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Note: I am repeating this action alert from last week as it's that critical that you act now!
**Action Alert - Set the Education Budget Target High**
On Thursday, top leadership - the Governor, Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House - began marathon negotiations that will continue over the weekend with the plan to release the budget targets on Monday (May 6) . Each target is the amount of new money directed to every area of the government. Read more. The education target agreed to by leadership dictates the quality of education that school districts can provide for their students. Will schools maintain current programming and class sizes, or will painful cuts be required? It all depends on the target.
Legislators need to hear from their voters. Now is the time to make noise by contacting your legislators with the following message. Your own words are best, but you can paraphrase or simply cut and paste the message below.
Please support our schools by asking your leadership to set the education budget target high enough to provide an additional 3% increase on the basic formula for next year and a 2% increase the following year. Also, the budget target must include funding to stop the growth of the unfunded cost of special education services.
If you can, add your thoughts on why this is so important to you. Here's my pep talk. Don't paralyze yourself with worry about getting your words and the message exactly right. Just share your thoughts and send it!
Top leadership set this past Wednesday as a deadline to complete all major budget bills in both the House and Senate and select the conference committee members for each budget area. They are on track with the budget bills. Last week the House passed the education omnibus bill on a mostly party-line vote of 78-55, same with the Senate that passed its bill on a vote of 37-33. To be eligible to serve on the conference committee, a legislator must vote yes on the bill. Thus, it's not unusual to see a couple of minority members siding with the majority party. However, in these cases, any claim of the bill having bipartisan support can be misleading.
The House has selected its education conference committee members. I expect to see the posting of the Senate members at any moment. You can check this page on the SEE website for up-to-date information on the conference committee members and more details on the bills. The conference committee members must take the House and Senate versions of the education omnibus bills and negotiate a single bill. The first education conference committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 6 at 2:00 pm. The committee can work on policy now and prepare to tackle the finance items once the budget target is set. The established deadline for finishing the final omnibus bills is Monday, May 13. The session ends on May 20.
Education Conference Committee Members
Senate - not released yet
Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL- Minneapolis) - Chair of Education Finance
The Senate members will be listed here once the members are announced.
Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL - St. Paul) - Chair of the Early Childhood Finance and Policy