Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Education Bills Moving Today.  The omnibus education bills in both the House and Senate are at their appropriate stops this morning.  I am sitting in the Senate Finance Committee watching them consider SF 453.  The House Tax Committee will be hearing HF 630 momentarily and in the absence of immediate legalization of cloning, I'll have to run between committees..  There likely won't be a lot of action at either of these venues as these committees tend to review the bills for their macro-effects and not particular policy initiatives.  While that isn't always the case, I haven't heard any rumblings that consideration of any changes are afoot.  I'll be back later with some other observations.

EDIT 1:  Shows you how much I know.  The Senate Finance Committee is embroiled in a discussion over whether or not to delay implementation of the teacher evaluation process passed in 2011 by one year, from the 2014-2015 school year to the 2015-2016 school year.  I'm trying to calculate the reason for the proposed delay, but most likely it's because as the Senate bill currently stands does not include a line-item appropriation for the teacher evaluation process as in the Governor's bill.  Not wanting to foist an unfunded mandate on school districts (at least this unfunded mandate), it is my guess that the Senate wants to delay the teacher evaluation process until money is available.  Teacher evaluation will obviously cost money (estimates vary but go as high as almost $200 million per year) and districts not participating in the alternative compensation will especially be under duress as they try to implement this process.  Opponents to the delay are stressing that the delay is a policy issue and that the Senate Finance Committee should be involved only in the level of appropriations in the bill.  That has basically been the tradition over the years (especially in the recent past) but at the same time, there are fiscal implications as to whether or not the teacher evaluation process should proceed without a corresponding appropriation for that purpose.

EDIT 2:  The amendment to delay the teacher evaluation process by one year passed on a 10-9 vote.

And now we are back to discussion to the bill as a whole.

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