LAC-DFL Has 2012 Agenda

Well District 281’s DFL Party (aka Legislative Action Coalition) has their wonderful agenda for the 2012 legislative session.  Believe it or not, their agenda isn’t as redundant and horrible as usual.  We almost agree with them on a few issues!  There are, however, some serious red flags.

*The state must fully fund special education so that special education students are well served and resources are not diverted from the general fund.

Of course, we are asking for this for the 93rd straight year.  When are we going to realize that the state is not going to “fully fund” (and in 281 ‘s eyes that means automatic increases every year) before we drop this?

*The state should develop a plan to return to a 90-10 funding pattern and begin paying back the funds owed to schools without impacting current funding levels and set criteria for the reporting of the payback.

While we agree that the shift needs to be paid back, we aren’t sure that it’s possible to pay the shift back and have no impact (ie; not prevent increases in the general formula) on current funding.

3) The state must maintain its commitment to equitable and integrated learning environments as reforms are made to the integration revenue program.

Talk about “edu-speak!” Integrated learning? We know Integration aid was a hot topic last year, but we aren’t sure what the LAC is saying right here. What changes do we support? We’ve thrown integration aid at schools for 10 years and what do we have to show for it?

*Establish an equalized early learning levy to allow school districts to develop or expand school-based early childhood education programs and full-day kindergarten.

OK folks, now it gets serious.  Establish another levy? And, of course it’s for two of the three liberal obsessions; early childhood education and all-day kindergarten (the other being free and reduced lunch). This will be spun like every liberal “idea” as “helping kids in poverty” but no liberal programs ever seem to do that.  Why would anyone think forcing early childhood education and all-day kindergarten would change that?

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

What? Generate and spend financial resources to meet local needs? Read between the lines; they are asking for the ability to extend a referendum without a vote or the ability to have a discretionary levy, both items have been endorsed by the LAC-DFL before. We need to oppose this!! Once our right to vote is gone, these people aren’t going to give it back.

*Current policies and procedures of managing the school trust lands should be reformed to maximize the future revenues from these resources.

*RAS supports allowing locally elected school boards to determine their school calendar including setting the start date.

Now we support this, but we have to wonder why this is such a priority. Are there not more important things to advocate for then the start of school being the day after labor day?

*The state should use growth measures when reporting school and student performance. Growth measures are a more accurate indicator of a student’s and school’s performance and also support schools to improve individualized student instruction.

Again that all sounds good what where are the specifics? What should these growth measures be? What should be the standard? Usually districts like to celebrate “progress” when they do well and when they do poorly they’ll claim the standards are unfair.

Now let’s think about what they left out (and always do).

*Tenure reform

Tenure should be earned, not given to someone after three years. How do you have local control when you don’t have control over your staff. This is perhaps the WORST state mandate.

*Consolidate Districts

Do we really need 350 some odd districts? Can’t we consolidate anything. We could eliminate 25-50 districts and put that money right in the classroom without raising anyone’s taxes.

*Simplify the basic formula

Why is the formula so complex? Do you really need be an IRS agent just to figure out the basic funding formula?

*Pension reform

Pensions are unsustainable. We need to ween our way off them gradually in the public sector.

*Stop taking federal money

Sending your money to Washington and then having them send it back to us with strings attached is the dumbest way to fund anything. All states and districts do is complain, moan, and gripe about federal money so STOP taking it!!!

Let the legislative session begin!

One Response to “LAC-DFL Has 2012 Agenda”

  1. numbersguy Says:

    Nice analysis and list of thing LEFT OUT??

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