The pros and cons of the dueling education proposals at the Capitol

418px-The_Three_Bears_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19993On MPR yesterday: Minn. House DFLers release education proposal: “The plan is the latest in a series of dueling education proposals at the Capitol that are playing out as a kind of ‘Three Bears’ scenario. The Senate education bill cuts funding for schools, the governor’s proposal increases funding and the House version keeps funding flat. “

It’s not clear yet where our Northfield-area legislators stand on these education proposals, as neither David Bly nor Kevin Dahle has blogged anything specific about them. (continued)

Being teachers, maybe they both have to be very careful but with a month to go, it would seem to be time to let the citizenry know their thinking, their dilemmas, their druthers, etc.

See also:

3 comments to The pros and cons of the dueling education proposals at the Capitol

  • 1
    Kevin Dahle says:

    The Senate Education bill passed off the Senate floor last week. The Senate bill differs from the House and the Governor’s education bill because it makes some cuts to education.

    Why would the Senate approve a bill that cuts education? The state has a $6.4 billion deficit. Education makes up 40% of the state’s budget. Holding education harmless means even greater cuts to health and human services, local government aid, higher education, public safety and the courts. The Senate bill does not rely on accounting shifts or delayed payments to schools. Payment shifts have to be paid back. They serve as a short term solution to a long term budget problem. The Governor and House plans both employ shifts, and the House proposal has an unprecedented $1.7 billion in delayed payments.

    Federal stimulus dollars will soften the blow. A 7% cut, in reality, will be closer to a 1-3% cut as federal money flows directly to schools, primarily in areas of special education and Title 1 programs. Some school districts will actually receive more federal dollars this biennium than they will lose in cuts. The Senate bill does not make cuts to special education or early childhood education. Pre-kindergarten allowance programs will actually expand and see increased funding. In addition, the Senate bill allows schools to access capital reserves, staff development set-asides, and other dedicated funds as a flexible option to replace lost general fund dollars.

    In the overall state budget, the Senate cuts more than the House or the Governor. It does not rely on budget shifts or borrowing gimmicks. These calculated cuts are also based on an additional $2.2 billion in new revenue, a concept the Governor flatly rejects. Failure to raise additional revenue means even larger cuts to education, our hospitals, nursing homes, and other areas of the health care budget.

    The Governor’s education increases support expanding Q-Comp, the alternative teacher pay for performance program… an unproven program with questionable results currently in place in less than a third of Minnesota schools. None of that money would reach the classroom directly.

    I am absolutely opposed to the idea of making cuts to education. These cuts are not permanent. But we face an unprecedented economic crisis that requires shared sacrifice. If we make tough decisions now by crafting a balanced budget, as the economy improves we can reinvest in our schools and our most precious asset, our children.

    What will the final education bill look like? That remains to be seen. But the House, Senate, and Governor will need to find a way to work together, find a responsible balanced budget, and collectively share in that sacrifice while making tough decisions now.

  • 2
    Kathie Galotti says:

    Delighted to see a proposal that is honest and up front and doesn’t make use of gimmicks or misleading rhetoric.

  • 3
    Griff Wigley says:

    Thanks for the update, Senator Dahle. It’s a little hard to read between the lines but I think there’s an implied criticism in your remarks of the House DFL’ers and their flat funding approach to K-12 funding. I hope to see something from Rep. Bly soon!

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