Integration Task Force Meeting: 7 February 2012

NOTE: These are not official minutes, these are very biased and raw notes. Don’t expect fairness, balance, or completeness! I am just trying to be quick at communicating what is happening on the task force. Initials generally refer to task force members, a list of whom can be found at the official task for website. …Eric

Peter and Scott share their appreciation for everyone who has participated in the process.

Discussion of fiscal subcommittee recommendations (see numbers 5-9 on back of ST handout).

5. Cap revenue at current level.
6. Level disparities.
7. Set aside 0.02% for oversight.
8. Creat fiscal model stable for three years at a time.
9. 80% spent on students and 20% on prof dev and admin (not to exceed 10%).

PS talking about 6 disparities.

PS recommends moving transportation to administrative costs from direct student value. Given the 80/20 split recommended, this would put urban districts into non-compliance because they would then easily exceed 20%.

KK complains that the fiscal principals don’t match the rest of the proposal. She claims the program recommendations far exceed today’s costs. ST says that is not true. KK points to all day kindergarten and metro-integration district as very expensive. Also raises concerns about devoting money based on skin color.

ST says that the proposal is for choices for local school boards, including all day kindergarten. KK says that the proposal will create expectations that are certain to grow, “I’m talking about the real world.” ST says, “that’s why we caped it.”

RE asks why 8 suggests three year increments when legislature works on two year increments. Recommends changing three to two.

RE again suggests offering SPPS authority to add a $35/student levy. ST feels that specific property tax leeway for one community does not jive with the broad scope of the task force. RE points out that any bill resulting from the recommendation would have to go through a fiscal notation process.

MO thinks the idea of a single district would save money through efficiencies and economy of scale. Very supportive of the proposals and agrees that over time we should move toward flattening out and rewarding districts that deal with integration.

HB notes that though admin at SPPS may be on board with the levy idea, she knows how difficult levy battles can be and would be more comfortable if Saint Paul officials testified about this. This leaves her reluctant to speak for another district w/r/t levy.

WG sympathizes with what RE is trying to address, but shares concerns with HB. Feels general parameters more prudent than specific levy recommendation.

MO argues for a term other than disproportionality in 6b, even the proper word segregation. ST suggests “enrollment disparities” as an alternative. KK presents a view of the legal definition of segregation that MO disagrees with.

PS asks if the task force would be willing to adopt just the fiscal recommendations without the legislative recommendations? ST describes the art of compromise. RE notes there are fiscal implications in some of the program elements that would not allow staying within current revenue profile.

Moving on to legislative recommendations…

Starting with some friendly amendments between PS and ST.

PW wonders about the term “collaborating district” if it has no fiscal model implications.

RE commenting on 2.f.i. asks for an end to the smorgasbord of metrics, replaced by narrower set of shared metrics. HB worries about the testing schedule and the capacity institutions have for testing. AB wonders whether the state actually has a measurable and reliable tools in place.

KK is concerned that “this is all essentially meaningless” without requirements for actual academic achievement. BM points out that different districts will have somewhat different goals and MDE can approve these.

MO will follow KK’s lead and is persuaded by her logic. On the topic of tying carrots to achievement.

In response 2.f.iii. rewritten to require performance in order to get funds.

PS raises issue with 3, added consistency with 2f.

AB raises issue with “cultural competency” in and suggests “multicultural” instead.

PS skunks the garden party with his view that staff should be free to ignore any training offered on grounds of conscience. Proposes adding 3.c.vii. HB resists, saying that the child’s future is more important than the comfort of the professional. AB tells stories of teachers who feel jobs at risk when they talk about these issues. PS notes that “right of conscience” can be found in MN constitution.

[is there any other domain where this many people who know so little about a profession spend this much time telling the professionals how to do their jobs? no wonder education is broken.]

AB points out that it is teachers and parents who are the experts.

RE asks to modify 3.a.iii. To remove reference to 4-5 year olds. ST says the whole point of this is providing an early intervention, we already spend $16b to teach reading and literacy.

PS feels 4 is opening a can of worms, and RE agrees. Not sufficient testimony to support it. RE says this is an irreversible impediment to his support for the whole document. Neither collaborative testified to the merits of this idea. Consider “examine the merits.”

[should ask Scott about the statute that informed his change of 4.h.]

HB can support examine.

MO notes that even the most profound supporters of desegregation are not supporting quotas or forced bussing.

PW points out a few red flags. Mentioning free and reduced lunch and low income students will cause some to ask, isn’t competitors aid already do erring this. ST says this was an attempt to produce a race neutral approach.

PW questions the initial funds being received, which is all based on minority percentage, not based on achievement level or gap. Dividing the money based on the percentages, not performance. MO points to 2.f.iii. as addressing this concern.

Voting on the report…

Call the question on the whole thing. (an amendment to vote separately on legislative and fiscal failed).

Roll call vote…

Minority reports due by 5pm on Monday.

Closing remarks…

Rose Hermodson thanks the task force on behalf of MDE.

Task force members express pleasure and privilege of serving.

Adjourned (for the last time).

END OF NOTES, more about the task force on our Integration Revenue Replacement Advisory Task Force page.