State news roundup for November 17, 2012
Children of New Jersey Education Association members pitch in to help with the hurricane relief efforts. Photo courtesy of NJEA.
Wisconsin – State superintendent’s budget request stresses Fair Funding for all schools
Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers today introduced his 2013-15 budget request, one that includes his Fair Funding for Our Future plan as well as seven new categorical aid programs. The DPI said Evers’s budget request “would start the state on a path to the return to two-thirds state support.”
Evers stressed at a news conference in West Allis today that Wisconsin can reinvest in its schools and fix its school finance system while protecting property taxpayers by enacting his “Fair Funding for Our Future” plan.
“We can do right for our kids,” Evers said. “This Fair Funding plan is a realistic and ready first step that provides solutions that are good for education and our economic future.”
Find out more about the Fair Funding plan at WEAC.org.
New Jersey – Members and staff help Ocean County go back to school
Students and staff in five Ocean County school districts had some basic classroom materials as they returned to school today after more than a week’s closure following Hurricane Sandy. None are returning in the near future to their home schools and have been relocated to spaces in area high schools, churches, and other sites where room has been made for them.
About 50 NJEA members from Ocean County—including displaced staff from Boyd Elementary School in Seaside Heights—as well as NJEA staff from around the state, filled new backpacks with supplies for each returning student [ed note: pictured above]. The effort took place on Sunday at the NJEA UniServ office in Toms River and was the result of close collaboration between the Ocean County Council of Education Associations Executive Committee, the Region 7 UniServ office, and local associations in Ocean County.
Each displaced teacher received a large plastic tub of supplies, notes of encouragement, and gift cards to assist them as they face the challenging task of teaching young students in unfamiliar settings. A generous supply of donations came from the Pequannock Township Education Association and The Education Association of Morris (TEAM).
Read more, view the complete gallery of photos, and find out how you can make a donation at NJEA.org.
Connecticut – Task force considers new formula for funding education
The committee charged with developing recommendations to change how the state distributes education funding met yesterday to consider a new formula it may recommend in its final report. The Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Task Force is looking to wrap up its work by the end of the month and send its recommendations on to Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly.
The changes to the formula that the Task Force’s Formula Subcommittee proposed would be phased in over four to six years and include how student need and town wealth are calculated. See the complete proposed changes here.
To illustrate how the formula changes would affect the state, the subcommittee presented three hypothetical models for how the state could implement the new formula. Variables among the models included the availability of new ECS funds and whether the state would guarantee that towns would receive at least the same ECS grant they received in a prior year.
Get the full story at BlogCEA.org.
Colorado – Governor’s “TBD” yields recommendations with education and funding implications
During the year, more than 1,200 ordinary citizens, including many public school educators, attended some 70 public meetings and used a facilitated discussion model to identify priorities for Colorado. Governor John Hickenlooper initiated the process, asking TBD participants to study five issues (education, health, transportation, state budget, and state workforce); consider the facts about each; review a variety of options; and work together to identify options they think make the most sense for the future.
Greg Maffei, TBD Colorado Board Chairperson, said an important theme and core finding emerged during the statewide conversations: Colorado’s path is unsustainable without major fiscal and constitutional reforms.
Maffei said, “Our state has endless positive potential. Important, forward-facing actions and decisions must be made to ensure a vibrant future. Analysts from across the political spectrum may disagree on the proper course for the state, but they agree that the current fiscal structure cannot be maintained.”