Education Conference Committee Meets Briefly on Wednesday Morning. The Education finance and policy conference committee met briefly this morning to discuss the House’s offer that was posted last evening. Under that offer, the House has increased its commitment to reduction of the special education cross-subsidy by reducing or eliminating proposed appropriations for a number of programs and moving the savings to cross-subsidy reduction. Even with these changes, the House’s cross-subsidy appropriation is markedly less than the Senate’s. The House also has an extensive set of policy proposals in this offer, much of it centering on the subject of non-exclusionary student discipline. Given where the Senate is at with the appropriations in their bill with the money going to either LETRS or the special education cross-subsidy, a wide gulf continues to exist between the two bills. It really does boil down to differences in philosophy and the policy initiatives each side has brought forth as expressions of the different philosophies.
It was hoped that the conference committee could finish its work today to prepare the bill for final passage without having to involve legislative leadership and the Governor’s office. Whether that can be accomplished remains to be seen. I lost a dollar betting on the favorite to show at Canterbury Downs once upon a time, so I’m not a betting man in any sense of the word. I would say that the smooth ending many hoped for when the budget targets were first announced probably isn’t in the cards, so hang on for a few more days.
In the meantime while we are waiting, let’s jump in Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and set the dial for the Year 1981 and watch Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones wait on a friend.