To remedy this situation, Frazee-Vergas took their concerns to the Capitol where their legislators authored a bill to increase the signator threshold to 30 percent. During the Senate education committee hearing, after the compelling testimony by Frazee-Vergas superintendent Deron Stender, Sen. Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista) suggested that instead of simply increasing the threshold, they should remove the provision, thereby removing the opportunity for a group to revoke a levy. That is the provision that prevailed and has now been signed into law by the governor.</p>
</font>Until we are less reliant on levies to fund our schools, this provides protection for all of us who work so hard to pass local levies. In current law we can now be assured that a successful levy will not be pulled out from under us.</li> </ol>
In this issue
Our perspective of the 2009 Session:
First, all three parties — the Governor, the House and the Senate — saw the need for new revenue as well as cuts to balance the state budget. The House and Senate passed bills to raise taxes to provide ongoing revenue. But it was the Governor who first suggested raising revenue by selling $1 billion in appropriation bonds to balance the budget. This point seems to have been lost in much of the rhetoric being heard today.
Next, early in the session, the House and Senate passed the bill, signed into law by the Governor, requiring a balanced budget for two bienniums. The intent was to look beyond using one-time federal stimulus money to “fix the budget” and provide more stability for the state’s economic future. This didn’t happen. For schools, it is difficult to plan with no idea what resources will be. The per pupil funding formula, the lion’s share of funding for our schools, DOES NOT have any inflation built into the appropriation. The stability of the state’s budget needs to be a priority since legislative action in 2001 made schools more dependent on the state budget for survival.
Third, this session has put a laser focus on education funding as a priority in Minnesota. KSTP commissioned a survey showing 54% of Minnesotan’s say school funding should be increased.
Although we are profoundly disappointed that the New Minnesota Miracle did not survive into law, its chief author and champion, Chair Mindy Greiling, created an enormous amount of heat and light around the concept. In the halls of the Capitol people would say, “Will she ever give up?” She didn’t.
You may hear that there was not enough reform in the formula. The irony is that the funding formula WAS the reform — a reform that provided the resources for all of the new mandates that state and federal legislators have put into play since 1971 when we had the first Minnesota Miracle. One might say the miracle was that the state would fund what it mandated.
Countless times, this new funding formula was debated in committee hearings, editorials, hearings around the state and Capitol events, and it was not until the bitter end that the New Minnesota Miracle was taken out of the final bill. Rumor has it that late one night, toward the end of session, the governor’s Pay for Progress and Qcomp expansion were rolled into the Miracle. The first Minnesota Miracle was first presented in 1967 and did not pass into law until 1971 — after two elections, including one gubernatorial election. It will be back.
Another great disappointment is the rhetoric that surrounds the state budget and, by extension, our children. The pitting of our children against our seniors and all the other vulnerable community members in Minnesota is beyond harmful. In Wednesday’s (May 20) Pioneer Press, Sarah Janacek, referred to as “a Republican” and “publisher of Politics in Minnesota,” was quoted as saying she “thinks that most voters will applaud Pawlenty for making a big bold move” and “to be crass, a lot of these cuts are going to disproportionately impact DFL voters.” Is this going to be the tenor as we move forward? Are the powerful simply going to “cut off” the powerless? It is not naïve to hold our elected officials to a higher standard; indeed one could argue that it is our duty to do so.
In this issue
For a flavor of how the session ended, these resources pretty much cover the gambit:
In this issue
What Can I Do?
Stay tuned as we continue to analyze provisions of the 2009 E-12 Omnibus bill over the next several months!
Check out all the News and Hot Topics at our website!
In this issue
“Childhood has no rewind: Our children cannot go back to grade school and
get another education when times are better and we all have more to give.
When the playground is empty and the children are gone,
either we will have sacrificed for them, or we won’t.”
</wbr></wbr>—from a Parents United poster
Please join Parents United in our efforts to build the political will and community consensus necessary to provide a world class education for all Minnesota students.
Donate online — it’s quick and secure.
Thank you! You are a valued partner in our work.
We welcome your feedback on this update and our work. Please take a few minutes to let us know what’s helpful to you.
Questions? Email Mary Cecconi
Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, MN 55108
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