Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Minutes of the last meeting

EGRPS Legislative Committee Minutes
Monday January 07, 2013
Present: Dr. Shubel, Kevin Phillips, Steve Edison, Tina Murua, Lucy Lafleur, Anne Grobel, David Bair, Elizabeth Lykins, Melissa Janes, Amy Turner Thole
  1. It was a challenge to keep up with all of the bills being introduced during the lame duck session.  Thanks to an aggressive response from parent groups across the state and especially from West Michigan, the EAA bill did not pass out of committee and the mega-school choice bill languished as well.  We expect these bills, as well as the Oxford Foundation’s funding recommendations to be reintroduced early and aggressively in the new legislative session.  We are prepared to respond as swiftly as we did in December.  Just to summarize:
    1. EAA:  expands from 15 schools in Detroit to the whole state
    2. Mega School Choice: expands charter schools to include new types of schools run by new types of entities
    3. Oxford Foundation: unbundles funding for public schools—to allow children to take classes at multiple public school locations and have the districts divvy up the foundation grant

  1. The school board and administration have written a letter to Governor Snyder in response to a request for public input on the Oxford Foundation’s recommendations.  No official response was made to the letter by the Governor’s office The school board and administration plan to submit this letter to the new House Education Committee once the new appointments to that committee have been made in the new session.

  1. We expect the revenue sharing conference to be in the next week or so, for the Senate and House fiscal agencies to predict shortfalls and for the governor’s budget to have cuts.  Watch the State of the State (expected to be early this year) for details on the Governor’s ideas about public schools and his support of the Oxford Foundation’s recommendations on revamping the School Aid Fund.
      4.  We are working well with our new House Rep., Peter MacGregor.
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
(517) 373-0218
5.          We are working with other parent and education advocacy groups to come up with positive        statements and plans for legislation to improve public schools so we are not only about naysaying the legislation.  We are trying to underline what schools are doing right, what innovations are being made while supporting progress towards improving failing schools.  We want to emphasize the importance of public education as a public good which is valuable not as a commodity that makes profit, but as a process of educating citizens in a working democracy.  We need the input of all parents and community members who find public education valuable.   Watch the blog for further information.