House Education Finance Finishes Its Bill, Senate Does the Same Tomorrow. Things are moving along pretty quickly, as the House Education Finance Committee flew through its bill--HF 3171--this morning, considering a number of amendments (and adopting some) without having to run overtime. Rather than offer countless amendments across a broad range of issues, the Republican minority zeroed in on a couple of areas where they differ with the DFL majority and offered amendments aimed at these sections. The area that received the most attention was early childhood scholarships, which are not increased in HF 3171. While the Republican amendment did not increase revenue for early childhood scholarships, it changed the distribution to direct more revenue to rural counties. The amendment was not adopted. One of the election strategies the Republicans appear to be employing is a contention that rural Minnesota is being left behind in the distribution of funding by the DFL majority. I don't know how that approach will work, but it is certainly being readily employed. We'll have to wait until November to find out.
The Senate released its bill online and will run it through the committee process tomorrow. The bill is smaller and with different funding priorities than the House bill. The total target for funding in the bill is $41 million, but only slightly over $8 million goes to the K-12 system. The largest increases in the budget go to early childhood scholarships ($12 million) and an increase of just under $12 million for ECFE.
Here are links to the bill's text and the budget and levy tracking sheets for the bill:
Bill Text: http://www.senate.mn/committees/2013-2014/3062_E-12_Division/sc9812-3.pdf
Bill Summary: http://www.senate.mn/committees/2013-2014/3062_E-12_Division/20140326154046093.pdf
Budget Tracking Sheet: http://www.senate.mn/committees/2013-2014/3062_E-12_Division/14,%20Appropriations%20-%20E12%20Omnibus%20Supplemental.pdf
Levy Tracking Sheet: http://www.senate.mn/committees/2013-2014/3062_E-12_Division/14,%20Levies%20-%20E12%20Omnibus%20Supplemental.pdf