Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sen. Ogden Wants Total Control Of Our Public Schools

This via the Quorum Report (R & D Department), WITH OGDEN AMENDMENT, SB8 RADICALLY POLITICIZES THE FINANCING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
Senate Bill 8, the currently-active school finance bill that was reported out of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, has been transformed by a last-minute amendment into potentially the most destructive re-write of school funding to be voted out of a legislative committee in the past thirty years.

That is not an overstatement. Under the Ogden amendment, SB8 would abandon the statutory protections that guaranty a level of equity within our current system. It would instead give three senators and three representatives (a majority of each session’s appropriations conference committee), the ability to re-write or individually fund, or not fund, several of the key school funding provisions. By careful manipulation, they could reward their own districts or punish the districts of other members. They could do this using formulas that are intended to reflect cost differences that districts must pay or that partially equalize the ability of school districts to fund their programs.

If this massive surrender of authority were to become law, the only defense future legislators would have would be to vote down the entire general appropriations bill.

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