SEE Update 2/22/2012

Schools for Equity in Education 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.
SF177 Skoe will be heard in the Senate Taxes Committee. It doubles the equalization factor which is a significant increase in equalization aid.  SF569 Hoffman/HF579  will be heard in both the Senate Tax Committee and the House Education Finance Committee.  It indexes the equalization factor to 150% of the average state referendum market values which is not as much in property tax relief as Skoe’s bill. However, the indexing prevents equalization from eroding over time.

More on what is happening at the Capitol  

The House and Senate Education Finance Committees dug into theGovernor’s education finance bill this week.

Session Daily – 2/21/13
MPR – 2/19/13

School districts want the flexibility to start classes in August to better prepare students for state mandated testing in the spring.  Resort owners and the State Fair are concerned about how this would impact their business.  The House Education Policy Committee will likely vote on this next week.  HF261 (Newton-DFL) does not have a companion bill in the Senate.

Session Daily – 2/21/13

The House Education Policy and Education Finance Committees held a joint hearing to discuss developing a high quality workforce and how important the role of education will be to ensuring Minnesota’s future prosperity.

MinnPost – 2/20/13

The Senate Education Policy Committee looked at the impact of the new law that requires teacher candidates to pass a basic skills test prior to teaching in a classroom.

St. Paul Pioneer Press – 2/19/13

Read Brad’s Blog for more details on the week’s events.

What can you do?
If you can’t attend the meetings on equalization this week, email key legislators (listed below) in support of the bills.

For background information . . .SEE’s pizza video  defines the problem. This chart shows the cost to the local taxpayer in each school district for the same levy amount for their schools.  Without adequate equalization, some district taxpayers pay two or three times more.

 

Key concepts that you can use to get started:

  • Support equalization bills such as SF177/HF769 and SF569/HF579 to reduce the gaps in educational opportunities based on zip code and provide fairness for taxpayers in communities like mine.
  • Inadequate state funding makes our schools dependent on voter-approved levies just to provide the basics for our students.
  • The disparity in the amount of levy dollars raised from one district to the next puts many children at a distinct disadvantage due to lost opportunities,
  • Increasing equalization will lower the cost of levies in school districts without significant commercial or industrial developments.
  • The state has a constitutional obligation to fund schools fairly for all kids. 
  • The time is now!
Legislators need to hear from you!  You can put these concepts into your own words, don’t worry about touching on them all or getting everything right, just share your personal concerns.
Always include your name and address in the email.  
You can find out who represents you and their contact information here.
Be sure to copy these key leaders in your email (you can cut and past this list into your email):  
 
If you prefer to call, you can find the phone numbers for leadership on the SEE website.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Deb Griffiths

Director of Communications and Community Outreach

Schools for Equity in Education

612-309-0089

deb.griffiths@schoolsforequity.org

This entry was posted in Schools For Equity Updates. Bookmark the permalink.