No! That's ketchup. I'm talking about catching up on the last couple of days at the Legislature since the Governor announced his one-time infusion of $138 million into the E-12 education budget. That afternoon, the Senate passed its version of the E-12 education policy bill on a vote of 42-25. Included in the floor debate was the adoption of an amendment that most observers found surprising, and that was Senator Susan Kent's amendment to strip the 5-star rating system for school districts based on test scores out of the bill. Two Republican legislators joined the entire DFL caucus and passed the amendment on a vote of 35-32. This leaves the House bill with the only place where the 5-star rating system sits, which may be enough to derail its passage during the 2018 legislative session. Another provision of note was adopted as part of Senator Pratt's--the bill's chief author--amendment is a three-month delay in the deadline for new teacher licensure rules to be finalized by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.
Governor Vows Hard Push on Funding Increase. The Governor held another press conference today on his proposal to provide one-time emergency funding of $126 per pupil unit to school districts and charter schools for the coming school year. This press conference included statements from a number of school officials. It was great to see a SEE district represented in the person of Mora high school teacher Joy Whitbread. Other speakers included St. Paul superintendent Joe Gothard, Winona teacher Matt Reuter, and Benson superintendent Dennis Laumeyer.
Here is a link to the press release summarizing today's press conference: Educators Join Governor Dayton to Urge Support for Emergency School Aid
Governor Urges Passage of School Safety Measure. In addition to his push on increased basic education funding, the Governor also issued a press release calling on the Legislature to pass a stand-alone school safety bill. The Governor's school safety recommendations were introduced as a single purpose bill two weeks ago (HF 4439/SF 4015) and if negotiations bog down on the major supplemental funding bill, this legislation could serve as the vehicle to fuse elements of the three different approaches to the subject into one final bill.
Here is a link to the Governor's press statement: Governor Dayton to Legislators: Pass School Safety Measures, Now