April 10, 2009

/ 10 April 2009 / Parents United
April 10, 2009

Update for April 6-10, 2009 — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director

In This Issue
Important Dates
At the Capitol
What Can I Do?
A Look Ahead
Bills to Watch
Bills Being Heard

“These are all our children and
we will profit by or pay for
whatever they become.”
                                       </wbr>                              — James Baldwin</wbr>

Important Dates

</span>The third deadline, Thursday, April 16, 2009, is for divisions of the House and Senate Committees on Finance to act favorably on omnibus appropriation bills.</span>

A complete listing of Events is always available at our website.

In this issue


What is Happening at the Capitol?

It has been short week at the Capitol, since most legislators are returning to their home districts for the holiday. This is a really good time to chat with your representatives if you run into them around town.

The House Education omnibus policy bill was finished last week, the House Early Childhood Omnibus bill was unveiled this week with amendments taken up next Tuesday, April 14; the House K-12 Education Finance bill will be heard in committee on April 14 as well. The Senate’s E-12 Omnibus Bill passed off the floor this week.

It’s important to understand the differences in these bills.

The process:
Because of the difference between the Senate and House committee structure, the Senate’s Education Omnibus bill has all policy and finance rolled into one bill for early childhood through grade 12. In the House, there’s an Education Policy bill, a K-12 Education Finance bill, and an Early Childhood bill. At a future date, policy and finance will be rolled into one House Education Omnibus bill and the early childhood provisions will be divided between the Education Omnibus bill and the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill.

The specifics:

  • The House has a zero target, which means they are making no cuts to education. They do this with a property tax shift and federal stimulus money.
  • The Senate has cut education by 7%. They are not using a property tax shift and by using federal stimulus money the aggregate cut to schools is about 3%.
  • Both the House and the Senate call for revenue increases and reductions in mandates.
  • The Governor’s budget increases funding to schools through his initiatives — mostly Pay for Performance and Pay for Progress — and uses property tax shifts, significant cuts to other critical areas of the state budget, and $980 million in bond sales.

When these bills are all passed off the floor, the conference committee process will begin. Members of the Conference Committee reconcile the differing bills into one that will gain support from both the House and the Senate.

In this issue

In the meantime, there are two links I’d like to share with you. One is from the Minnesota Meeting, hosted annually by The Minneapolis Foundation. This year all three of the meetings are focused on education.

Kati Haycock, from Education Trust, and Rudy Crew, former superintendent of New York City and Miami Dade school districts and author of Only Connect: The Way to Save our Schools, spoke at the first luncheon. After both of these guests spoke, Peter Hutchinson, President of the Bush Foundation, moderated a Q and A with the audience. You can watch and listen to this discussion online.

Another great conversation was hosted by Kent Pekel from the University of Minnesota’s Ramp-up to Readiness. He was the host at a conference where Prof. Andreas Schleicher of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shared a fascinating analysis of international data as collected with the PISA:

“The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an internationally standardized assessment that was jointly developed by participating countries and administered to 15-year-olds in schools. The survey was implemented in 43 countries in the first assessment in 2000, 41 countries in the second assessment in 2003, and in 57 countries in the third assessment in 2006; 62 countries have signed up to participate in the 4th assessment in 2009.” — OECD website

As the work at the legislature heats up, link to the Minnesota Budget Project’s blog for the most up-to-the-minute budget analysis.

In this issue


What Can I Do?

  • Attend one of the listening sessions (or give feedback at their website) that U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is hosting on education reform around Minnesota over the next couple of months. Communities that are on the schedule to be visited in the next few weeks are Owatonna, Mankato, Marshall and Bloomington.
  • Review the Arts Academic Standards proposed by the Minnesota Department of Education and provide comment — the public comment period will end on May 1.

Check out all the News and Hot Topics at our website!


In this issue


A Look Ahead
When legislators get back to work Tuesday, April 14, they’ll have about six weeks until the end of the legislative session. Their final decisions will be what our schools need to deal with during the next two years.

Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14 and 15, will see the House Education Finance Bill and the Early Childhood Bill work their way through the committee process — a good time to visit a committee hearing!

In this issue


Bills to Watch

  • HF2 (Greiling-DFL-Roseville) School finance system modified, and new education funding framework created.
  • HF 322 (Nornes-R-Fergus Falls) SF 314 (Skogen-DFL-Hewitt) Signature requirement increased for an election to revoke an operating referendum. 
  • HF1101 (Brown-DFL-Albert Lea) SF 1003 (Stumpf-DFL-Thief River Falls) High quality in public education provided through equitable and adequate funding, and constitutional amendment proposed. 
  • HF 1186 (Mariani-DFL-St. Paul) Center established for legislative educational analysis research and navigation in the next generation.
  • SF 1342 (Bonoff-DFL-Minnetonka) Alternative teacher preparation program and resident teacher license for qualified nontraditional candidates.
  • SF 866 (Saltzman-DFL-Woodbury) Teachers reading instruction competence assessment licensure requirement.
  • HF 1850 (Haws-DFL-ST. Cloud) SF 1569 (Clark-DFL-St Cloud) Administration of training and employment functions reorganized, responsibilities transferred to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
  • HF 1701 (Newton-DFL-Coon Rapids) SF1800 (Fobbe-DFL-Zimmerman) School district obligations clarified to children with disabilities.


In this issue



Bills Being Heard
For more information about any of these bills, check the 2009 Education Bills section of our website.

House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight, Chair Rep. Carlos Mariani
This committee has completed its work for the time being. They may convene again later in April.

  • HF 1080 (Norton-DFL-Rochester) Comprehensive scientifically based reading instruction definition clarified, prekindergarten through grade six teachers requirements made, reading instruction assessment created, and Board of Teaching rules legislative review provided.

House K-12 Education Finance Division, Chair Rep. Mindy Greiling

  • HF 181 (Thissen-DFL-Minneapolis) MinnesotaCare eligibility provisions modified.
  • HF 2224 (Marquart-DFL-Dilworth) School district authority modified to issue and sell certain general obligation bonds without voter approval, and levy authorized for certain other postemployment benefits.
  • HF 2183 (Swails-DFL-Woodbury) South Washington County; ISDN 833 Center for the Arts grant funding provided, money appropriated.
  • HF 981 (Bly-DFL-Northfield) Charter school provisions amended, New Schools Minnesota commission established, private nonprofit corporation authorized.

House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division, Chair Rep. Nora Slawik

  • HF 1850 (Haws-DFL-St. Cloud) Administration of training and employment functions reorganized, responsibilities transferred to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
  • Walk through Omnibus Early Childhood Finance and Policy
  • HF 1026 (Slawik-DFL-Maplewood) Early childhood education provisions amended. Discussion only.

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.”
—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.
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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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