MSBA at the Capitol — Education Conference Committee wraps up walkthrough of omnibus bill

MSBA at the Capitol — Education Conference Committee wraps up walkthrough of omnibus bill

The Education Finance Conference Committee completed its side-by-side walkthrough of the Omnibus Education Finance Bill (HF 844) on Wednesday.

Sen. Chuck Wiger asked for testimony on three topics that are important to the Senate: long-term facilities maintenance revenue, alternative compensation expansion (Q Comp) and statewide testing.

MSBA lobbyists took this opportunity to once again highlight our primary issue — receiving a 3 percent increase on the general education funding formula for both years of the next biennium (see a part of the testimony below).

The conference committee is going to resume work 2 p.m. Thursday in Room 112 of the State Capitol Building. Please continue to contact the conferees and urge them to support the 3 percent increase on the funding formula.

House Conferees

Senate Conferees

MSBA’s Denise Dittrich’s testimony to the conference committee:

“On behalf of the 332 public school boards across the state, we express our appreciation of the time and commitment you have put into the E-12 omnibus education bills and the time you will put into negotiating the final education funding bill for the next two years.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I would like to point out that MSBA sent out a letter to each conferee outlining school boards’ priorities this session. Our first priority has been and continues to be to receive at least a 3 percent basic formula increase. We believe it is imperative that we fund the formula first since this will provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of students fairly. This is our highest priority.

Our No. 2 priority would be to re-establish the long-term facilities maintenance revenue and equalization aid.

Our No. 3 priority would be to eliminate the cap on alternate compensation or to supplement the Teacher Development and Evaluation revenue.

This is more than money. This affects school climate, teacher appreciation, professionalism, rewarding performance and this ultimately affects the ability to attract, retain and train teachers … (school boards need) flexibility to treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are. This allows some students in some school districts to benefit from what the resources provide.

These are resources that a handful of districts have had access to (some for nearly 10 years). This is yet another inequity in our state education funding system. I would be so bold to say this does not meet our constitutional vision of a ‘uniform system’ of public schools. We encourage you to invest in provisions that provide greater equity vs. provisions that create a greater inequity.”

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