May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009

Update for April 27 – May 1, 2009 — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director

In This Issue
Important Dates
At the Capitol
A Look Ahead
What Can I Do?
At the Website

“If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.”

Important Dates

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Conference committees on omnibus appropriation and tax bills must report bills to the floor by this date.

Contact each of the conferees and tell them you want to see
the Minnesota Miracle provision — Article 9 — in the final E-12 Education Omnibus bill.

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

 

What is Happening at the Capitol?
It has come down to this: the fate of the Minnesota Miracle is in the hands of 11 elected officials — 10 conferees and 1 governor.

Are you tired of funding your schools through wrapping paper sales and levies? I am! The most important part of this year’s education omnibus bill is in the House version. It is the New Minnesota Miracle. Both the House and the Senate began work on this bill more than two years ago, but it is only the House that has carried it this far. Please note that the bill has funding for the new formula beginning in 2014 and, as Chair Greiling keeps pointing out to the conferees, if the economy does not recover enough to fund the new formula by 2014 that date can be pushed back. BUT PUTTING IN LAW A FUNDING FORMULA THAT PROVIDES FOR A GREATER DEGREE OF FAIRNESS AND DEPENDABLITY SHOULD BE A PRIORITY OF THESE CONFEREES. It is the one ray of hope in the bill. We applaud the House for its courage and forward thinking. We strongly encourage the Senate members to agree.

The conference committee for the E-12 Education Omnibus bill has begun.
The conferees were appointed and they have met three times this week. Just a word on process: The committee is chaired by Rep. Greiling and Sen. Stumpf. With each meeting, the chair function passes from one to the other. This is very important, because s(he) who holds the gavel calls the meeting and does not have to adjourn until they wish. They control a great deal of what can happen. If I am holding the gavel, I can choose to wait until an agreement is met before calling the committee to the table. Also, it is important to remember that an omnibus bill cannot be amended once it has left the committee process. It must pass or fail off the floor “as is,” so what happens in the conferencing process is incredibly important.

The conference committee walked through the bill, seeking explanations for each others’ provisions, and on Thursday night and Friday they accepted those provisions that are the “same” or “similar” from each bill. One of these accepted provisions that is of great interest is the establishment of a Minnesota Reading Corps program for increased literacy instruction.

Tracking a conference committee can be a frustrating experience since they usually wait until the end of one meeting to decide when they will meet next. If you miss a meeting, you fall out of the loop! We will be there to keep YOU in the loop!

In this issue

 

The E-12 Education Omnibus bill conferees —
From the House:

And from the Senate:

Setting Targets Gets a Facelift
House Speaker Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Pogemiller have taken the target conversation public. Using the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy meetings, they are placing a high priority on transparency in the setting of targets. In the recent past, this has been done behind closed doors. Setting targets is the process where each body — the House, Senate and Governor — come to agreement on what they will spend in each of the areas of government — E-12 education, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Transportation, Environment etc. Seeing this target setting done in the light of day is a welcome addition to the legislative process.
Conference committees need these targets before they can complete their omnibus bills. The conference committees are to finish their work by May 7. Understanding the differences in approach taken by the House, Senate and Governor is critical.

In this issue

 

A Look Ahead
Really good resources for more information, in addition to our website, are Brad’s Blog, AMSD’s website, and for daily updates try the Minnesota School Boards Association lobby line, 1-800-864-6722.

What Can I Do?
Contact each of the conferees and tell them you want to see the Minnesota Miracle provision in the final E-12 Education Omnibus bill.

In this issue

 

At the Website

Stay on top of all the education news through our complete news source.

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.
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
651-999-7391
www.parentsunited.org