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Legislative Activities

2023 Legislature

This year's legislative session will be a busy one for Minnesota State Academies, as there are several proposals that affect us. Below is a list of current bonding requests and budget proposals that have been shared with the Governor's Office as well as the House and Senate Committees for feedback.  We also need your support! Contact your local representatives/senators to let them know you support our bills and budget/bonding requests.

Find your local representative here 

2023 Bonding Requests

MSA Dorms Project: $7.8 million

  • This project has been requested in the past but has not been funded. We have completed some ongoing repairs and renovations as needed using Asset Preservation and/or General Funds.
  • The dorms project will allow us to remove a significant amount of repair/renovations from the list of projects that need to be completed on our campuses, and bring our aging dorms on the MSAB and MSAD campuses up to code in regard to safety, security, ADA requirements, energy saving, indoor air quality, and accessibility. We will also increase flexibility for our educational and residential programs. 
  • This project will improve the energy efficiency of cooling/heating the buildings. This will also reduce the costs for maintenance, repairs, and staffing required to perform these repairs. 

Additional information: This project is especially important as none of those dorm facilities meet current standards (ADA, accessibility, safety, heating/cooling, program requirements) for our students who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, blind, visually impaired, including those with additional physical challenges. 

Student Center Pre-Design Funds: $240,000

  • This project will allow us to hire architects to evaluate our needs and recommend an energy-efficient/low maintenance building that is fully accessible and code compliant, potentially replacing up to 5 aging, high-maintenance buildings and outdated, inaccessible facilities. 
  • This center will incorporate our athletic/PE facilities; cafeteria; career/technical education; and other needs on our MSAD campus.
  • This has a potential for great savings in staffing, energy costs, maintenance needs, and worker compensation costs.
  • This will help us examine our needs and propose a project that can potentially have great savings for us and set us up for the next 25 years. The buildings that we are evaluating are 75-100 years old and requires a lot of upkeep, maintenance, and have high energy costs.

Additional information: This project is especially important as our current buildings are not fully accessible, do not meet current standards/codes, and are largely inefficient. Our current buildings' limitations have a negative effect on the ability to provide appropriate educational programs for our students, both in and out of the classroom. WE have an increasing number of students (and staff) with physical limitations that require a more accessible and user-friendly building. This also aligns with MSA's strategic planning goals and policies. 

Asset Preservation Funds: $2.6 million

  • We have requested and received Asset Preservation funds over the past few years. We have made progress in reducing the number of projects that are needed on our campuses, but due to the age and design of many of our buildings, continued funding and work is required.
  • This will allow us to continue maintenance, upkeep, and improvements to our buildings and facilities on both campuses to ensure safety, security, accessibility, and long-term maintenance so that our programs can continue to operate. 
  • Current priorities include preservation of exterior stone facades; replacement of boiler and heating equipment; tuckpointing and roof replacement; and replacement/correction of deteriorated walkways/roadways.
  • Asset Preservation projects are prioritized based on life/safety, accessibility, program needs, and efficiency of our buildings. As we complete projects, we see savings in different areas (less maintenance needs, less workers compensation costs, more safety and accessibility, increased productivity and so forth). 

Additional information: Most of our buildings on both campuses were built in pre-ADA times which means we are continually assessing, repairing, and updating different aspects of our campuses to meet the current needs of our students. We also have invested time, money, and energy to increase the security and safety of our buildings to support our students/families' needs. It is our goal to maintain state facilities and operate our educational programs within state expectations, federal regulations, and all other expectations, statutes, and guidelines. 

2023 Budget Change Items

In addition to our bonding requests, we've also asked for some changes in our budget. Below is a summary from Governor Walz's budget recommendations for the Minnesota State Academies.

Operating Budget: $34.530 million

  • Addresses raising costs of living (employer-paid health care contributions, salary increases, operating costs such as fuel and utilities)
  • The increase in operating budget allows us to maintain our current delivery of services

Retention of Rental Income

  • Right now, MSA only keeps a portion of rental income. This change would allow MSA to keep 100% of the rental income and use it towards funds for staff training and professional development. 

Audiology Booth: $125,000

  • One-time cost to purchase a new audiology booth and related testing equipment to replace our 40-year old existing booth
  • Includes equipment and installation costs
  • This will improve our ability to provide statewide services

Safety and Security Technology Initiative: $2 million

  • Spread over 4 years, this funding would go towards upgrades of hardware and software in our classrooms, computer labs, staff computers and offices, server rooms, security camera and key card systems
  • Purchase of software and technology to assist with safety and accessibility for our students and staff
  • Part of this funding will cover infrastructure, equipment, software and training for campus-wide notification system that is accessible to all staff and students

Mental Health Day Treatment Program - $1 million

  • Addresses the need for additional mental health services for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing youth in MN
  • Funds will go towards initial and ongoing operational costs, recruitment, compensation of staff to operate the program, and other operating expenses over a period of 4 years