003, First Special Session, Chapter 23, Section 22, eliminates, for fiscal years 2004 and 2005 only, the requirement under MS 122A.61, Subdivision 1, that districts must set aside 2 percent of their basic revenue for staff development, unless a vote to the contrary was taken by the board and by teachers. (Statutory Operating Debt districts are exempt from this requirement).

In response to questions regarding (1) the use of reserved staff development funds from prior years, and (2) the use of new dollars budgeted for staff development in FY 2004 and FY 2005, the following clarification is provided:

(1) MS 122A.61, subd. 1 states that the three portions of the balance in the reserve for staff development must be kept separate and used for the original purposes as outlined in law. For example, the statute specifies that each site's share of the 50% portion set aside for sites "must be retained by the school site until used." The balance of the 25 percent exemplary funds "must be used to make grants to school sites for best practice methods." The law provides discretion to districts in allocating the exemplary money among sites, requiring only that "a grant may be used for any purpose authorized under section 120B.22, subdivision 2, 122A.60, or for the costs of curriculum development and programs, other in-service education, teachers' workshops, teacher conferences, substitute teachers for staff development purposes, and other staff development efforts, and determined by the site professional development team." If some sites have sufficient amounts of the 50 percent money reserved from prior years to cover their staff development needs and others do not, it would not be unreasonable to target exemplary money to the sites without sufficient reserves as long as it meets the purposes specified in the law. Districts could also target 25 percent district-wide reserves to those sites with the greatest unfunded needs, or target allocations of new FY 2004 or FY 2005 funds to those sites with the greatest unfunded needs. 

(2) For fiscal years 2004 and 2005, school boards have flexibility to determine the amount, distribution and use of any new funds budgeted for staff development purposes, unless the district chooses to officially reserve money for staff development according to MS 122A.61, subdivision 1. A district is not required to officially reserve money for staff development according to MS 122A.61, subdivision 1, in order to spend money for staff development purposes. However, if a district chooses to officially reserve FY 2004 or FY 2005 revenues for staff development according to MS 122A.61, subdivision 1, then it must follow the requirements specified in that statute, including the 50 percent-25 percent-25 percent allocations, and must retain under unspent portion of the amount reserved for the original purpose as outlined in law.

Please contact Tom Melcher at 651-582-8828 if you have further questions.