If You're Going to Have a Blog. . .you have to remember to update it regularly.
Sorry I haven't given the Saturday update until this morning. Saturday morning's conference committee was one of the best conference committee meetings I have witnessed in all my years, some would contend too many, watching education conference committees.
After adopting several relatively minor provisions that were either the same in each bill or only slightly different, the discussion turned to the property tax relief portions of each bill. As a quick reminder, the House bill contains targeted property tax relief delivered through increased referendum and debt service equalization along with a huge increase in the equalizing factor for the total operating capital (which benefits all school districts). The Senate bill contains the consolidated levy, which combines the levies from three revenue programs (total operating capital, transition, and equity), buys them down by $100 million, and spreads a new levy based on ANTC across all school districts. The Senate action, at its base level, recreates some notion of a general education levy.
The discussion around these two varying approaches was both polite and insightful. Both sides appreciated what the other was trying to accomplish and it was a truly illuminating discussion as the conferees worked to find the appropriate place for the property tax in the education system.
In all, well done by the conferees.
There is no formal conference committee meeting today, but three working groups are meeting to develop compromise positions on academic standards, early intervention (including RTI and PBIS), and International Baccalaureate and other programs in the area of educational excellence.
I will post tomorrow's starting time when it becomes available. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.