Every week, Executive Director Scott Croonquist updates members with information on the legislature, relevant events and current news.
Association of Metropolitan School Districts Update
April 21, 2016
Budget Survey Released
AMSD’s budget survey was released this morning. You can find the press release and budget survey on our website here: http://www.amsd.org/2016-legislative-session
The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Means Committee are expected to wrap up their respective supplemental budget bills today. The bills will likely come up on the House and Senate floor next week and will then move on to a conference committee. There continues to be major differences between the House and Senate on not only the supplemental budget bill but also the tax bill, transportation bill and bonding bill. Whether or not they will be able to find a compromise on their wide differences is the most frequently asked question at the Capitol. We are now down to the final month of the session with the constitutionally mandated adjournment date of May 23 on the horizon.
Summaries of the E-12 finance and policy proposals, the bill tracker, legislator contact information and more can be found on the web site: http://www.amsd.org/2016-legislative-session
I have received questions about a couple of specific issues and here is some information:
Civics Test – the House E-12 bill includes a provision that establishes a new required test in civics. As the proposal currently stands, it would not be a high stakes test but every student would be required to take the civics test and answer 30 out of 50 questions correctly. School districts would be required to record on the student’s transcript whether the student correctly answered 30 civics test questions correctly. The 50 questions would come from the questions U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers use for the application for naturalization and would be selected each year by the Learning Law and Democracy Foundation in consultation with civics teachers. This would be effective for students entering ninth grade in the 2017-18 school year and later. This provision is not in the Senate bill but will likely be offered as an amendment on the floor. If you have concerns about this provision, I encourage you to contact your local legislators.
Referendum Equalization – while our bill increasing operating referendum equalization did not receive a hearing, there continues to be interest in addressing the issue among some key legislators. As you know, nothing is ever dead at the Capitol until the final gavel comes down. I encourage those of you interested in this issue to continue to advocate for it with your local legislators, legislative leadership and especially the House and Senate Tax Chairs – Sen. Rod Skoe, Sen. Ann Rest, Rep. Greg Davids and Rep. Steve Drazkowski. We don’t know what opportunities may arise in the Tax Conference Committee deliberations so it is not time to give up on increased equalization. Here is a link to contact information for the tax chairs and other legislative leaders: http://www.amsd.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Leadership-Contact-List-2016-2.pdf
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