While the final days of this legislative session are nearing, yesterday leaders from both the House and Senate proposed three plans to reform the ways schools in our state are financed and end an over-reliance on local levies. These plans are in addition to a plan put forward by State Superintendent Randy Dorn earlier this week. Currently, local levy funding is used to pay for basic education costs, including teacher salaries and school supplies; costs that the State Constitution requires be covered by the State. This is major step forward on one of most vexing challenges confronting the state legislature.
We know that teachers make the biggest school-based difference in a child’s education. Effective school leadership plays a significant role in the academic results of students building-wide. Strategic investments in K–12 teacher compensation and professional learning are necessary to close gaps and improve outcomes for all kids. By ensuring the state is fulfilling its responsibility, we will ensure these critical elements are in place to benefit our children. (more…)
If you’re a baseball fan, the new rules intended to speed up the game are likely a welcome relief. Unfortunately, those same rules don’t apply to the legislative session. This session, once on track for an on-time ending, is now cruising at a speed close to stop—as if stuck in a perpetual pitching change. I won’t use the “righty” or “lefty” metaphor to describe the whole thing, because we’d be looking at a third arm to save this game. And, well, that’s a tortured metaphor even I can’t do.
The current debate—if you can call it that, with both sides pretty much just ignoring the other—centers on an age old polemic: taxes. Whether to raise, what to raise, etc., etc.—Voters, much like the legislators representing them, seem split according to a new Elway poll. Though the divide could be that folks didn’t buy into the forced choice: raise taxes and fully fund education, or don’t raise taxes and cut social services. A choice that hasn’t been forced in the Legislature, and likely won’t be. (more…)
My dad used to say “there are at least two sides to every story. But the truth is always somewhere in the middle.” As far as I could tell, he didn’t have telepathic powers, and if he did, I’m not sure he would have predicted the varied responses to the budget proposals released over this past week. The House has managed to push their proposal through the floor, while the Senate has bogged down a bit in a sea of amendments. The Senate is expected to clear their bill by early next week and then the real fun begins. Making one out of two. Like a legislative version of an arranged wedding from hell.
With only four weeks left until the curtain falls on the legislative session, and with both sides agreeing to a boatload of new cash into education, it might seem that there’s little to debate. (more…)