Sunday, May 16, 2010

House Passes E-12 Conference Committee Report. The motion to send the E-12 conference committee report back to conference failed and after about an hour-and-a-half of debate, the bill passed by a vote of 77-53. A lot of the debate centered around the provision that allows school boards to renew an existing referendum levy for the same amount and term of the question without going before the voters. This led to a very animated discussion about taxpayers' rights (School districts are the only local unit of government that has to go before the voters for basic operating revenue, but that rarely gets mentioned in the discussion of taxpayers' rights.) and the on-going problems with education funding in Minnesota.

I believe one of Representative Greiling's strongest points is that in the absence of the adequate and equitable funding provided by the "New Minnesota Miracle," we have to resort to these measures that basically continue to "kick the can down the road." If we got away from the referendum as a primary engine of basic education funding, a lot of these questions would evaporate, but that's the state of the system we are in right now. All in all, it was a positive discussion that accurately highlighted the difference of opinion on education policy in Minnesota and the nation. That said, we have to get this bill signed and we are one step closer to that with the passage of the bill by the House.

I'll let you know what happens in the Senate, which will take up the bill in about an hour.

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