Wednesday, April 25, 2007

State Education Budget Update

After a brief lull, things are picking up again. Here's what I can tell you about the next month and a half:

The substitute House bill should be released tomorrow. At that point, we will know what the Committee is recommending be kept and what they are trying to change. At this point, we haven’t heard about an imminent compromise on the Governor’s proposed limits on charters and vouchers. We have heard that those limits are the key points of contention in the education budget.

Once the substitute bill is released, we will have a flurry of amendments, votes on those in committee, another flurry of amendments offered during the floor debate, more votes, then a vote on the House floor. All that is supposed to take place by the middle of next week,

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee has released its schedule (though they only post a week at a time online, so this is what has been reported to me.) They will hear from the Office of Budget and Management and the Legislative Service Commission on May 1. Then for the first three weeks or so of May, they will hear Department testimony. They have scheduled an education day of sorts for May 29. In the morning they will hear from “interest groups” in favor of traditional public schools. Then they have blocked off the afternoon to hear from parents and students of charter and voucher schools.

Gee, a paranoid person might suspect that they have deliberately structured the hearings to make it look like public education advocates are all part of a bureaucracy and charters are totally grassroots. Not that the education stakeholders make it all that difficult to generate such a perception, but the pretense that the charter schools movement doesn’t have its own entrenched and powerful establishment is a bit rich.

Anyway, the substitute bill is due to be submitted June 5, they have cleared the 6th and 7th for open testimony, and amendments are due by June 8. They are declaring their intention to hold the committee vote on June 12 or 13.

And yes! Posting my impressions of the House Committee hearings! Yes! Important! Working on it! Yes!


Jill said...

I think that the charters Mary Taylor said were unauditable should be required to testify. And for balance, public schools that have had difficulty getting out of academic emergency. Though as an overall percentage, my guess is that there is a higher percentage of unauditable charters out of all charters she looked at then there is percentage of schools that are in academic ER.

Thank you for keeping track of all this, Scott.