Doug Birk Hits Paydirt. I haven't been making it my life's work, but I have tried more than once to get a SEE-flavored item on the editorial page of one of the state's major newspapers. Where I have come up short, St. Michael-Albertville school board member Doug Birk has succeeded. Birk's piece was featured in Saturday's edition of the Minneapolis StarTribune and it spells out clearly the plight faced by many SEE-member districts. Although considerable strides were made during the 2013 legislative session to adjust the referendum equalizing factor to regain the value it had lost over the past 20 years and to provide districts without a referendum levy the opportunity to enact a $300/PU board-approved referendum, districts like St. Michael-Albertville (with a referendum of approximately $700/PU) basically stayed in the same place in the overall revenue rankings. (313/334 in general education revenue and 327/334 in all revenue for the 2013-2014 school year). St. Michael-Albertville's rankings are largely due to the fact that they are more greatly reliant on the general education revenue basic amount than districts with either more in terms of categorical revenue or referendum revenue. Birk's piece hits on this point directly and emphatically.
So thanks Doug. Great piece. Helps make some of our points on the need to continue funding reform efforts and raise the general education revenue basic amount to a level that more accurately reflects the cost of educating students in Minnesota.
Doug Birk's StarTribune piece: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/244425141.html
An Issue Lurking Below the Surface. Like most everyone else, I use the internet daily for a variety of purposes. The January ruling that invalidated the policy of net neutrality (the policy that mandated that all internet content travel at the same speed) probably wouldn't be that big a deal for me (outside of me paying more for Netflix), but it could have a very adverse affect on schools that are delivering more and more of their curriculum over the internet. I came across this article in the January 29, 2014, issue of Education Week that outlines some of the challenges school districts and their students may face if the decision to allow internet providers to deliver material at different speeds.