Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three-for-Tuesday. It was the usual three education-related committee meetings and all completed their work with dispatch. The morning kicked off with more discussion on HF 511, the bill sponsored by Representative Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) that was laid over from last Thursday, in the House Education Policy Committee. HF 511 is another in a line of mandate-relief bills. Some of the provisions (repeal of January 15 bargaining deadline penalty and the maintenance-of-effort provisions for school district support personnel) are contained in other legislation, but I would not be surprised if multiple "vehicle" bills are needed to achieve progress in the area of mandate relief.

The House Education Finance Committee had a very abbreviated meeting in which they discussed HF 576, sponsored by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing). Hf 576 would permanently set the aid payment shift at 70%/30%. It passed on a unanimous vote and is slated to be part of the House omnibus education funding bill.

The Senate Education Committee was dedicated to a presentation of the Governor's budget by Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Dr. Tom Melcher, and Bob Porter. To this point, we have only seen the numbers related to the Governor's proposal and not the language. I am certain there will be more in terms of policy, a vast amount of it non-controversial, that will be revealed once the language to the Governor's bill is available.

Nice to See to SEE Members at the Capitol. A set of MASA Region 5 superintendents were at the Capitol meeting with their legislators today. Included in the group were Pine River-Backus superintendent Cathy Bettino and Brainerd superintendent Steve Razidlo. I had the chance to meet with the group early in the day and it was great to see their energy. Here's hoping they made some headway with their local legislators as we all work together to protect education funding during these critical times.

No comments: