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May 5, 2009
Highed ed flex bill dies
Senate Bill 09-295, the higher education financial flexibility bill, died in the Colorado Senate Wednesday on the last day of the 2007 legislative session. What killed it was a House provision that would have given community and four-year colleges the ability to seek local property and sales taxes.
May 5, 2009
Lawmakers finish with educator ID
The House Tuesday agreed to Senate amendments to House Bill 09-1065, the proposal to create an identifier system for principals and teachers, and repassed the bill 65-0, sending it to Gov. Bill Ritter.
May 5, 2009
School finance done despite Senate feud
The Senate Tuesday evening approved yet another version of the 2009-10 school finance act, but not before Republicans lambasted the Democratic majority for supporting an “irresponsible” bill. The House approved the compromise with less fuss, making the bill a done deal.
May 5, 2009
Two major bills finally move
The Senate Tuesday gave final approval to the educator identifier bill and to the proposal to create a statewide dual enrollment system.
May 4, 2009
House agrees to school finance changes
With no debate, the House voted 65-0 Monday evening to repass the compromise version of Senate Bill 09-256, the 2009-10 school finance act.
May 4, 2009
Parent leave bill wrapped up
The proposal to let some parents take leave from work for school conferences has survived the 2009 legislative session with 45-20 House approval Monday of compromise language proposed by a conference committee. The Senate had signed off on April 27.
May 4, 2009
DPS-PERA merger a done deal
The bill to merge the Denver Public Schools Retirement System into the state Public Employees’ Retirement Association was approved by a 51-14 House vote Monday morning. Since there were no House amendments, the bill now goes to the governor.
May 1, 2009
Accountability bill heads to governor
“It’s kind of gone through quietly, but in the education world it’s making a big noise” was how Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, described Senate Bill 09-163 after the Senate accepted House amendments and just before it was repassed 28-5. The bill, known as the Education Accountability Act of 2009, makes substantial changes in the ways that student, school and district performance are measured and reported, in how underperforming schools are improved and will expand what information is available about school performance.
April 21, 2009
A veteran is named to lead NY schools temporarily amid search
Carole Huxley (New York State Department of Education) A retired education administrator, Carole F. Huxley, will take the helm of the state’s schools while officials…
March 26, 2009
Teacher layoffs still a possibility, Klein tells City Council
President Obama might have spoken too soon when he said the federal stimulus could prevent teacher layoffs in New York City. Depending on how state legislators choose to disburse the stimulus funds, the city could still be looking at a loss of 2,000 teachers, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told members of the City Council's education committee this morning. The city Department of Education believes it is entitled to 41 percent of the state's $2.4 billion in education stimulus funds because it receives 41 percent of state funds overall, Klein said today at the council's hearing on the DOE's preliminary budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. This formula would give the DOE more than $500 million in stabilization funds, allowing it to avoid teacher layoffs. But he said some lawmakers "are taking a different view," instead suggesting that the city should receive a third of the state's stimulus money for schools because it serves a third of the state's public school students. Under this scenario, the DOE would receive just $360 million in stabilization funds, and about 2,000 teachers would have to be laid off. Klein, who was in Albany yesterday to lobby for the city schools, declined to identify the lawmakers to reporters after his testimony, saying that the negotiations are internal and ongoing. Either way, cuts to schools' non-teaching staff would be severe, Klein said, with a minimum of about 2,500 positions being lost in the first scenario and as many as 25 percent of school-based non-teaching staff positions being eliminated in the second. These positions include school aides, family workers, and other school personnel.
February 25, 2009
After criticism, Klein embarks on a sit-down spree with lawmakers
Chancellor Joel Klein conducted at least one of his meetings with lawmakers in his office at Tweed Courthouse. After suffering a beating from legislators who accused him of being rudely unresponsive to their concerns since taking office in 2003, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is taking the hint and reaching out. In the last few weeks, Klein has walked Mark Weprin, a Queens lawmaker who is one of his sharpest critics on the Assembly's education committee, through his Tweed Courthouse headquarters; sat down with a handful of other lawmakers; and made appointments with more, including the committee's chairwoman, Catherine Nolan. He has also begun, through his staff, to send out prompt replies to lawmakers' requests. "We’re getting letters answered, we’re getting information that we’ve asked for," a spokeswoman for Nolan, Kathleen Whynot, said. "We have a really good working relationship right now with some of the DOE staff, which has been a nice addition." Assembly members said the outreach began after they launched a series of five hearings on the subject of mayoral control — the governance structure that Klein strongly supports, but which several lawmakers have criticized as authoritarian. The state legislature handed the mayor control in 2002, but the law they wrote sunsets this year, and so many in Albany are rolling up their sleeves and hoping to revise it. The hearings were a chance for citizens to give their thoughts on how they'd like the law changed (or not). They also became opportunities for the lawmakers to air their concerns. Several of the complaints had to do specifically with Klein and his staff, who lawmakers said frequently failed to respond even to basic questions and concerns. The complaints accelerated at a hearing held in Manhattan where Klein himself testified, sitting before a row of lawmakers who took turns rebuking him.
February 19, 2009
Senator Oppenheimer doesn't like mayor's Catholic school plan
In another development that does not bode well for the Bloomberg administration’s ability to get what it wants out of Albany on school issues, a…
January 30, 2009
Mayor: Federal funds can prevent DOE layoffs, if the state wants
If 15,000 educators are fired this year, it will be the state's fault, Mayor Bloomberg said today at a press conference where he unveiled a preliminary version of next year's budget. The city is staring down a $4 billion deficit for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, Bloomberg said, larger than what he anticipated just a few months ago. To close the budget gap, he's proposed a plan that would require city agencies to eliminate nearly 20,000 positions. Most agencies would be able to cut positions simply by not hiring anyone new to replace workers who leave or retire. But the Department of Education would have to fire nearly 14,000 educators whose salaries are paid with state funds. Those jobs could be protected if the state fills in the holes in its budget with federal stimulus money. The stimulus bill has not yet been finalized but it appears sure to include significant bailout funding for strapped school districts. "Here's a chance for Albany to pay for their fair share of education with somebody else's money," Bloomberg said. But he said repeatedly that New Yorkers can't simply assume that the state would direct enough of the stimulus money to the city. "If there's ever a chance for us to put pressure on them, it's now," Bloomberg said.
January 28, 2009
Lawmakers seize on Klein-time to complain about his control
Only one of these four state lawmakers had praise for Joel Klein today during his testimony on budget cuts: The woman on the bottom right, Assemblywoman Barbara Clark of Queens. How much do lawmakers in Albany dislike Joel Klein? The chancellor fielded a flurry of criticisms today after his testimony before a joint session of the legislature. And only some of the criticisms had anything to do with the subject of the day, budget cuts. The rest politely slammed Klein on the one Albany fight where he'll really need their help: mayoral control of the public schools. Klein desperately wants to preserve control as it is, but many lawmakers said they aren't happy with the law or with how he's led as chancellor. The criticism was so persistent that, at one point, Klein plead with lawmakers to keep their opinion of him out of their thoughts on mayoral control. "Whatever you think about me personally," he said, "you need the stability of that kind of leadership to transform education." Assemblyman Herman Farrell of Manhattan dedicated all of his questions for Klein to the mayoral control subject. "We've had what I call a silencing of the lambs," he said. "I don't know who speaks for the parents, who speaks on behalf of the parents." Farrell then proposed a way to bring debate back to the running of the schools: He wants to create a second position called "sub-chancellor" or "uber-chancellor" — someone to take on the regular chancellor. Assemblyman William Colton, who represents southern Brooklyn, made a similar complaint: “There seems to be a feeling among parents that they don’t have the input or the ability to be listened to," he said. Other lawmakers criticized Klein's policies.
January 28, 2009
Klein says without state help, DOE could lay off 15,000 educators
Joel Klein is asking for flexibility and more money from the state at a joint session of the legislature today. Watch the testimony live online…
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