July 9, 2005 – Parents United Network Update

July 9, 2005 – Parents United Network Update

 

Parents United Network Update July 9, 2005

 

Well it’s over—almost.

 

The Education Working group met today with authorized targets.  The target for E-12 was $800 million. This includes $139 million is local levies and $95 million in tax shift.  

 

You will note that this is $67 Million under the targets being floated by both the Senate and the governor over the last 6 weeks.  The simple truth is that they could not come up with acceptable revenue to fund Health and Human Services, Education and Transportation.  This is not news to those of us who have watched the last three years in this state’s budgeting process.

 

What this means for E-12 Education?

 

  • 4%/4% on the per pupil formula

(At this time the question of linking or de-linking is up to the Education Working group) If the formula is linked—compensatory aid and transportation sparsity—will each  increase by the 4%—but leaves the working group around $80 million to spend on other projects.  If they de-link the formula, they will have $148 million to use to fund projects—however, unless specific legislation is passed to increase the de-linked compensatory and transportation sparsity dollars, these would remain flat.

  • QComp using blended House and Senate language at $78.5 million in aid plus $9 million in levy.

  • Get Ready Get Credit $11.6 million
  • Early Childhood $10 in aid—this is far below any of the offers—the last offers had the Governor at $11 million, the House at $21 million and the Senate at $35 million.   

  • The referendum cap is lifted to 26% of the new per pupil formula (current law has it at 18.6%)

  • Grandfathered districts have an addition $200 in levy authority

  • There is $32 million in school board levy authority 

  • They need to fund special education in the amount of $24 million to maintain effort for federal funds.

The E-12 Education working group will meet tonight and possibly tomorrow. They will be working on spending the allocated dollars—either $80 million or $148 million. They  have until Monday at to finish the work and turn it over to staff who will  ready it for a floor vote on  Wednesday.  The plan is to pass all outstanding bills during the same floor session on Wednesday and be finished by Wednesday.

 

So what happened?

 

First congratulations are in order for every parent and citizen who worked to make this issue a priority throughout this session.  First, this is the largest amount public schools have received on the per pupil formula in a very long time. Also notice there are no policy issues presently in this bill that would bleed money from our public schools.

 

Last fall, most people thought if we received 2% on the formula it would be a coup—well we doubled that! Well done!! It is aggravating that this increase will still mean major cuts to our schools throughout the state and once again we see the dollars dispensed in a very irregular manner.  If anything, this session has made the case for finishing the work of the Governor’s Education Finance Task Force to determine how much does it cost to educate a child and how should we pay for a public education system in Minnesota.

 

I will be out of the office until July 18.  If you need to get a hold of me please call. When the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” crossed, I will do an analysis of the bill with all the specifics.  Until then, it has been a pleasure working with all of you!