April 25, 2008

/ 25 April 2008 / Parents United
April 25, 2008

Update for April 21-25, 2008 — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director

Parents United’s News and Events page
has lots of great information and
up-to-the-minute education news.
Check it out!

Important Date
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Legislature is set to adjourn

“The world is run by those who show up.”




What is happening at the Capitol?

From the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits:

“The Governor released a new budget offer today that is surprisingly mean-spirited. On Monday, the Governor offered to take only $125 million from the Health Care Access Fund to solve the budget deficit (instead of the $250 million he initially recommended) in exchange for $125 million in other budget reductions. Today, he detailed where he would recommend making the reductions — all in health and human services.”

A copy of the Governor’s letter is posted on the Minnesota Budget Project blog.

In essence, the Governor would recommend cuts to General Assistance Medical Care eligibility, Medical Assistance benefits or eligibility, and “other reductions in health and human services grants and programs.”

Parents United for Public Schools has gone on record as saying that although we advocate for school funding that is sustainable and sufficient, this cannot be done on the backs of the other programs our children and their families need.

In strictly education news:

We have a month to go and we are in a “wait and see” mode. It is frustrating for all. We are watching for the policy bills to make it off the floor in each body, the conferees to be appointed, and the conference committee process to begin. The Senate has passed its policy bill and the House is supposed to be taking up theirs on Monday.

A reminder: the House and Senate aligned their funding priorities for schools and those provisions are still moving through the process in the larger supplemental budget bills in each body. In order to provide some relief for schools those provisions include:

  • $51 per pupil of one-time money.
  • The option for a school district to transfer–once–an additional $51 from their capital reserves, if the district has those reserves.
  • $936,000 for Kindergarten health and development screening.
  • Clearer language for levy ballots.
  • An increase in lease levy from $100-$150.
  • An additional $36 per pupil, beginning in 2009-2010, from eliminating the general fund transfer for the permanent school fund.

A Look Ahead at the Week of April 28

Committee meetings and bills scheduled to be heard change frequently! Be sure to check the daily schedule of hearings and agendas.

Once the policy bills are through the House and the Senate, a conference committee will be appointed and meetings will begin again in earnest. Just a point of reference: if a bill goes through the conference committee process, it cannot be amended once it comes back on the floor—it is a straight up or down vote—so what happens in conference committee stays in the bill. The Governor, of course, does have veto authority.

“That the public understands that funding is the greatest problem facing the schools will have no practical significance unless we can find ways to translate this sentiment into better funding for schools. The day is gone when school people could concentrate on operating schools and leave others to take care of funding. School leaders, teachers, and parents have no choice but to become lobbyists for their schools. They are the best advocates for public schooling.”

—from 39th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll

Questions? Email Mary Cecconi

Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, MN 55108

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