Republicans drop popular reform measure, add $125 million more for K-12


In order to end the budget stalemate, Republicans quickly dropped all reform measures and added $125 million in new K-12 Ed spending on top of the $400 million increase they passed on May 18th.

Dropping the reform measure of “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) which would remove the state mandate that teachers are to be laid off based on level of seniority, is a bit of a surprise as Republican leadership stated strong support for the measure less than 72 hours ago.

Late Friday, the Star Tribune quoted Rep Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, Chair of the House K-12 Education committee,”If the governor is going to insist on an amount of money [that goes above the GOP position], making sure we get good reform is a top priority.”

But by lunchtime today, that reform was off the table.

Dayton has never been a strong supporter of LIFO, vetoing a 2012 bill on the measure, but he was open to the idea earlier in the legislative session.  A Star Tribune poll conducted in March showed that more than two-thirds of Minnesotans believed that teacher layoffs should be based on performance, not tenure.

Rep Loon, along with House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, stood together this afternoon to share with the media their latest budget offer which dropped all policy and reform requests and gave the Governor $125 million of the $150 million he was seeking for K-12 spending.  The $525 million total offer matched what Governor Dayton was willing to accept on the final day of the legislative session on May 18th.

The DFL party is putting the pressure on to fill the $25 million gap between Dayton’s current spending proposal.

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Minnesota media outlets asked the same question:

 

via @JohnCroman KARE11
via @JohnCroman KARE11

Governor Dayton has dropped his demand for $173 million to start half-day universal PreK and will instead shift that money to other PreK measures and exiting programs.

The Republicans have come up to $525 million, from the $400 million they passed through the House and the DFL-led Senate.  Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, has been missing in the final budget negotiations, but will likely rally votes based on the Governor’s direction.

Governor Dayton is in position to win both the $550 million spending increase he sought and protection for the teacher’s union against any strong reform measures affecting tenure, with Republicans moving quickly on negotiations.