SEE Schools for Equity in Education Updates

SEE Update 2/22/2013

What’s happening at the Capitol  
The equalization bills are scheduled in the House and Senate on Wednesday, February 27.  You can find the meeting details here.  All hearings are open to the public.  If you are able, feel free to attend either of these meetings to support the bills that will make voter-approved school levies more affordable in low property wealth districts. All you need to do is find a seat and nod your head occasionally when a testifier speaks in favor of the bills.

Read more….

SEE Update 2/15/2013

What’s happening at the Capitol  

The pace is definitely picking up.  Over 100 education-related bills have been introduced.  Those heard in committee move through the process.  This list has the relevant education bills,an x next to the bill number notes if it has been acted on by a committee.

Why should the kids in our classrooms today pay in lost educational opportunities for the political choices made by the adults?  Several bills were heard in House Education Finance Committee that would pay back the shift. The Legislature and the Governor needed to find a sustainable and permanent solution to the budget deficit in the last biennium.  However, bipartisan agreement could not be found so both sides agreed to the shift.  Paying back the shift now would cost over $500 million and would not provide any new money for our schools.  Inflationary increases to the basic formula should be a top priority so districts do not have to make cuts just to keep up with inflation. The impetus for an accelerated payback of the shift seems linked more to campaign promises and results than what is best for the kids. Read more.

 

The Governor’s E-12 provisions from his budget proposal are in

HF630(Marquart)/SF453(Wiger).  The Chairs of the House and Senate Education Finance Committees are carrying the bills.  These bills will be the foundation for the final education omnibus bills.  The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) published  this informative bill summary. More information is also on the SEE website.  The Governor would invest $344 million more into E-12 education over the next two years.  Chair Paul Marquart has indicated that he would like to see that number a lot higher.  The Governor’s bill has several major areas of concern.  See more….

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SEE Update 2/8/2013

What’s happening at the Capitol  

Representative Tim Faust (DFL-Mora) will carry the companion bill to SF177 (Skoe-DFL-Clearbrook).  The House bill will be introduced next week.  SEE strongly supports SF177, which significantly increases equalization to bring down the cost of school levies for taxpayers in low property wealth districts.   Unfortunately, the bill does not link the equalization formula to the state average referendum market value.   Equalization will erode over time as it has in the past. Still, the bill is a tremendous first step in leveling the playing field for passing school levies.   See more….

SEE Update 2/1/2014

Making school levies more affordable  

Thousands of bills will be introduced this session.  To continue in the process to become law, a bill must be heard in committee prior to the set committee deadlines.  The committee chair selects which bills will be heard.

SF177 (Skoe-DFL-Clearbrook) was introduced this week and significantly increases equalization to bring down the cost of a levy dollar for taxpayers in low property wealth districts.  Having Senator Rod Skoe, the Chair of the Senate Tax Committee, carry this bill elevates its importance. The companion bill in the House is expected in the next few weeks.  See more…

See Update 1/25/2013

The Governor releases budget  
Governor Mark Dayton released  his state budget proposal on Tuesday. This Brad’s Blog entry summarizes the tax increases and education-related provisions.  The Governor had convened a Education Finance Working Group to send him recommendations for school finance reform.  Although some of the Working Group’s recommendations were included in the budget, the tax fairness pieces that SEE strongly supported were not.   See more…

 

SEE Update 1/18/2013

School Finance Reform  

Tom Melcher, Finance Director at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), presented the recommendations of theEducation Finance Working Group to the Senate Education Finance Committee.  At the request of Governor Mark Dayton, the Working Group spent considerable time vetting a school finance system that is more adequate and equitable.  Key provisions for SEE districts include:   See more…

SEE Update 1/11/2013

The 2013 Legislative Session kicked off this week.  After the November elections,Democrats control the House, Senate and Governor’s office. Bipartisan talk aside, the DFL run the show as they will not need a single Republican vote to pass their agenda. The first bills introduced by the majority tend to reflect their session priorities.

In the House, the very first bill submitted, HF1 Selcer (DFL – Minnetonka), would pay back the shift.  The 2011 budget solution “borrowed” from schools by delaying aid payments to districts. The bill would pay back $500 million of the remaining $1.1 billion in borrowed funds.  This is NOT new revenue for schools to combat rising costs and maintain programming. This money would be directed to reserves and low interest rate loans that districts utilized to handle the reduced cash flow.  The Legislature needs a balanced approach of paying back the shift and providing new revenue for our schools.

In the Senate, SF2 Clausen (DFL – Rosemount) would pay for voluntary all-day kindergarten by increasing the pupil weighting of all children participating in all-day K from 0.612 to 1.115.  All-day K would be voluntarily, dependent on the wishes of the parents and the availability of classroom space in the district.   See more…