Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Report.  It was another pretty quiet day at the Capitol.  The biggest education-related story was the presentation of the Governor's Education Funding Working Group recommendations to the Senate E-12 Funding Division.  Dr. Tom Melcher did a great job (again) describing the high points of the report to the division. Mary Cecconi, Executive Director of Parents United and a member of the task force, also did a great job outlining the process that the task force took in reaching its conclusions and adding some commentary and how and why certain policy paths were taken.

For those of you who haven't heard the synopsis before, the Working Group recommendations, here are the high points for SEE member districts:

  • Restoration of the general education levy that was eliminated as part of Governor Ventura's "Big Plan" in 2001.
  • Increases in the referendum and debt service equalization factors.
  • Adjustment of the general education basic amount to reflect the amount lost to inflation over the past decade.
  • Roll-in of the first $300 per pupil unit of the referendum, which provides new revenue to any district with a referendum less than $300 per pupil.
  • Increase in the special education appropriation.

That's not to say everything in the report works well for SEE districts.  Metro SEE districts take a bit of a hit in the proposed changes to the compensatory formula, the integration revenue formula, and the equity formula.  It will be interesting to see how many of the recommendations become part of the Governor's budget, which will be presented next week.

Here is a link to the MDE webpage dedicated to the working group proceedings.  All of the documents are available for download:

The House Education Finance Committee heard a presentation from staff outlining the basics (and beyond) of Minnesota's education funding system.  The House Education Policy committee heard from several panelists on the subject of high school to post-secondary education.  Primary testimony came from Irondale High School, MnSCU, and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.  The Senate Education Policy Committee met for the first time this session and heard from Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Casselius on the services provided by her department and some of the department's accomplishments of the past two years and some of the initiatives they will likely pursue in the session ahead.


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