HB2 comes out with Committee Substitute, Dems to unveil counter-proposal
As expected, the committee substitute on HB 2 came out last night. It's more verbose than the introduced version, but nothing substantial has changed.
Granted this committee substitute is still massive and I can't cover all the areas here, but these are same areas that you might not hear about in the news:
- Retains Robin Hood for districts that raise more than the cost of their Tier one allotment. The district also has the option to consolidate with a poorer district.
- Provides that students must pass end-of-course exams to move to the next grade or to graduate.
- Provides that if local districts pay teachers above the state minimum, then that pay should be based on the teacher's ability to improve student performance.
- Establishes new sanctions for public schools that are in the lowest ten percent in performance.
- For the bottom five percent the commissioner shall assign a team to assist the campus to improve. The second year the commissioner shall establish an alternative management system for that campus. The commissioner may do these things for campuses rated in the bottom 6-10%.
- Deletes the escalator clause that automatically increased the state minimum salary schedule for school employees (teachers, other auxiliary workers like bus drivers and janitors).
- Deletes the requirement that all school employees get $1000 to help fund health insurance. Only teachers get the $1000 in this bill. It takes money away from the educational support staff that need it the most.
- Allows districts or campuses that are rated exemplary to be exempt from almost all the state standards that helped them achieve that status, including class size limits, contracts, minimum salaries, teacher certification requirements, etc.
So the Dem's are holding their press conference tomorrow. You'll hear all their counter-proposals then, including:
- Tripling the exemption for the homestead tax from $15,000 to $45,000, providing a broader tax relief than the statewide property tax currently touted by the GOP.
- Buying down the property tax from $1.50 to $1.25. They will attack the fact that the GOP plan for lowering the property tax to $1.00 since it mainly benefits homes that cost more than $250,000.
- All in all, this Democratic plan will cost roughly $6.64 billion. Since the GOP set the spending bar at $11.789 billion, then that provides over $5 billion in new money to schools, which is greater than the $1.5 billion actually provided by the Republican plan (or even the $3 billion that the GOP plan wants). Most of the Dem's proposed spending would go to across-the-board teacher raises and once again providing health insurance to all other school employees.
That's the economic side of the Democratic counter-proposal, and I'm pretty sure almost every other proposal will be opposed, such as the proposed end-of-year exams, setting the start date after Labor Day, and tying student performance to how teachers and schools are handled by the state.