Archive for November, 2010

The LAC is Back….Yawn!

November 29, 2010

Well the Legislative Action Coalition is back for another session of lobbying!  Here is their agenda for the 2011 legislative session that you HAVE to support or you don’t care about the kids;

* The state must maintain its funding commitment to education, including increasing the basic formula limit of $5,124/student (unchanged since 2008-09) by two percent.
* Establish a plan to incrementally pay back the aid payment shift.
*We support sustainable resources for high quality, research-based programs, especially for high-need students, including:

— The state fully funding its obligation to special education students.
— Early childhood education programs to prepare children to be kindergarten ready.
— Expanded opportunities for extended time programming for students not making adequate yearly progress.
— Maintaining resources that specifically support closing the achievement gap, including compensatory education and integration funds.

* Like all other publicly-elected bodies, schools should be allowed to generate and spend financial resources to best meet local needs, especially when state funding resources are limited.

* School districts should not be penalized for not reaching contract settlements by January 15.
* RAS should not be financially harmed by providing an education under the care and treatment legislation.
* RAS supports reforming the current policies and procedures of managing the school trust lands to maximize the future revenues from these resources.
* RAS should not be negatively impacted by providing state mandated transportation for charter schools.
* The Minnesota Department of Education should be required to develop a model evaluation tool for teachers/principals based on multiple measures that Robbinsdale Area Schools could choose to adopt.

Hmmm….did they forget wanting to give school boards the ability to pass a discretionary levy or extend a referendum without a public vote?  OK, lets agree on a few things here (we have to find agreement when we can).  We wholeheartedly support removing the January 15 deadline as well as the transportation to charter schools.  We also agree that a system of evaluation needs to be created but the LAC seems to stop short of calling for merit pay.  The rest of it looks like the same old stuff.  Think about it; with a $6 billion deficit, what are the odds we are going to get a 2% increase per pupil, more special ed funding, more early childhood ed, integration funds, more programs after school etc.?  Where are things like….

*Combining school districts

*Ending/reforming tenure laws

*Alternative teacher licenses

*Ending/reforming back-door referendums (oh sorry alternative funding)

*Getting out of defined pensions

*More competition and more merit pay

*Simplifying the formula

I’m sure these omissions are pure coincidence.  We can’t wait to see what happens!

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281 CARE Has Day in Court

November 17, 2010

Looks like the three-year-long legal battle between 281 CARE and the Robbinsdale School District is finally coming to a head in court.  Here is some information on the what and where;

281 CARE Committee et al v. Ross Arneson et al, Court File No. 10-1558
November 18, 2010 at 9:00 am
U.S. Court House, 316 North Roberts Street, St. Paul, MN

Before a Three Judge Panel, will hear oral arguments on this Federal Appeals Court case.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens and see if the court upholds free speech rights for everyone!

Adding Your Voice

November 14, 2010

Sorry for the short notice on this but the Community Solutions Group is back in action and is holding a meeting this Tuesday.  Here is the information….

Hello Everyone,

Before the holiday season gets going, I want to get our group back together after the election. We need to get started on the 2011 agenda and planning.

The meeting is at the Fieldhouse Sports Tavern, 5632 West Broadway Avenue, Crystal, MN 55428-3510, (763) 533-3400, http://www.fieldhousetavern.com/
Meeting will be from 6:30 – 8:30 pm on Tuesday, November 16, 2010.

The topics to cover include;

* the possible formation of a Legislative Committee of citizens to promote eduction policy changes & improvements at the MN Legislative. I envision this group coming from the whole metro area and covering multiple school districts.
* Planning on organization structure long-term and funding needs.
* Local races – Openings in 2011 or 2012 in City, Park District or County.
* Other items from attendees.

Please RSVP me back at rkstoffel@cfaith.com (by Monday night 11/15/2010), so I can give an estimated number of people to the Fieldhouse. Everyone is welcome and guests that you think would be interested in our group.

Check out our blog at Community Solutions

Best Regards,
Ron Stoffel, Executive Director

Attend if you can and participate in the process!!!!