Thursday, March 24, 2011

Koch and Kiff: "cuts for thee, but not for me"

Amid all the negative things you hear about schools, and cutting school funding, and bringing those darn teachers in to line, it is really nice to see some legislators are trying to help schools. Sen. Amy Koch and Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, specifically.

What? You can read more in the Strib story here.

Well, they are schools in Koch and Kiffmeyer's own districts. Somebody else's schools? Heaven forfend! Both bills are very short, so short they fit nicely in the space provided here. First, here's Kiffmeyer's bill.
The purpose of this bill is to allow the Elk River district to take money out of its "debt redemption" fund and put it in the operating fund.

Why is this necessary? Because the district can't make ends meet on the per pupil funding from the state, of course.

But won't that result in the district being short of money to pay the debt for capital improvements? Well, probably, but that's where Amy Koch  -- who also represents part of Elk River school district -- rides to the rescue.
According to the Strib article:
One of the bills, which has been introduced on behalf of Elk River and several other districts, would award Elk River more than $7 million a year until the building bonds are paid. That would lower the percentage of the district's property tax revenues that go to debt repayment, bringing it to the metro average. Other districts that would benefit from that bill include Farmington, St. Michael-Albertville, Eastern Carver County, and Centennial, district officials said. [Elk River Superintendent] Bezek acknowledged that the bill's chances to become law are probably slim.
Kiffmeyer's bill has a companion of sorts in the Senate, authored by Sen. David Brown, SF 475. Brown is also a coauthor of the Koch bill, reproduced above.

The practical effect of this little legislative chicanery play is to subsidize the operating budget of Elk River's schools, and a few others in Republican districts, but not other schools uniformly. And it does so in a way that permits the schools to use money initially levied for capital investments for operations. If you have it.

Operational starvation comes to Elk River schools as well as, say, Minneapolis schools, on the per pupil formula, but we'll figure out a way to help the schools in Koch and Kiffmeyer's districts - and Pat Garafalo's, too, incidentally - but certainly not in Minneapolis.

Republican legislative leaders obviously recognize the inadequacy of education funding, but seem only willing to address it in weasely ways for favored districts. Disgusting.

A thump of the tail to Two Putt Tommy for the link to the Strib story.

No comments: