Wednesday, April 15, 2009

House Bill Mark-Up. The House K-12 Funding Division is in the midst of discussing and amending HF 2--the House omnibus E-12 funding bill--as I write. The only major item that has been amended, in this case out of the bill, is the alternative teacher licensure piece that was opposed by Education Minnesota. The was offered by Representative Will Morgan (DFL-Burnsville) offered the amendment and it passed on a vote of 11-10.

There has been a lot of discussion on integration aid. The House bill changes some aspects of integration aid, focusing it more closely on achievement as opposed to interracial contact and althers the distribution of integration aid (although not for a few years). Representative Buesgens just offered an amendment to eliminate the program entirely, but it failed.

Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Lakeville) just offered an amendment that would remove the pre-Labor Day start allowance in the bill, but it failed on a voice vote.

This hasn't gone on as long as I thought it would. About fifteen amendments were offered and it looks like slightly less than half passed. Everything that passed was relatively non-controversial, the only exception being the removal of the alternative teacher licensure piece that was in the bill (as referenced above).

Speeches are no being given and the bill will pass, most likely on a straight party-line vote.

I'll speak in greater detail about the contents of the bill in my next entry. Live from Room 5 of the State Office Building, this is Brad signing off.

EDIT: I was wrong. Mark this one down (and the next one and the next one and the next one . . .) . The final vote on the K-12 Funding Bill in the K-12 Funding Division was not a straight party-line vote. Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Lakeville)--the lead Republican on the K-12 Funding Division--voted for the bill.

Integration Revenue. The House K-12 Funding Division had some very interesting working groups this year. Of course, there was the Shared Services Working Group and the Mandate Reduction Working Group, but perhaps the group that came up with the most rattling set of recommendations was that of the Integration Revenue Working Group headed up by Representatives Robin Brown (DFL-Moscow Township) and Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids).

Much of the working group's final product is a reflection of the Legislative Auditor's Report on Integration Revenue published in November, 2005. One of the primary issues with the Integration Revenue program as identified by the Legislative Auditor is that the program lacked focus and there was a question as to the primary purpose of the program: increased student achievement or bringing greater racial balance to school buildings by moving students within school districts and between neighboring school districts.

The Working Group's product clearly points more toward achievement than racial balancing and also suggests the integration revenue be delivered only to school districts with diversity levels at or above the state average. This would clearly redistribute integration revenue and even though the revenue distribution portion of the Working Group Report is not part of the K-12 omnibus bill, the specter of this redistribution occuring at some time in the future is clearly influencing the discussion of the issue. I will try to unearth the data run on the Working Group formula changes and distribute it to all of you.

Here is a link to the 2005 Legislative Auditor's Report on Integration Revenue:

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