Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Senate DFL Releases Education Priorities.  It's a comprehensive list, but one cannot help but be impressed with the Senate DFL caucus' ambitious list of education priorities for the 2015 session.  Senator Chuck Wiger and five of his colleagues outlined an package that would cost and estimated $500 million of education funding initiatives.  SEE's top legislative priority of fair facilities funding is contained in the set of priorities and Senator Kevin Dahle's statement at the press conference was a clear indication of the caucus' support for comprehensive action in this area.  The other priorities described at the press conference included:

  • Funding for school breakfast.
  • A matching grant program to help school districts add school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, and school nurses to their staffs.
  • Increased revenue for technology and expansion of rural broadband.'
  • Expanded opportunities for students to earn dual credit through concurrent enrollment.

About the only things missing from the list were anything but a brief mention of the general education basic formula and the need for on-going teacher development and evaluation revenue.  It;s safe to say that the Senate package surpasses the Governor's $394 million and how the Senate will choose to alter the Governor's overall budget proposal to generate the revenue to fund its education package.  The February budget forecast that is due in three weeks may provide another shot of revenue to the bottom line and that could prove helpful in making all the pieces fit together.

From this tweet, it appears the Governor is open to the Senate's priorities:

The House majority caucus has yet to release a list of their education funding priorities.  They have set a course on several policy reforms, particularly as it relates to the use of seniority in the determination of teacher layoffs.  I think the biggest problem will be reconciling the overall spending targets between the Senate and the House as it is expected that the House will do more in terms of tax cuts.

Here is an article from the StarTribune on the Senate's education proposal:

And here is MPR's take:

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