Monday, March 21, 2011

More on House Bill. The House spent eight hours in committee doing the final mark-up on their version of the 2011 education funding and reform bill. The panel took testimony from a broad range of members from the public. Besides lobbyists, a number of teachers, parents, and community leaders provided their input.

Four out of five amendments offered by members of the majority were adopted and all but one--an amendment offered by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing)--were technical in nature. Representative Kelly's amendment clarified that an arbitrator deciding a contract dispute between employees and the board in a school district must take a school district's overall finances into account and not rule in a manner that would damage the structural balance of a district. No amendments were offered by members of the DFL minority.

In my blog entry yesterday, I mentioned the newly-proposed small schools aid categorical formula. The formula gives districts below 1,000 pupil unitss aid equal to the ratio of the district's enrollment to 1,000 pupil units times 0.08 times $5,124. This aid is in addition to elementary and secondary sparsity revenue (which has now been de-linked from formula increases and keys off the same $5,124 amount).

Charter schools also receive this aid and, to my knowledge, every charter school in the state has an enrollment less than 1,000. This funnels a tremendous amount of new revenue to charter schools in addition to small schools throughout the state.

As many of you know, one of my primary complaints with creating new categorical programs is that a proliferation of smaller, focused funding streams erodes the value of the general education basic amount (Remember, you can only spend a dollar once and if it goes to a few districts through a categorical formula, it can't go to every district through an increase in the basic formula amount.).

Further, a number of charter schools do not perform well and they will be receiving significant new revenue even with that fact. That fact seems to be going counter to the direction of rewarding higher levels of achievement with additional revenue found elsewhere in the House bill (and also in the Senate bill).

The House will be finishing up its discussion of the omnibus education funding bill tomorrow. I fully expect it will pass on a straight party-line vote and then be re-referred to the Tax Committee for a hearing later this week. It will then proceed to the Ways & Means Committee and likely hit the House floor early next week.

Here is a link to the House omnibus education funding bill summary:

Senate Bill Unveiled. The Senate Education Committee presented its version of the omnibus education funding bill. The bill is considerably shorter than the House bill and contains far fewer policy initiatives. After staff led the committee on a walk-through of the bill, the committee adjourned. It will mark up the bill tomorrow by taking testimony and considering amendments.

Below is a brief summary of the Senate bill.

Senate Omnibus Education Funding Bill Summary

Article I—General Education

1. Basic Formula Increased

a. $5,174 PPU for 2011-2012 school year

b. $5,224 PPU for 2012-2013 school year

2. Compensatory Revenue Frozen at 2010-2011 Level

3. Elementary and Secondary Sparsity De-Linked (SF 422)

4. Transportation Sparsity De-Linked (SF 422)

5. Maintenance of Effort for District Support Staff (Counselors, Nurses, Social Workers) Repealed (SF 56)

6. Salary Freeze for ALL School District Staff for this Biennium (SF 56)

Article II-Education Excellence

1. Teaching Candidates MUST Pass Examinations in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics Before Being Issued a License.

2. Future Teacher Salary Increases Based on Student Achievement

a. At least 50% of a teacher’s salary increase contained in future contracts must be based on a teacher’s performance and evaluation using student achievement levels as measured on statewide assessments.

b. If no statewide assessment results are available, salary increases must be based on student performance on districtwide assessments of state and local standards and teacher-developed assessments. If no districtwide assessments are available, increases must be based on student performance on teacher-developed and administrator-approved assessments of state and local standards.

3. Qualified Economic Offer for School District Bargaining Proposed

4. Teacher Evaluation and Tenure Reform (SF 636)

5. Full-Service School Zones Proposed (SF 372)

6. ServeMinnesota Innovation Act (SF 390)

7. Career and Technical Levy Increased (SF 451)

8. Integration Aid Extended Through 2011-2012 School Year and Replaced with Literacy Incentive Aid (SF 618/SF 422)

a. Integration Aid re-named Literacy Transition Revenue going to districts at same level as in 2010-2011 School Year.

b. Beginning with 2011-2012 School Year, a two-component categorical—Literacy Incentive Aid—is established. Total revenue generated will be equal to percent of students in each of a district’s buildings who score as proficient on the reading portion of the MCA-IIs averaged across three test administrations times $150 PLUS the percent of students in fourth grade in each of a district’s schools making medium or high growth averaged across three test administrations time $150.

Article III—Special Programs

1. Special Education Revenue Growth Factors Eliminated

Article IV—Facilities and Technology

1. Health and Safety Application Process Streamlined (SF 289)

2. Lease Levy for TIES Building Improvements (SF 315)

Article V—Nutrition and Accounting

1. Levy Recognition Based on Pre-Credit Amounts

2. Districts Can Transfer $51 PPU from Capital Fund to General Fund for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 School Years

Article VI—Libraries

1. Appropriations at Governor’s Recommendations

Article VII—Early Childhood Education

1. Appropriations at Governor’s Recommendations

Article VIII—Prevention

1. Appropriations at Governor’s Recommendations

Article IX—Self-Sufficiency and Lifelong Learning

1. ABE Formula Adjustment at Governor’s Recommendation

2. Appropriations at Governor’s Recommendations

Article X—State Agencies

1. Trial Placement at MSAD Allowed

2. $6 Million Cut to MDE Budget


Terry McDanel said...

More than a third of Minneapolis students do not speak English at home.

We are a small high school for new immigrants in Minneapolis, and are extraordinarily successful at getting our graduates successful starts in community colleges and even 4 year colleges. Our graduates will be very productive taxpayers for generations to come.

What riles me the most is that we are in very steep competition with chartered diploma mills that dump graduates ill-prepared back on the streets with their "diploma". They welcome African and Asian transcripts (which can be bought by relatives for less than a good lunch at the Lexington) with no accounting of corresponding student performance in the classroom in less than 4 years so the immigrant students can escape required Minnesota standardized Grad tests.

When eager students shop for schools they have no way of understanding the outcomes 10 years down the road depending on the school they choose. These chartered sweethearts of Republicans will only benefit if funding cuts extinguish high quality public schools like ours.

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