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School of Environmental Studies

Lobbying For SpecialEducation Funding
Annika Grassl

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Senior Project Cover Sheet

Project
Special Education Funding

Title:

Project Creators:

Annika Grassl

Design

Project Type:

Project Cost:

None

Project Status:

Running

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Table of Contents

Contents
Senior Project Cover Sheet .................................................................................................. 2 Statement of Purpose ........................................................................................................... 4 Time Log .............................................................................................................................. 5 Contacts and Connections .................................................................................................. 26 Narrative of the work ......................................................................................................... 29 Personal Reflections ........................................................................................................... 37
Reflection 1 ................................................................................................................................. 37 Reflection 2 ................................................................................................................................. 37 Reflection 3 ................................................................................................................................. 37 Reflection 4 ................................................................................................................................. 37 Reflection 5 ................................................................................................................................. 37

Appendix ............................................................................................................................ 38
Appendix A; cost ......................................................................................................................... 38 Appendix B; Useful Terminology and Information ..................................................................... 39 Appendix C; important e – mails that I have received ................................................................. 40 Appendix D; Step – by – step instructions on how to get involved with the state legislature ........ 43 Appendix E; my proposal that I discussed with the Minnesota Department of Education and various state Senators and Representatives .............................................................................................. 44 Appendix F; first draft of key points of my proposal ................................................................... 58 Appendix G; final key points of my proposal .............................................................................. 59 Appendix H; senior project poster .............................................................................................. 60 Appendix I; senior forum presentation ....................................................................................... 61 Appendix J; senior forum notes .................................................................................................. 68 Appendix K; senior project poster .............................................................................................. 72 Appendix L; notes from meeting with Tom and George at MDE ..................................................... 74 Appendix M; summary of education omnibus bill from MDE (special education) ............................ 77

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Statement of Purpose By working closely with state Senators, Representatives, and lawyers I plan on lobbying for more funding to go towards special education programs across the state of Minnesota. I plan on obtaining bipartisan support to introduce – and hopefully pass – legislation, which would attempt to reduce the $650 million deficit which special education, has the burden of dealing with today.

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Time Log

Date and Time February Wednesda y February 27, 2013 10:30am Thursday February 28, 2013 2:30pm

Activity

Contact

Pitch idea to Senator Greg Clausen – State Capital

Greg Clausen

Thursday February 28, 2013 !:00pm April Wednesda y April 10, 2013 4:37 pm 5:26pm Thursday April 11, 2013 1:03 1:39pm

Pitch idea to Zach Doholt Representativ e Zach Doholt – State Office Building Gave Senator Chuck Wiger Chuck Wiger main points of proposal – hallway E – mail Zach Doholt He agreed to stay in contact and help me however he could

Friday April 12, 2013 11:20 11:30am Friday

email chuck No response from anyone Wiger (head of E 12 committee) Alice Johnson (vice chair of E 12) and Sean Nienow (head minority member) Look up Found Jerry Von Korff’s emial various contacts online mail Jerry Email never went through
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Arpil 12, 2013 3:52 pm 4:08pm Thursday April 18, 2013 7:48am 8:16am

Thursday April 18, 2013 10:43am – 11:15 Thursday April 18, 2013 10:46am

Von Korff to request help with advocating my proposal mailed everyone on "special education funding contact lis" for help with lobbying Email Jerry Von Korff back

Response from Jerry Von Korff

He is interested in helping me – try to set up a time to talk about proposal

Thursday April 18, 2013 12:08pm

Thursday April 18, 2013 4:19pm 5:00pm Thursday April 18, 2013 5:01pm

Email my parents about who they know who could help me Fist step to set up a phone conversation with Senator Clausen Emailed with Senator Chuck Wiger

Ideas: Districts judge, lawyers, and special education teachers

emailed with legislative assistant Jay Wiesmuller

his Education omnibus bill still had to go through the Taxes committee, Senate floor, and conference committee, but the bill adds $11.2 billion to special education

Asked Senator Wiger what I should do about my project since it looks like he has everything taken care of

$650 million deficit for special education; information from Jerry Von Kreoff

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Thursday April 18, 2013 5:11om

Thursday April 18, 2013 5:41pm Thursday April 18, 2013 5:43pm Thursday April 18, 2013 5:47pm

Thursday April 18, 2013 5:56pm Thursday April 18, 2013 6:31pm

Friday

at the Capital Asked Jerry Von Kroeff when he could meet with me in person or over the phone Senator Wiger told me to contact Rep. Marquart Found Paul Marquart's email on House website Told Senator Wiger that I tried to talk with Rep. Marquart in February but he was in committee meetings all day Emailed Paul Marquart about setting up a meeting Senator Wiger told me that he will see if he can join my meeting if I get one with Marquart and to let me know how the meeting goes Recived an e

Marquart is chair the House Education Finance Committee

explained proposal and how I am in contact with Senator Wiger

Link to an article on the Rochester Post Bulletin about special
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April 19, 2013 10:40am Friday April 19, 2013 12:25pm Friday April 20, 2013 1:54p.m Thursday April 25, 2013 8:40a.m

– mail from education funding Jerry Von Kreoff Responded to told him it looked like great information, asked when I could speak Jerry’s e – with him on the phone mail email from Zach Doholt Rochester Post Belletin article that I had previously revieced from Jerry – Special Education funding gap

Thursday April 25, 2013 8:47p.m Thursday April 25, 2013 10:43a.m Thursday April 25, 2013 10:47a.m Thursday April 25, 2013 12:06p.m Friday April 26, 2013 2:32p.m

emailed Representativ e Paul Marquart again to request a meeting E – mailed asked if she has heard anything about the education omnibus and Mary Kreger asked her to let me know if she hears anyone else

Rcieved a response from Senator Marquart

There will be a 4.6% increase in special education funding this year and next, he said nothing about setting up a meeting

Responded to I asked if I should contact his legislative assistant to set up a Representativ meeting e Marquart Response from Representativ e Marquart called Rep. Marquart's LA Joe Gould to schedule a meeting Update from .senator Chuck Wiger (automated news letter) Paul Marquart told me he would love to meet with me and gave me the contact information for his Legislative Assistant; Joe Gould

Marquart is the chair of the conference committee between the House and Senate – meeting Tuessday April 30 at 9:15a.m

Friday April 26, 2013 2:40p.m

$11.2 million increase in special education funding passed by Senate, not goes to conference committee

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Monday April 29, 2013 8:58am

Monday April 29, 2013 11:06a.m Monday April 29, 2013 11:17a.m

Asked if he could join my meeting with Rep. Marquart on Tuesday at 9:15a.m Response from Wiger

I told him if he could not make it to the meeting I could meet with him afterwards

unfortunately he will be in finance committee until 11:00am

Monday April 29,2013 2:20p.m

Monday April 29, 2013 4:15p.m

Monday April 29, 2013 4:21p.m

Asked Wiger if I should meet him at his office at 11:10a.m to give him time to get beck from committee and settled into his office Told Mrs. Johnson about the 4.6% increase in special education funding Called Senator Wiger's LA Kristen Confirmed my meeting with Senator Wiger at 11:15a.m Senator Wiger e mailed me back to confirm our meeting

She was very surprised and impressed

She put me on the Senator’s schedule for the wrong day in February, so I ran after him in the hallway

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Monday April 29, 2013 4:24p.m Monday April 29, 2013 6:20p.m Monday April 29, 2013 6:22p.m – 9;30p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 8:30a.m 8:32a.m Tuesday April 30. 2013 8:42a.m

I responded to Senator Wiger E – mailed Mary Kreger

I told him that I already had his LA put me on his calendar

Told her about the 4.6% increase in funding, asked if she has heard anything else that would help my cause

Updated proposal for legislatures

Added numbers, suggestions, and explantion of graphs, updated table of contents

Tuesday April 30. 2013 8:43 Tuesday April 30. 2013 8:44a.m Tuesday April 30. 2013 8:55a.m Tuesday April 30. 2013 8:57a.m

Saw Senator Clausen in the fall, walked with him Saw Senator Wiger in hall Put updated copy of lobbying propodsal on Cole Trace’s desk for Zach Emailed Zach

Told him he spoke very eloquently about the tax bill and his views on it

Told him I was looking forward to seeing him in a few hours

Told him there would be something he would be interested in on Cole’s desk

Cole walked to his desk as I was leaving Dolholt’s office area A women in Paul’s area was talking about Sepcial Education A man and women were talking about how the Senate was going back

I told him about the updated proposal on his desk, Cole told me he would put it on Zach’s desk right away

Maybe taking up Sepewcial education next session because it would take that long

What I heard Senator Clausen speek about earlier on NPR

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Tuesday April 30. 2013 9:01a.m

and forth (Republicans switched sides) on the tax bill (funding for stadium) Meeting Cross – subsides are when schools have to borrow against ahead of me themselces to pay for special education costs was talking about “adding more to the formula to cut cross – subsides” Meeting in front of me with Paul discussed every part of Education Omnibus bill Emailed paul a copy of District 196 special education funding gap graft Meeting before me assured Paul he was getting a lot of support for special education Meeting with Paul Marquart They have no one in Paul’s conference committee - all day Kindergarten - cross – cuts from special education

Tuesday April 30. 2013 9:01a.m

Tuesday April 30. 2013 9;01

E – mail originally sent by Mary Kreger – shows need for large cross – cuts

Tuesday April 30. 2013 9:13a.m

Tuesday April 30. 2013 9:21 – 9:45a.m

Took notes, asked question, he gave me ideas for the end result of my project, and Dr. Meltcher’s number

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Tuesday April 30. 2013 9:50a.m Tuesday April 30. 2013 9:58 a.m Tuesday April 30. 2013 10:05a.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 11:12a.m – 11:34a.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 11:48 – 11:58a.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 12:46p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 12:49p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 3:00p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 3:31p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 5:51p.m

Gave Senator Clausen's LA a copy of my updated proposal Got an email from Paul

Set up a meeting for 11:45a.m

Thanking me for the meeting, said I was well prepared

Responded to Told him it was a pleasure meeting him as well and I will stay in Paul contact

Meeting with Senator Dana Elling

Senator Wiger double booked himself; Dad loved my proposal, fresh ideas, and preparation

Meeting with Senator Greg Clausen

discuss taxes bill and SES as well as proposal and my Capital, Policy, and Law intensive theme course that he spoke with in February

Sent an e mail to Dana Ellington

Thanked her for meeting with me and her insight into my ideas

E – mailed Thanked him for meeting with me Greg Clausen E – mailed Paul Marquart E – mailed Senator Wiger Response from Rep. Marquart about how his meeting

Asked how his meeting with Senator Wiger went and if he could tell me anything that was discussed

I met with Dana Elling today, she was very receptive to my ideas, finished email he same as the email to Rep. Marquart

He could not give me specifics, but told me they just discussed their bills

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with Senator Wiger went Tuesday April 30, 2013 7:30p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 9:58p,m Tuesday April 30, 2013 9:54p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 9:98p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 9:59p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 10:00p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 10:04p.m Tuesday April 30, 2013 10:11p.m Wednesda y May 1, 2013 7:25a.m E – mailed Paul Marquart Told him I thought he working closely with Semator Wiger was a good thing, asked what I should be sure to say to Dr. John Meltcher when I call him tomorrow afternoon, told him I was apprehensive about contacting anyone at the Governor's office unless I have more information -> asked for his thoughts

Sent electronic copy of proposal to Jerry Sent electronic copy of proposal to Mary Sent electronic copy of proposal to Zach Sent electronic copy of proposal to Chuck Sent electronic copy of proposal to Dana Sent electronic copy of proposal to Paul Told Chuck to email the proposal to Dana Received an e – mail from Senator Clausen

My server wouldn’t let it go through

Told him to have her email me back so that I have her email

thanking me for meeting with him, he looks forward to looking over my proposal, and wishes me a wonderful experience at Drake in the fall
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Wednesda y May 1, 2013 9:00a.m Wednesda y May 1, 2013 9:14a.m Wednesda y May 1, 2013 9:44a.m Wednesda y May 1, 2013 9:46a.m Wednesda y May 1, 2013 1:07p.m

Reassuring e – mail from Paul Chuck copied me on an email to Dana asked Paul if he was sure I had enough information I thanked chuck for giving Dana the copy of my proposal Paul said he believes I have sufficient information that is well thought out Responded to Paul

He reassured me that I had suffiecient information that was well thought out, so I could contact someone at the Governor’s office at any time Enclosed was the electronic copy of my proposal

Confessed that I was nervous about contacting someone at the Governor's office

He encouraged me to set up an appointment with someone at the Governor's office

Wednesda y May 1, 2013 4:02p.m Wednesda y May 1, 2013 4:42p.m

told him I now agree that I have enough information, told him I will be calling Dr. Meltcher soon, asked who I should contact at the Governor's office Tom would represent the Governor's office

Wednesda y May 1, 2013 5:69p.m

Thursday May 2,

Paul confirmed for me that Dr. Meltcher would be the best person to contact I thanked Rep. Marquart for this reassurance, told him I will hopefully call tomorrow Paul told me that Dr,

Seeing as it is almost 6:00 and I didn't want to disrupt his evening; I asked Paul to confirm that Dr. Meltcher's first name is John

Glad I didn’t call him and use the wrong name

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2013 10:08a,n Thursday May 2, 2013 11:22a.m

Thursday May 2, 2013 3:48 – 3:50p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 3:51 – 4:17p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:01p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:02p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:08p,m

Meltcher's first name is Tom I told Paul I would tell him how my conversation with Tom went Called Dr. Meltcher, he agreed to look at my proposal Updated proposal for Dr. Meltcher

After I call Tom this afternoon

He is on call with the legislature a lot so he might not be able to make it to an in person meeting

added more solutions that I got from my meeting with Senators and Representatives and statistics on how much money the state pays for welfare

Thursday May 2, 2013 5:11p.m Thursday May 2,

Sent Dr. Meltcher a copy of my updated proposal Emailed Paul letting him know I spoke with Tom Informed Greg that I added the suggestions that he gave me in our meeting on Tuesday to the proposal that I sent to Tom Meltcher E – mailed Paul

Told him I sent Tom a copy of my proposal tthat he agreed to read over

I forgot to let him know that I added in the suggestions he gave me in out meeting on Tuesday to the copy of the proposal that I sent to Tom Meltcher It apparently didn’t go through the first time

Sent Dr. Meltcher

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2013 5:16p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:16p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:26p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:29p.m

proposal again Email to Tom failed

For the second time

Response from Paul

"that's great (that you sent the proposal to Tom), I hope it goes well"

Thursday May 2, 2013 5:29p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:33p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:45p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5L47p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:48p.m Thursday May 2, 2013 5:48p.m

Asked Paul what I should do because my email won't allow me to send Tom the proposal Response he suggested I try a different computer to send Tom the proposal from Paul

Response from Paul

He suggested I try a different computer to send Tom the proposal

Sent Tom proposal for the third time Email failed again Sent the e – mail for Tom to myself 5:48p.m Received an email from the postmaster (who I got emails from when mine

I readded him to my contacts, so hopefully that worked

Then I can send it through my e – mail on my mom’s computer

My proposal was seen as an attachment, it had an orange flag in the corner when in my inbox, and the subject was “Fwrd: Special Education Funding Proposal sent by Annika Grassl” so I assume it finally got sent to Tom

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Friday May 3, 2013 10:51a.m Friday May 3, 2013 10:55a.m Friday May 3, 2013 11:00 – 11:30a.m Friday May 3, 2013 11:07a.m Friday May 3, 2013 11:16a.m Friday May 3, 2013 12:00 – 12:30p.m Friday May 3, 2013 12:00p.m May 3, 2013 12:02p.m Friday May 3, 2013 12:05p.m Friday May 3, 2013 12:34p.m

failed to go through) E – mailed Senator Clausen E – mailed Rep. Doholt

Asked if he had a chance to read over my proposal, told him again that I had added the suggestions he had given me in our meeting on Tuesday. Asked if he knew of any summer opportunities that I could participate in Asked if he had received my proposal from Cole, asked if he knew of any summer opportunities that I could participate in.

Updated proposal

Proposal given to the Senators and Representatives who I speak with – added more statistics and solutions

Response from Greg E – mailed Greg back

He told me to keep him informed about how things go with Dr. Meltcher

Told him I definitely would keep him informed and asked if he could have his L.A look into some summer opportunities for me at the Capital or in the legislature To be given to Dr. Meltcher at the Governor’s office

Updated proposal and key points document Received an e – mail from Paul Received an e – mail from Joe Gould Responded to Paul

Paul told me he would have Joe contact me about summer involvement opportunities He told me to send him the e – mail that I would like Dr. Meltcher to see Told Paul I look forward to hearing from Joe about summer involvement opportunities

Friday

Sent a copy of the e- mail that I tried to sent to Dr. Meltcher to Joe Gould Joe copied

Joe would then forward it onto Dr. Meltcher

A simple message proceeded my message to Dr. Meltcher
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May 3, 2013 12:57p.m Friday May 3, 2013 1:15p.m

Wednesda y May 8, 2013 4:33p.m Wednesda y May 8, 2013 4:35p.m Wednesda y May 8, 2013 4:42p.m Wednesda y May 8, 2013 4:48p.m Wednesda y May 8, 2013 4:49p.m Wednesda y May 8, 2013 4:49p.m

me on the e – mail he sent to Dr. Meltcher told Joe that I Via e - mail will be sure to keep Rep. Marquart informed as to how the rest of my project goes E – mailed Asked if he has had a chance to read my updated proposal because I Zach hasn’t heard from him in a while E – mailed Greg E – mailed Chuck E – mailed Mary E – mail Dana

Asked if he has had a chance to read my updated proposal because I hasn’t heard from him in a while

Asked if he has had a chance to read my updated proposal because I hasn’t heard from him in a while

Asked if she has had a chance to read my updated proposal because I hasn’t heard from her in a while

Asked if she has had a chance to read my updated proposal because I hasn’t heard from her in a while

Wednesda y May 8, 2013 5:00p.m

E – mail to I sent it to chuck; that is what matters Dana bounced back asking if she read my updated proposal E – mailed Dana a copy of the proposal that I sent to the Governor’s office
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Wednesda y May 8, 2013 5:42 – 6:10p.m Wednesda y May 8, 2013 6:30 – 7:48p.m Thursday May 9, 2013 4:13 – 4:35p.m Thursday May 9, 2013 6:48 – 7:36p.m Thursday May 9, 2013 8:38 – 11:00p.m Friday May 10, 2013 10:38 – 10:48a.m Sunday May 12, 2013 12:20 – 2:08p.m Sunday May 12, 2013 2:10 – 3:40p.m Sunday May 12, 2013 4:13 – 4:43p.m

Started poster

Poster work

Wrote out a rough outline of what I wanted on poster

Poster work

Determined headers

Poster work

Fixed formatting, wrote out most information, emailed a copy to myself

Poster work

Finished poster – ready to be printed

Failed printing

Dad didn’t know what kind of poster I needed

Tried printing again Re – saved poster so it would print

Wallgreen’s in Eagan on the corner of Lexington and Diffley; printer was down and wouldn’t read flash drive

Found higher resolution images, checked that nothing was fuzzy, put poster on a CD and flash drive as :.jpeg”

Successfully Poster printed too small; slightly larger than a piece of paper printed poster at Wallgreen’s in Eagan town center
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Monday May 13 6:18 – 6:28p.m Tuesday May 14, 2013 1:08p.m – 1:17p.m Tuesday May 14, 2013 4:33p.m Tuesday May 14, 2013 8:03p.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 8:52a.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 10:14a.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 12:37p.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 6:50p.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 6:56p.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 7:05p.m Wednesda y May 15, 2013 7:13p.m

Senior forum presentation

Talked about my proposal and how others can get involved the way I did

Wrote reflections and laid out appendices Response from Tom Meltcher Expressed his interest in my proposal; said I was clearly passionate and had thought about the issue in detail – copied George Holt

Responded to I was glad he enjoyed reading my proposal and asked if I could set Tom up a meeting with him some morning after the legislature ends on Monday, since he will be on call with the legislature until the session ends at midnight on Monday May 20 E – maile Reiterated how honored I was that he shared my proposal with Tom George and said I looked forward to working with them both closely in the near future E – mail from Tom; trying to set up a meeting Confirmed with Tom Tom explained that at MDE they are very busy after the legislative session ends informing districts how new legislation effects them – asked if May 31 works for me to meet with him Confirmed that May 31 would work wonderfully for me to meet with him He told me he is quite busy in meetings, but has allotted 20 – 60 minutes for our meeting; asked if I could send him a list of questions that I would like to address Asked when and where the meeting will be

Response from Tom

E- mailed Tom

Response from Tom

He asked if 9a.m at the Department of Education in Roseville works for me to meet with him

Response from Tom

He said that a brief presentation would be great

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Thursday May 23, 2013 12:40p.m Thursday May 23, 2013 12:59p.m Tuesday May 28, 2013 8:55a.m Tuesday May 28, 2013 1:49p.m

E – mail from Tom; George was copied on the e – mail George responded to Tom and I Response from Tom

He has been asked to attend another meeting at 9am of May 31, asked George and I what works best for us; 9:30 or 10:45a.m

Informed us that wither of the options work for him to meet with us

He said he looks forward to seeing me at 10:45 on May 31

Tuesday May 28, 2013 9:17a.m Wednesda y May 29, 2013 8:53a.m Wednesda y May 29, 2013 3:39p.m Wednesda y May 29, 2013 3:44p.m Wednesda y May 29, 2013 3:45 – 4:01p.m Wednesda y May 29, 2013 4:05p.m

Told Lynn that I had something to show her that she might be interested in Confirmation from Tom

I could show her my proposal on Thursday when I will be volunteering at Woodland Elementary with Kirby and Julie

George will be at the meeting as well

Response from Lynn

Shetold me she would love to see my proposal and meet with me tomorrow

Question for Tom

I asked if he would like the questions that I have for the meeting on Friday in advance

Response from Tom

Tom told me to send him the questions and copy George as well because he (Tom) will be on the road most of the day on Thursday

Came up with 4 more questions for George and Tom on Friday Sent questions to George and Tom

Asked for their suggestions

A dozen total questions

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Thursday May 30, 2013 9:41a.m Thursday May 30, 2013 9:43 – 9:55a.m Friday May 31, 2013 10:40a.m Friday May 31, 2013 10:46 – 11:08a.m Friday May 31, 2013 12:17p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:05p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:08p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:11p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:12p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:15p.m Friday May 31,

Printed directions to MDE Printed a copy of my proposal for Lynn E – mailed Tom from the lobby of MDE Meeting with George and Tom To give to her tomorrow

Told him I was in the lobbying, had the man at the front desk call and let him know I was here, and asked if I could use his computer for my prezi presentation They were very impressed with my proposal and interest in special education

Thanked George and Tom for meeting with me Told Paul that Tom and George were receptive to my proposal Sent same email to Zach

Asked if they had any feedback on my proposal or ideas for future involvement in the issue of special education funding

Asked Paul how I should continue my work

Even though we haven’t spoken in a while

identical email to Dana identical email to Chuck identical email to Mary Added that I was glad to see her at graduation ceremony, but sorry we didn't get to speak

identical Told him he was the first person to help me make my proposal email to Jerry concrete with numbers
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2013 1:17p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:22p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:24p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:25p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:26p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:29p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:30p.m Friday May 31, 2013 1:32p.m Friday May 31, 2013 2:04p.m Friday May 31, 2013 2:11p.m Friday May 31, 2013 2:19p.m Friday May 31, 2013 2:22p.m

identical email to Greg

identical email to Sandra identical email to Nathan identical email to Heather identical email to john

identical email to Jean

identical email to Lynn E – mail from Sandra E – mail from Mary

Thanked her for her insight yesterday

She isn’t sure how I should continue; she would have to speak with me in person

She would love to meet to discuss my proposal, said district 196 is running as tight as it can with overwhelmed teachers , and gushed over SES graduation ceremony and all of the talent

Forwarded I was very proud of all of the accolades from Mary email from Mary to Sandra Responded to I would love to meet to discuss my proposal this summer - I loved Mary the SES graduation ceremony as well; especially the speakers

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Friday May 31, 2013 4:04p.m Friday May 31, 2013 7:36p.m Friday May 31, 2013 8:14p.m Friday May 31, 2013 8:36p.m Saturday June 1, 2013 10:15p.m Sunday June 2, 2013 10:49a.m Sunday June 2, 2013 11:01a.m Sunday June 2, 2013 1:35p.m Sunday June 2, 2013 1:37p.m Sunday June 2, 2013 2:14 – 2:37p.m

Response from Lynn

thanked me for the update - "There has to be a better way for the funding to be collected and then dispersed to the students” – said she would keep thinking of ways I can continue my work Automated message - if it effects new laws we should talk when the legislature resumes February 25

Response from Paul

Thanked Lynn for her support Responded to I said that as of right now the closest I have gotten to a change in Paul legislation was my meeting with MDE this morning

Response from Paul

my proposal is very through; it looks like I want to add more funding, they added $40 million on top of the 4.6% automatic increase; asked if I wanted to do more

Responded to I am impressed with what has been done - wondering what I Paul can do to keep special education in people's focus Response from Paul

Told me that the next budget year isn't until 2015, but I should continue to share my good ideas and research with people

Responded to Thanked him for all of his help, told him if he ever needs Paul anything to let me know and I will try and help in any way I

can
E – mailed Paul

I hope to continue working on projects like this, because, after all; this is what I will be studying at Drake University; Law, Policy, and Society with a double major in Public Relations, so if he would ever like to start up this conversation again he should level free to let me know
Looked for special education appropriations; added them to appendix

Looked up summary of education omnibus bill that was recently passed – found

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June 25, 2013

summary on MDE website Found that http://www.educationminnesota.org/en/news/edmnupdates/2013/05 the E – 12 2013-edbills.aspx omnibus bill had a prevision similar to the one I proposed

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Contacts and Connections

Name

Occupation

Contact Information

Gerald (Jerry) Von Korff

Lawyer at Rinke Noonan in St. Cloud, MN

jvonkorff@rinkenoonan.com (320) 656 - 3508 (received information from Rep. Doholt) Sen.greg.clausen@senate.mn

He is passionate about education – supportive of my cause Met with him in February, supports my proposal His district has lots of special education students, he agrees with what I am trying to do

Senator Greg Clausen

MN State Senator

Jay Weismuller Kate Lynne Snyder Mary Kreger

Senator Clausen’s LA Senator Wiger’s L.A Head of special education for District 196

E – mail connected to Senator Clausen’s (651) 296 – 6820 Mary.kreger@district196.org Gave me data on district 196b special education for my proposal in February Supports my proposal, gives me helpful information on how I can get involved; more contacts Informs me of what is happening with the Education Omnibus bill – weekly electronic

Representative Zachary Doholt

MN House of Representatives

Rep.zach.doholt@house.mn

Senator Chuck Wiger

Chair of MN Senate E – 12 Committee

Sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn

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Senator Sean Nienow Representative Paul Marquart

Sandra Johnson

John Belter

Jean Unzicker Dr. Tom Meltcher

Minority leader of E 12 committee Head of House Education Finance committee. Chair of conference committee for education omnibus bill Special Education teacher at Eagan High School Special Education teacher at SES – former chair at EHS Special Education teacher at SES Minnesota Department of Education management of school finances – on call with the legislure

Sean.nienow@senate.mn Original message sent through House website (inquiry form) Additional e - mails sent through e - mail once I had him in my contacts

newsletter to constituents No response to my e – mail Gave me figures on percentages in Education Omnibus bill

Sandra.johnson@district196.org Personal testimonies John.belter@district196.org Personal testimonies Personal testimonies Works for the Governor’s office

Jean.unzicker@district196.org Tom.maltcher@state.mn (651) 582 – 8828

George Holt

George.holt@state.mn..us

Danna Elling

Senate researcher

Danna.elling@senate.mn

Lynn Henle

Kirby Anderson

Special Education teacher at Woodland Elementary Fourth grade teacher

Lynn.henle@district196.org

Supervisor of special education funding and analysis team at MDE Senator Chuck Wiger’s office – her daughter is low vision Former special education teacher

Julie Kraska

Second and fifth

Kirby.anderson@district196.org Attended my senior forum speech which was about my lobbying Julie.kraska@district196.org Attended my
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grade teacher

Inta Sellars Kathy Nottingham Dr.Charles Grassl

Judge Mother father

Inta.sellars@state.mn.us

senior forum speech which was about my lobbying parents met at a wedding Ph.D in physics

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Narrative of the work

My initial interest in trying to provide more special education funding began in February when I took the Law, Policy, and Society intensive theme course. I am very passionate about helping protect and advance the rights of people with disabilities, so lobbying for this issue at the State Capital seamed like the next logical step for me both academically and professionally (I want to be an advocate for people with disabilities.) While in the class, I leaned many useful tips and gained lots of practical knowledge which I was then able to apply to my lobbying efforts at the state capital on February 27 and 28. I prepared for my meetings by speaking with Mary Kregar - head of special education for District 196 - and receiving some figures on our student population, costs, and the deficit that our district's special education programs are experiencing. I then created a --- page proposal filled with this information, statistics on how special education programs benefit test scores (and therefore the schools get more money from the state), and personal testimonies from various special education teachers at both SES and Eagan High School. My first meeting at the Capital - with Senator Greg Clausen on February 27- went flawlessly. He, being the former principal of Rosemount High School, was in complete support of what I was trying to do. He thought my proposal was very professional and thought my determination was admirable, since there has never been a bill signed like the one I am proposing. Although, now the Senate is trying to pass a bill to add $11.2 million to special education funding (I received this information from Senator Chuck Wiger who authored the bill and is the chair of the Senate E - 12 committee.) My second meeting at the capital - with Senator Chuck Wiger - did not got nearly as smoothly as I would have like.... He told me to meet him outside of the room where he was in a committee meeting, but apparently his legislative assistant forgot to put me on his calendar so I was standing in front of the room for an hour. In that time I sat in on a part of the hearing, and impatiently emailed him. Finally, after an hour of waiting I asked another legislative assistant why Senator Wiger hadn't met with me yet and he told me to go up to Senator Wiger's office. Once I finally got to Senator Wiger's office his legislative assistant persistently apologized for the clerical error; she had put me on his colander for a completely different day. Then, to amend the mistake; his intern took me back downstairs (to where i had been standing for the hour prior)to try and pull him out of the hearing. I, through some sort of miracle, caught him as he was walking to the restroom. I quickly introduced myself and gave him a copy of my proposal and the key points. He told me he already agreed with my stance just from the emails I had sent him during the previous week. My only meeting on Thursday February 28 was with Representative Zach Doholt. He represents the area surrounding the Saint Cloud area. His district is unique in that there is a high
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number of children who receive special education services because there is a large population of people who move to the area specifically for the schools. He, like Senator Clausen, loved my enthusiasm, conviction, and determination to make my plan work. He gave me the name of a layer who could help me; Jerry Von Kreoff. In early April I emailed Zach Doholt and he agreed to stay in contact with me and help me out however he could even through he was not on any education committees. The following evening I received an email from Ms. LaChapelle which contained a link to Education Minnesota's thoughts on the Education omnibus bill which is working its way through the Capital. A few days later, on April 12, I emailed Jerry Von Kreoff who is a lawyer at Rinke Noonan in Saint Cloud. He works specifically with education issues, so I inquire about having him be able to help me out: to add professional clout and authority to my proposal. He also told me that the deficit for special education in Minnesota is $560 million, and in order for this to change someone would have to sue the state. About a week later I emailed Jerry Von Kreoff requesting, again, if he would help me out. He agreed to help me out, although he had apparently never received my original inquiring email. On this same day I emailed Senator Chuck Wiger, he informed me that his Education omnibus bill still had to go through the Taxes committee, Senate floor, and conference committee, and that the bill adds $11.2 billion to special education. In response to this information I asked Senator Wiger what I should do about my project since it looks like he has everything taken care of at the Capital. Senator Wiger told me to contact Rep. Marquart who is chair the House Education Finance Committee. I told Senator Wiger that I would try contacting Paul Marquart again, because he was busy in committee meetings when I tried to meet with him in February. I then emailed Representative Marquart, explained how I was told by Senator Wiger to contact hims, and explained my proposal to him. I then emailed .senator Wiger back and told him I had just emailed Representative Marquart, Senator Wiger told me that he would see if he can join my meeting if I get one with Marquart and to let me know how the meeting goes. A few days later I recieved a link from Jerry about an article from the Rochester Post Bulletin about special education funding. I told him it looked like great information, and asked when I could speak with him on the phone about how to further progress with my proposal. The article gave basic statistics on Minnesota's special education unfounded mandate - the fact that schools have to borrow money from themselves because the federal government is not keeping true on its promise to pay 100% of special education costs - in Minnesota public schools. I received the same article from Zach Doholt a few days later.

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I then had a wonderfully brilliant idea: having a joint meeting with Representative Paul Marquart and Senator Chuck Wiger. Unfortunately their schedules did not match up. Luckily I was able to set up meetings with both of them individually on the same day.Since I ran into scheduling errors when I tried to meet with Senator Wiger in February I made sure to confirm with him over e – mail and his L.A over the phone. After hearing all of this encouraging information I thought it was important to pay a visit to one of my favorite special education teachers who simple adores me; Sandra Johnson. I talked to her in her office this afternoon for almost 20 minutes about all of the progress I have made on my project and what great things I have in front of me at Drake University. I promised her that I would stay in touch and keep her informed about how my work at the Capital goes tomorrow. All of this attention makes me nervous; I try as best I can to downplay my accomplishments as much a possible because I feel like it sounds like I am bragging and trying to show off when I gush about my accomplishments. Today I was at the Capital bright and early; 8:20a.m. While walking through the hall surrounding the rotunda a converged paths with Senator Greg Clausen. I made a point to tell him that he spoke very eloquently in regards to the tax bill which has been so controversial recently. Then, by pure luck I am sure, Senator Wiger came breezing past Senator Clausen and I scurrying through the rotunda. I only had time to exclaim after him in a hurried tone “I look forward to meeting with you later this morning!” I believe he said okay in response, but I am not completely sure. After making the all so exciting (I always feel really cool while scurrying around under the buildings) trip through the tunnel that connects the State Capital and State Office Building I made it to my destination; the fifth floor. Since I was a half an hour early for my appointment with Representative Marquart I decided to make a pit stop over at Zach Doholt’s office to drop off an updated copy of my proposal with his L.A, Cole Trace. As if my magic, Cole walked towards his desk at the precise moment that I was walking away from it. I explained that I had just dropped off an updated copy of my proposal and he assured me that he would put it on Zach’s desk immediately. I e – mailed Zach an upbeat note informing him that Cole had something that he would be interested in; since Zach’s District (surrounding Saint Cloud) has a high population of students who receive special education services.) After some confusion I successfully made it to Representative Marquart’s office waiting area. After waiting for five or so minutes his L.A Joe Gould shyly asked if I have an appointment. I confirmed that, yes, I have an appointment for 9:15. He said ok and went back to work. I then busied myself with copying and pasting questions from my meetings in February into a new note on my iPad in which I would be taking notes from my meeting with Representative Marquart. After finishing my simple task and adding a few personalized questions (since, after all, he is the chair of the conference committee for the Education Omnibus

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bill) I simply listened to the conversations around me. A women in Paul’s area was talking about Sepcial Education and the possibility of maybe taking up the funding issue next session. When the meeting finally began Paul was more then willing to talk. He gave me many suggestions for what I should do with my project. He also looked up how much money District 196 will be receiving during the next school year from the 4.6% inflation that is automatically paid out to school Districts each year. Unfortunately the number for what District 196 is scheduled to receive is less than ideal; only $15.3 million. While in the meeting Rep. Marquart gave me the number of a Doctor who works in the Governor’s office who I should contact with my proposal. Paul also gave me two pieces of paper with information that could be of use to me. While he was trying to copy it for me I gained another understanding for why people like this have L.A’s – he could not copy a double sided document. He joked to Joe that I would take his job some day because I really knew my stuff; he was impressed that I knew what cross – cuts were. After my meeting with Paul I made my way back through the tunnel to the State Capital. While on my journey I received an e – mail on my phone from Paul thanking me for meeting with him and again complimenting me on how prepared I was for the meeting. I typed out a response but do not get reception in the tunnel so it did not send until I mounted the stairs going to the Capital from the tunnel. Since I arrived early to the Capital I decided to stop over at Senator Clausen’s office. When I handed his L.A my updated proposal to give to the Senator Jay asked if I would still like to set up a meeting (I had never gotten a response from my initial e – mail request for a meeting) for later in the day. He originally asked if I could meet with the Senator at 11:30 but I was not sure when my meeting with Senaror Wiger would go, so I asked if 11:45 was possible. Luckily the Senator was open for a meeting. Just like that I had set up my third meeting of the day. To my utmost disappointment (almost anger because I had confirmed this appointment with more than one person involved) Senator Wiger had double booked himself for his 11:15 time slot. When his L.A – who had previously been at the head of the scheduling error in February, so I didn’t completely trust her skills – shook my hand the expression on her face seamed to say “I am so sorry that this has happened to you twice now.” I guess this mix-up was for the best though, because this way I got some new, fresh insight from Dana Elling, who has an office in the same area. Interesting enough her daughter has low vision as well, so we bonded over that and this connection helped us develop a report which made her more comfortable telling me the specifics of what she would like to se change in regards to funding of special education and what she would like to see from a young advocate like myself. Dana informed me that Senator Wiger was scheduled to meet with Representative Marquert later that afternoon. I was a little bit jealous, not going to lie, because that was my idea: bring together both houses of the legislature to see what they agree on in regards to this issue.

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After leaving the meeting with a renewed confidence in my end produce I quickly dashed up the stairs to the third floor where Senator Clausen’s office is. This meeting was very calm and laif back. We hardly even talked about my proposal. Since he was on board with my proposal; having also seen first hand the negative effects of special education funding when he was principal at Rosemount High School I used my time with him to talk about other matters regarding education. For example, the view of SES from other schools in the District – very positive –and how he would like to see the special education bedget cap closed. After sending quick e – mails to Greg and Dana for meeting with me today I left the Capital to return to school. As I was leaving I had a profound pride in what I had just accomplished; talked to some very powerful people, but I also had the scary realization that “Oh my gosh! I will be taking this proposal to the governor’s office in a matter of week! Scary stuff!” I told Chuck that I had met with Dana because of our second scheduling error. I also asked both Chuck and Paul how their meeting went and if they could tell me anything that was discussed. Not surprisingly, Paul told me that he could not discuss specifics of what was talked about during his meeting with Chuck. All he told me was that they basically just discussed their bills, which I really didn’t need specifics on anyways. Later that evening I sent electronic copied of my updated proposal to Jerry, Mary, Zach, Chuck, and Paul. I tried to send it to Dana but the e - mail wouldn’t go through, so I e –mailed Chuck and told him to forward it to her. The first thing that I saw when I opened my e – mail in the morning today was a very polite and respectful note from Senator Clausen telling me how nice it was to meet with me again and that he would be reading my proposal soon. About an hour and a half later Paul Marquart assured me that I could contact someone at the Governor's office at any time. Paul said he believes I have sufficient information that is well thought out. He encouraged me to set up an appointment with the Governor's office. I then told Paul that I would be calling Dr. Meltcher soon to discuss my proposal. Representative Marwuart confirmed for me that Dr, Meltcher would be the best person to contact, seeing as he represents the Governor’s office. I am very glad that I asked Representative Marquart to confirm with me Dr. Meltcher’s first name because I thought it is John, but it is Tom. I am so glad that I did not call him and use the wrong name; that would have been very enbaressing and unprofessional of me. After speaking with Dr. Meltcher briefly over the phone he agred to read my proposal, so I spent some time making sure I had enough information to make my point and that everything was formatted properly before sending it to such an important person. After three e – mails that did not get received by Tom one finally did; what a relief! I then triumphantly informed Greg and Paul of my recent accomplishment and told that I had included the ideas that they had both
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given me in the “suggestions” portion of my proposal. Paul congratulated me on this accomplishment, wished me the best of luck, and told me to keep him informed of how things unfold. I sent a quick note to Senator Clausen this morning asking if he has had a chance to look over my proposal yet and if he knew of any opportunities that I could participate in at the Capital this summer. I then sent Zach a similar e – mail, but added that I hoped he had received my proposal from Cole. Greg asked me to please keep him informed about how things go with Dr. Meltcher. I told Greg I definitely would keep him informed. I asked if he could have his L.A look into some summer opportunities for me at the Capital or in the legislature. I also asked Paul to have his L.A Joe contact me with a list of some summer opportunities that I could participate in; Paul said he would have Joe speak with me about that soon. Today I spent two separate half hour periods updating my proposal that I have been giving to the various legislatures that I have spoken with. I added a few statistics about the amount of money the state could save if there were less people with disabilities who had well – paying jobs and could support themselves; not having to rely on welfare as their primary income. I also updated the headings and formatting so that everything was uniform and looked as professional as possible, after all, this was going to the Governor’s office, so I didn’t want to make myself look bad after I had begun to make such a name for myself at the Capital. I felt accomplished on Tuesday when every L.A I met with remembered me; clearly I was doing something right to make such an impression…. Poor Kristin in Senator Wiger’s office looked so apologetic when I showed up and he had double booked our meeting with someone else, so I was forced to meet with Dana Elling. That worked out well in the end luckily. Holding my breath I read over my message to Dr. Meltcher one last time before sending it to Joe Goule who would then send it to Dr. Meltcher through the internal state government e – mail system. I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, worry about getting a negative response (my worst fear was hearing “you stupid teenager, leave this to the professionals”), but luckily I doubt that will happen because Dr. Melter agreed to read my proposal. I felt very accomplished when, at the bottom of the e – mail was the official government warning informing anyone who was not the intended party who viewed the enclosed message could be criminally prosecuted in a court of law. I then assured Joe that I would keep Rep. Marwuart informed to how my conversations with Dr. Meltcher goes. So far there has been no further response from Senator Clausen, Representative Doholt, Representative Marquart, or Dr. Meltcher in response to my inquiries. After five days of waiting for a response from anyone about my updated proposal I impatiently e – amiled Chuck, greg, Mary, Dana, and Zach asking if they had had a chance to look at my updated proposal yet and what they thought of it.

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Later that evening I stated my poster. I worked on the poster a total of six and three quarters hours over the course of three days. My printed experience was lest then ideal. I worked in perfecting my poster until 11:00p.m tonight so that my dad could print it while I am at school tomorrow. Unfortunately, I got a text from my mom at lunch explaining that my dad had failed at printing my poster because he didn’t know what kind I needed. Since I clearly didn’t trust my dad printing my poster anymore, I took matters into my own hands. On Sunday I walked to Wallgreen’s on Lexington and Diffley in Eagan to print my poster. Just my luck; the kiosk wouldn’t read my flash drive and the connection between the computer and printer was not working. After a half hour of frustration I walked home in defeat. After spending time making sure that everything was absolutely perfect for my second attempt at printing I had my mom drive me to Wallgreen’s in Eagan town Center. After, yet more trouble at the kiosk, I ended up having to switch kiosks. Finally, the printing began. To my disappointment, when I returned a half hour later, the order was wrong. The result was that I had perfectly clear pictures and text on a poster that was little bigger then a sheet of typing paper. I find it ironic that I had such profound success with the project itself - going as far as having my proposal reviewed by Dr. Tom Meltcher of the Minnesota Department of Education at the Governor’s office – but running into more then a few obstacles when it came to printing my final poster. This is precisely why I finished my poster early; to avoid mishaps like this and give myself time to fix them in time for my poster to be put on display. Today, I explained in an impatient (but polite) way how I had not heard from either Zach, Mary, Greg, or Chuck individually is a while and was wondering if they had a chance to look over my updated proposal yet. Since I am yet to hear back from anyone in regards to my updated proposal; I have decided not to contact them until after my meeting on Friday. I think this is a good idea, because I am dealing with more important people now: the Department of Education! George met me in the lobby after a smoke break; I could smell it on him. Tom was in a conference call with various superintendents, so George answered most of my questions before Tom even came in the room. I was honestly disappointed in the meeting at the Department of Education today; we didn't discuss my proposal in detail. I was also very mad at myself for coming up with a very poinient questions as I was walking out of the building; what they saw as the future of my proposal and what I should do about it in the future. I honestly am more nervous now, waiting for a response from George and Tom about my proposal, then I was before the actual meeting. I think my upset stomach and overly worried feeling may also be partially due to the fact that I got a total of 1.75 hour of sleep between the all night party and my meeting at the Department of

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Education. Although the meeting did not go as I had planned, I wan still pleased that I had made it to such a high level of discussion about my ideas. It brought a smile to my face when Mary e - mailed me back gushing over SES and wanting to meet this summer to discuss my proposal. I beamed with pride and promptly e mailed the message to Sandra Johnson. I find it ironic that the minute you put "Department of Education" into the subject line of an e - mail people start responding immediately.

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Personal Reflections

Reflection 1 A few times thought the process of this project I got so frustrated with my lack of visual progress with setting up meetings with people - Senator Chuck Wiger in particular - that I was going to give up on the entire project all together. Reflection 2 I am so glad that I did not give up on the project though, because Senator Wiger gave me the name of Rep. Marquart who is the chair of the conference committee for the education omnibus bill. Paul Marquart gave me a specific goal for my project: to send a detailed list of suggestions to the Governor's office. Paul suggested to me that these suggestions give specific, detailed plans on how to implement cost - effective ways to reduce the $560 million Special Education cost. In effect, my proposal which details ideas in how to reduce this dramatic increase in Special Education coats which leads to large cross - cuts by schools and districts because 33% of the economic burden is put onto them,; after the federal government only pays 11% of Special Education costs. Reflection 3 I found it exile rating, exciting, and intriguing spending time taking with legislatures while at the Capital and via e - mail. These experiences helped me to feel confident in my future endeavors as an advocate for people with disabilities. I liked what an insider's look I got about how the state legislature works and how day to day goings one go at the Capital through my days working there with Senators and Representatives in the State office Building, Reflection 4 I found it ironic that I sent a proposal to the Governor's office, but was unable to successfully print my poster for three full days.

Reflection 5 I was disappointed in the way my meeting turned out today, but at least I had the opportunity to make my voice heard at such a high level. I am trying to stay as positive about this as possible.

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Appendix Appendix A; cost

$58.74 = senior project poster, including first messed up print ($40.00 = correct printing)

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Appendix B; Useful Terminology and Information

Terminology Constituents: The people that live in a specific legislative Disstrict – who the Legislatures serve Cross – cuts: When individual schools and Districts have to borrow money against their own programs in order to cover the costs of Special Education programs Deficit: The amount of money that a specific organization owes in debt Unfunded mandate: The promise not kept by the Federal Government to pay 40% of all Special Education costs – currently the Federal Government only pays 11%, so a majority of the economic burden is put onto individual School Districts to cover Special Education costs Conference committee: A select group of Senator and Representatives who try and make an agrrement on what should be put into a bill; if both the House and Senate vote for the proposed bill, then it is sent to the Governor to hopefully be signed into law MDE: Minnesota Department of Education Other Useful Information   State senators are elected for 4 years State representatives are elected for 2 years

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Appendix C; important e – mails that I have received

1. Sending my proposal to Dr. Tom Meltcher at the Minnesota Department of Education via Rep. Marquart’s Legislative Assistant Joe Gould.

This e – mail is important because it shows the first step in my attempt to get my concerns and ideas heard by someone high up in the political world. Tom Meltcher is very influential and dedicated to the causes related so Special Education; seeing as he is the Director of the Program Finance Division at the Minnesota Department of Education.
2. Bottom of the e – mail Joe sent to Dr. Meltcher and copied me on

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3. Response e – mail from Dr. Meltcher detailing how he thought my proposal was very well thought out and informed me that he would be sharing it with

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This e – mail shows what positive results can come from hard work and determination; my final goal was achieved, and I plan to take this success to even higher and brighter heights in the future

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Appendix D; Step – by – step instructions on how to get involved with the state legislature

Three steps to get involved 1. Find your local state representatives 2. Contact your local legislatures via phone or – email to set up a neeting 3. Go to the meeting well prepared with exactly what you want them to know, a clear explanation as to why the issue is important to you (and therefore should be important to them because they represent you), and it may be handy to leave the meeting by handing them a small hand out with the main points of your argument on it

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Appendix E; my proposal that I discussed with the Minnesota Department of Education and various state Senators and Representatives

Lobbying For SpecialEducation Funding
Annika Grassl

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History and background: loss of special education funding
Costs are going up, but is funding going down across the state A loses of funding means less one - on - one time for students with teachers, fewer direct service hours, and less available equipment MCA test proficiency showed significant improvement with the use of modified tests for special education students

The Numbers
Without special education programs the difference in graduation rates between students with and without disabilities would be far greater It costs about twice as much to educate students who receive special education services than those who do; $12,100 for special education students and only $5,800 for regular 112,000 of Minnesota's 824,000 public school students receive special education services Over the past decade the amount of students in Minnesota public schools has decreased 3% The amount of kids receiving special education services has increased 11% from 2000 to 2011 45

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The federal government promised to pay 100% of special education costs, they only pay 11%  The State of Minnesota has to pay 56% of costs  Individual School Districts pay the remaining 33% o They usually have to take money from other programs like math and science to cover costs o The act of schools borrowing from their own budgets is called “cross – subsides” today $560 million is used to pay for special education By 2015 the cost of special education is predicted to reach $650 million Governor Dayton and the DFL plan to raise taxes to $1.4 - $2 billion  If signed, would lead to an additional $100 million in special education funding Governor Dayton has proposed raising income taxes on Minnesota’s wealthiest citizens

Facts and Relevant Resources
Basic Economics - It costs about twice as much to educate students who receive special education services than those who do not - On the average in fiscal year 1995, Minnesota public schools spent about 2.1 times as much on special education students ($12,100) as on regular education students ($5,800) - The cost of educating special education students includes disability-related services, some regular instruction, and all the usual costs of public education - Special education students accounted for about 21 percent of school districts’ total expenditures in fiscal year 1995 - A declining number of students per staff explained about 66 percent of the growth in spending on designated special education services between fiscal years 1988 and 1995, after adjusting for inflation and enrollment growth - During fiscal year 1995, Minnesota school districts spent approximately $1.13 billion for special education students, including $693 million that was designated for special education services and $432 million for regular education and indirect services Source: auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/ - The Governor’s budget replaces the current special education formula with a new one in FY 2015 that will allocate funds to districts with the most need and boost overall funding by 13% in the 2014-15 fiscal year Source: minnesotabudgetbites.org -The more higher quality education (through funding of support and programs), the more likely these children are to have jobs as adults, and the less likely they are to be on welfare (which costs the State government about $283 billion per year) which would save the State a large amount of money in the long term

Past Legislation at the Federal Level
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- Last fall, U.S Congress debated the issue but failed to reach agreement needed to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - U.S. Department of Education has proposed amendments thatwouldputgreateremphasisonstudentperformance Source: auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/ - Individuals With Disabilities Education Act Reauthorized was a piece of legislation that encouraged more students with disabilities to be acclimated into main stream classes in an attempt to keep up with that these students be taught the same curriculum and participate in the same standardized tests as other students. The bill was signed into law by President Clinton on June 4, 1997 Source: clinton5.nara.gov/

Minnesota is Effected
- In fiscal year 1996, Minnesota’s public schools provided special education to about 101,000 students, or 10.9 percent of Minnesota’s total elementary and secondary school enrollees - Just over half of Minnesota’s special education students had learning disabilities (38 percent) or emotional/behavioral disorders (17 percent) in fiscal year 1996 - Minnesota allows special education for more students than federally required but has a lower than average percentage of special education students - Minnesota makes special education available to a broader population than is required by federal law. - The percentage of special education students increased from 7.4 percent in fiscal year 1977 to 10.9 percent in 1996 - State and local policy makers could do more to contain special education costs and improve services Source: auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/ - School district spending for special education services grew 22 percent in constant dollars between 1988 and 1995, mainly because the number of students per staff member dropped from 6.6 to 5.2 - The average cost to educate a special education student is about $12,100 compared with $5,800 per regular education student. • Minnesota allows special education for more students than federally required but has less than the average percentage of special education students. • Compared with the federal government, Minnesota imposes more administrative responsibilities on special educators. Source: auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/

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Education and Advocacy Groups for People with Disabilities in Minnesota - Pacer Center - Courage Center - State Services for the Blind (SSB) - mn.gov/public/content

Relevancy to constituency
You should seriously consider trying to find a way, based on the suggestions that I have proposed - or the proposal of other solutions, to add more funding to special education programs across the state for many reasons. The more basic of which is because more funding leads to a better education for students in special education. The results of improved education of students in special education can be seen directly in higher standardized test scores which lead to an increase in state funding by the state to the school which has the opportunity to invest more in its special education programs because of an increase in funding.

Sides of Argument
who is involved: school districts who are strapped for cash, teachers who will lose their jobs, students who have a lower quality of assistance from teachers and fewer technologies available to them which could help them succeed in school View of funding cuts issue from special education teachers: "We are trying to be smarter and more efficient; Rather than a building, we have a moving triage team with a plan that can be implemented" "the problem is that when funding is cut we have no option but to cut service minutes by trying to put more students back into main stream classes" "special education, as a department, has been asked to do more and more with the same 48

amount of money" "more kids are getting service and less people are replacing retirees which leads to a decrease in the amount of time a services that each individual student is able to receive from teachers" "if we had more funding we could finally buy the technology that we need for kids to use: things like computers, sound systems for lectures, rooms with doors to cut down on noise and distractions" "We would like to see a consolidation in the amount of redundant paperwork which we have to do. This consolidation would give us more time to work with students who need our help" "If the decrease in funding and increase in expenses continues we are going to see more teachers getting fed up and leaving as a result" "Minnesota’s regulations are more specific and demanding than federally required, which leads our school districts to focus on how well paperwork is complete, rather than student achievement." Why special education funding is being cut instead of other programs: there have been cuts across the board, but in many Minnesota school districts special education is seen as an area which can be effectively continued with less funding. These special education departments are often seen as "less important" then other, main stream departments like Science and Math. The students in these programs are seen as having less of a potential, so they are seen as a place where funding can be cut in order to save other programs which are seen as more "vital" to a school district.

Solutions to the Funding Gap
Issue: public schools in Minnesota are losing funding for s Email education programs why it matters to you, the legislator: better funding to special education programs would lead to more available services to help children in public School's special education programs to reach their full potential and perform better on standardized tests. This better performance on standardized tests scores would reflect positively on the school district and individual schools would in turn receive more funding from the state Possible Solutions: - Allocate more funds from the federal government; follow through with a continuation of Clinton's Individuals With Disabilities Education Act - Receive grants from technology companies like Apple and Microsoft for technologies (like iPods, tablets, and computers) for visually and hearing impaired students 49

- Adopt a funding model similar to Europe's throughput funding which gives funds to schools who meet or exceed certain expectations and guidelines; much like No Child Left Behind which was put into effect under the Bush administration - Institute a national self - governing organization to represent the interest of special education programs across the U.S, much like the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education which represents 33 individual European countries - Institute a tax on alcohol where all of the proceeds from the tax would go directly to funding special education programs - Institute an increase on the tax that is put onto cigarettes in the state and have the proceeds go directly to funding special education programs - The Legislature should help individual school Districts find individual ways of reducing their costs while keeping the same high level of support that their students need, this partnership could be done through various tax levies and other forms of public funding for school programs - Enforce laws or statutes that make it mandatory for, at the very least, the State Government to pay its share of special education costs; currently we aren’t even keeping up on paying the inflation on general education costs - Discuss with School Districts a way to narrow down the requirements for a student to be eligible for special education services in an attempt to decrease the amount of money spent on services for children who could be put into mainstream classes each year

My Personal Convictions: I believe that there should be more funding available to special education programs in public schools because I have seen firsthand the benefit that these programs have on students in the special services which I have received while in the public school system have propelled me from a struggling student who was behind her peers in every subject to a student who is attending Drake University in the fall and relieving all A's and B's this year. I have also been a personal witness to the devastating effects of these budget cuts when my CCTV - camera to help me see the board - was given to another student who needed it more when my school was unable to buy two of these machines which cost about $3000 a piece.

Recommended Solutions
School Districts should not need to pay the special education cost of students who enroll from outside the district The Legislature should work more closely with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to strengthen the relationship  In extension, make the necessary economic changes more transparent 50

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Make the changes that MDE sees necessary, which will benefit thousands of students

Special Education Funding Key Points
- funding is down, but the cost of services is going up across the state Leads to a deficit - it costs about twice as much to educate a special education student Regular: $5,800 Special: $12,100 - bigger caseloads for teachers lead to increases in spending Leads to bigger deficit which has to be paid by other program areas Leads to a larger school deficit that has to be paid off to state - the governor is proposing to invest $80 million on education Not clear where they funds will go towards - MCA test proficiency showed significant improvements when special education students were given modified tests The increase in test scores translates to more money for schools which would reduce deficits - without special education programs the dichotomy between graduation rates of students with and without disabilities would be far greater - the amount of students in special education programs is increasing - funding went up by 22% between 1988 and 1998 Ratio of students per staff member dropped significantly which meant more money could be spent on each individual student - Minnesota requires special education teachers to do more paperwork then is federally required This increase in redundant paperwork allows teachers less time to work with students

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Visual Representation of the Benefit of Special Education on schools
If kids do better on standardized tests, then schools receive more money from the Federal Government

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An Example of a Special Education Deficit: District 196

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Benefits of Special Education Programs: Increased Math Proficiency

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Works Cited
Courage Center. Courage Center , n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://www.couragecenter.org/>. http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/9703-sum.pdf>. Minnesota Budget Bites. Minnesota Budget Project, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013. <http://minnesotabudgetbites.org/>. Minnesota.gov. Disability Minnesota, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013. <http://www.mndisability.gov/public/content.do?term_id=174&level=2>.

Pacer Center. Pacer Center, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://www.pacer.org/>.

Positively Minnesota. State Services for the Blind, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/JobSeekers/Blind_or_Visually_Impaired/>. "Special Education." MN State Legislature. MN state legislature, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.
"Special Needs Education in Europe." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. <https://www.europeanagency.org/publications/ereports/special-needs-education-in-europe/sne_europe_en.pdf>.

"The Clinton - Gore Administration: A Record of Progress." nara.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. <http://clinton5.nara.gov/WH/Accomplishments/eightyears-02.html>. "Our View: Close the special eduation funding gap." Rochest Post - Belletin 17 Apr. 2013 [Opinion] . Web. 11 Apr. 2013. Minnesota State Auditor. Evaluation Report: Special Education. Minnesota State Auditor. Saint Paul: Minnesota Office of the Legislature, 2013. N. pag. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.
"CRS Report: Welfare Spending The Largest Item In The Federal Budget." United States Senate Comitee on The Budget. united States Senate, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

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Appendix F; first draft of key points of my proposal

- funding is down, but the cost of services is going up Leads to a deficit - it costs about twice as much to educate a special education student Regular: $5,800 Special: $12,100 - bigger caseloads for teachers lead to increases in spending Leads to bigger deficit which has to be paid by other program areas Leads to a larger school deficit that has to be paid off to state - the governor is proposing to invest $80 million on education Not clear where they funds will go towards - MCA test proficiency showed significant improvements when special education students were given modified tests The increase in test scores translates to more money for schools which would reduce deficits - without special education programs the dichotomy between graduation rates of students with and without disabilities would be far greater - the amount of students in special education programs is increasing - funding went up by 22% between 1988 and 1998 Ratio of students per staff member dropped significantly which meant more money could be spent on each individual student - Minnesota requires special education teachers to do more paperwork then is federally required This increase in redundant paperwork allows teachers less time to work with students

- as a special education student I have seen effects of the cuts in less service and direct service hours but teachers - I would like to see special education funding seen as more valuable then school currently see it I have seen that educators in main stream classes see these students as having less potential then others - statistics show that when special education is invested in their is more of an economic payout which can be seen through better test scores and graduation rates - Correlation between money invested and an increase in economic payout: Less people on welfare -> government paid More people have jobs so they can contribute to the economy more

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Appendix G; final key points of my proposal

Key Points of Special Education Funding Proposal · · · There are 112,000 students in Minnesota public schools receiving Special Education services o This number increased 11% from 2000 to 2010 It costs $12,100 to educate a student who receives Special Education services from Kindergarten to the age of 18 o Compared to only $5,800 for a general education student In order to save costs, the requirements for Special Education should be narrowed to allow fewer students into programs o It is more beneficial to students if they are mainstreamed o It would save schools a lot of money to have fewer students in Special Education programs If the students in Special Education programs do better on standardized tests, then schools receive more money from the federal government o There is a minimal cost involved in modifying tests for students If there are more people with disabilities who are educated, then there are fewer people on welfare o Significant cost savings result

· ·

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Appendix H; senior project poster

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Appendix I; senior forum presentation

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Appendix J; senior forum notes

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Appendix K; senior project poster

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Appendix L; notes from meeting with Tom and George at MDE
I sent George and Tom the questions in advance so that they could have time to think about them; George thought that question 7 was especially interesting 1. What is the finding breakdown? What goes to teacher salaries versus programs? Three deviations take are of special education: - policy (programs - case load study that is in - aid - compliance, assistance, monitoring (deal with complaints) 2. What is the biggest expense for special education programs? What kinds of things could (or are) being done to reduce these costs - reimbursed on expenditures 68% of salaries, 52% of contracted services, 47% of supplies Cap of $100 of student supplies and materials - 97% reimbursement of teacher salaries 3. Due to the workload, how can we decrease caseloads for teachers? - Districts need to try to increase teachers or decrease students - More funding, redo criteria for eligibility 4. What can be done financially to help teachers to decreasing class sizes? - increase funding -> more teachers, decrease number of students - added secretaries to eligibility for state aid in 2000 = district decision Reduce tedious work of paperwork - benefit 5. How can teachers get more time to work with students because they have to spend so much time on paperwork? - it is the individual District's choice, but they could chose to hire professional administrators to do their paperwork, schedule meetings, and so on so that they can spend more time working with students - George used to be a special education teacher who used an administrative assistant while he was in Colorado 6. Why aren't these teachers getting grants when other programs are? An example: Chinese at Eagan High School - federal funds for students with disabilities - entitlements Based on number of students - based on population by December 1 - base of money each district gets $163 million for MN special education from federal = every penny used Grant went down about 5.9% due to sequestration = 5 million - administration = employment of special education team - 10% = discretionary spending Incident support in rural MN has been going for 27 years Grants in the state for specialists - description and funds = testing programs to get more money for schools and determine how much money they need to increase services

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7.

How should teachers focus on individual cases, rather then students as a "generalized" category? - training at the university level = George taught teachers at that level on methodologies Importance - skills to individualize - continues at district level - use federal funds for professional development Increase general Ed to incorporate special Ed students

8. What do you see as the future of Special Education funding? I knew there there is an autism licensure that goes in effect next year. - 2 new licensees this year: 1. Autism 2. ABS = academic and behavioral specialists -> cross categorical - help all teaches Started liscencing January: no approved licensing programs until now (George is most excited about ABS) 9. What do you see as probable solutions to the special education funding gap? - major overall; working through all components of legisaltions - funding formula and money increased - cross subsidies revenue = up 10 million this year and 30 million next year $1 billion program 10. What do you predict the funding gap will look like in the future? - hold federal government accountable = not happening in George's lifetime - whole new funding formula based in student's disability in 2017 - special education had a great year in the legislature = auditor's report and major newspapers - trying to decrease cross subsidies - issue isn't if we should give services, now it is just the cost for a mandated service "year of special Ed" - George Holt - Governor Dayton wants this change to happen = wanted $50 million, but he compromised at $40 million Tom = leader on task force 11. What types of financial support or change in programs do you think should be implemented to help decrease the large cost of special education? - increased finding and decreased number of students = no specific ideas on how to do this 12. I know that Minnesota is already a model for a high level of support for our students, but are there any other states - in particular - that you believe have good funding structures which Minnesota should try to implement for its own special education cost needs? - MN has a good funding system - monthly phone calls with people in the same positions from other states Pennsylvania, Iowa, indianna, minicgan -> ours is fair across the board for student services - George is proud of MN - More efficiency in paperwork would help to give teachers more time to work with 75

students - funding decisions made based on Individual district needs

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Appendix M; summary of education omnibus bill from MDE (special education)
• Repeals 124D.16 subdivisions 6 and 7 regarding School Readiness Aid reserve account limits and waivers for 2014 and later. • Repeals 124D.20 subdivisions 11 and 12 regarding Community Education Revenue reserve account limits and waivers for 2014 and later.

Notes from Interview with Lynn
"if you give kids tools even they are young they have longer to get it into their system and do better " Agreed tremendously with proposal - made sure I covered the unfunded mandate - sometimes parents don't want services. If we are ore relaxed on requirements when kids are youmger then kids do better learning - can't expect general ed teachers to do special ed teacher's jobs - I should be proud of my ability to speek up for myself - MTAS test is more rigerous now, everyone has to take a test now one way or another - 'you are putting what you are learning into action and making a difference for many people; that's the whole idea of learning'

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