MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

May 9, 2013

Commissioner’s Dialogue with Superintendents – To be Rescheduled

PLEASE NOTE: Next week’s conference call with Commissioner Cassellius, originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 15, is being rescheduled so that a summary about the E-12 Education legislation can be provided to you after the session ends. You will be informed of the rescheduled date and time as soon as arrangements are made. Thank you.

Melvin Carter III Appointed as Minnesota Department of Education’s Director of the Office of Early Learning

As director, Carter will oversee a coordinated effort with the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services. Read the May 6 press release.

Update to Online Testing Windows

As announced on Monday, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is planning to extend the online testing and data entry windows as follows:

· Reading and Mathematics MCA; Reading and Mathematics MCA-Modified; and Reading, Mathematics, and Science MTAS close on Tuesday, May 14.
· Science MCA closes on Tuesday, May 21.

MDE continues to closely monitor online test administrations. On Friday, May 10, these planned window extensions will be finalized and confirmation will be sent to District Assessment Coordinators.

Districts should continue to report any technical difficulties to AIR Help Desk at 877-215-8749 or


Career and Technical Education Expenditure Estimates for Levy Calculation

Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.4531, directs the Department of Education to annually calculate the authority of a school district to levy for costs associated with its career and technical education (CTE) programs. Districts must submit anticipated CTE expenditures for career and technical education in the spring prior to the year in which the expenditures will be made so that levy authority may be calculated. Actual CTE expenditures are submitted to MDE in the fall after the program year for the calculation of any necessary levy adjustment. The CTE Web-based reporting system is now open for districts to submit anticipated expenditures for 2013-2014. We ask that districts submit the total of anticipated allowable expenditures by CTE program, and to complete the reporting process by June 15, 2013. See instructions and access the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Levy Reporting System. Please feel free to contact Daniel Smith (651-582-8330) or Anne Danielson (651-582-8333) with questions.

Flexibility Waiver and Single Audit Potential Implications

The following information is provided to superintendents/directors to share with applicable local education agency (LEA) staff as well as with auditors regarding Minnesota’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility and how it might impact district single audits under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133 with respect to the July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, audit period (the 2012-2013 school year).

The U.S. Department of Education (The Department) has approved Minnesota’s request to waive certain requirements of ESEA as amended 1965, in exchange for developing and implementing a rigorous and comprehensive plan designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction (ESEA flexibility). ESEA flexibility affects requirements that an LEA would otherwise implement during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. Please note that requirements not waived through ESEA flexibility still apply.

Auditors who review an LEA’s expenditures of Federal education funds rely on the A-133 Compliance Supplement, which lists specific requirements of various Federal education programs to guide their reviews. The Department annually works with OMB to update the A-133 Compliance Supplement to reflect any changes to requirements that effect the year being audited. For example, the process for revising the 2013 Compliance Supplement, which will cover the July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, audit period, is well underway and will address changes to ESEA program requirements brought about by ESEA flexibility that apply to the 2012-2013 school year.

In order to avoid confusion and avert potential audit exceptions with respect to waived requirements, use the 2012 Compliance Supplement available on the Office of Management and Budget website. This supplement will remain available until the 2013 Compliance Supplement has been completed.

If you have questions or desire additional information, please email: and include Single Audit in the subject line.


October is College Knowledge Month!

During the last two years, Minnesota schools and students have been participating in "Minnesota College Application Week"—an initiative which encourages students to take a significant step toward college by providing assistance for the application process. As we look forward to next fall, we are excited to announce that the former College Application Week will now be College Knowledge Month! This statewide effort will occur during the month of October.

Registration is now open and we strongly urge schools to sign up early! The College Knowledge Month steering committee will provide resources, materials, support and training for registered sites to assist with their programming. Volunteer information and student incentives will be available to sites that register by June 15. After that date, registrations will still be accepted, but access to volunteers cannot be guaranteed.

For more information and to register your school to participate, visit the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website.

For assistance with questions, contact Angie Johnson, 651-582-8478 or Beth Barsness, 651-582-8336.