Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Morning Coming Down.  There are a lot of song titles that could be used to describe what went on yesterday and will be going on today and tomorrow.  I'm just hoping the song title "Most of Us are Sad" (a deep cut from the Eagles' first album) isn't going to be one of them.

As I reported yesterday, the Legislature has put together its bill--a $400 million package that is heavily tilted toward the basic formula--and it is expected that the Governor will veto the bill per his comments yesterday.  The Governor wants a $550 million education package that contains at least $173 million dedicated toward universal pre-kindergarten.  The math doesn't really add up, but the math is the smallest problem in the process right now.  There is a huge rift between the Legislature and the Governor, which to some extent is understandable in the sense that the House of Representatives is controlled by a different party than the Governor's, but the disconnect between the Senate and the Governor is hard to fathom at this point.

The formula "broom" really swept a lot of provisions from both the House and Senate bills to the side.  The Senate bill had a greater number of small--but important--provisions than did the House and almost all of them were went into the shredder.

The highlight for SEE (outside of the formula increase of 1.5%/2.0%) is the inclusion of the Senate's facilities provision that will expand over the next three years districts' ability to fund deferred maintenance.  SEE also was very supportive of eliminating the cap on the Alternative Compensation program, but the bill does not go that far.  Instead, the agreement adds $9.5 million to the program, which will accommodate a number of districts that are poised for having their Alternative Compensation program approved by the Minnesota Department of Education.  That will still leave a lot of districts on the outside looking in when it comes to funding the teacher development and evaluation mandate.

I just watched an interview with Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith as I am writing this entry and she reiterated that it is the Governor's intention to veto the bill that has been agreed to by the Legislature.  That means the next 37 hours are going to be hectic.

I will provide more details on the content of the bill and the machinations of the process throughout the day, so stay tuned.

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