Tell the Senate to reject the MFP!
The MFP has already been turned back once. Let’s make sure it does not pass!
Last Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee voted to return the Minimum Foundation Program to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Hours later, BESE President Chas Roemer submitted a different version of the document for the board to consider.
Roemer said there is no need for BESE to reconsider the formula in Senate Concurrent Resolution 23 because the version of the MFP that had been considered by the committee was not the one that was adopted by BESE last March.
The MFP (Senate Concurrent Resolution 23 by Sen. Conrad Apel (R-Metairie) must be heard by the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Finance Committee before it can move to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
It has been turned back once. We can do it again! Please click the link below and send a message to the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and to your senator.
The MFP is the funnel through which state funds are distributed to local school boards. BESE creates the formula every year, and sends it to the legislature. Lawmakers may either approve or reject the formula, but cannot change it.
If it is rejected, BESE can either rewrite the formula or take no action. If no action is taken, the formula will revert to the most recently approved, constitutional version. In this case, that would probably be the 2011-12 formula, which went into effect before the voucher and course choice schemes were added to it.
LFT President Steve Monaghan has outlined six specific objections to the funding formula spelled out in Senate Concurrent Resolution 23 by Sen. Conrad Appel (R-Metairie). They are as true now as they were last week:
- The actual cost of educating students on a per pupil basis has never actually been calculated by the Department of Education. Despite that fact, BESE approved a 2013-14 MFP resolution that freezes per pupil funding for the fifth consecutive year. As costs of education and administration continue to rise, this formula fails to meet the needs of students across the state.
- The 2013-14 MFP resolution again proposes to unconstitutionally rob public schools to pay for vouchers for unaccountable, unproven private schools that cannot properly serve students with unique characteristics. It also includes dollars for corporate course providers from out of state, and in many cases, from outside of the United States. These measures send our state and locally levied dollars to Wall Street instead of to our classrooms. Even after state courts held that such diversion of funds is illegal, BESE chose to approve this measure.
- The 2013-14 MFP fails to include a level of funding to be used for the employer's portion of retirement costs, even though the law requires that it do so.
- The 13-14 MFP would add another illegal component this year by instituting a version of special needs funding that discriminates and segregates special needs students. A similar "weighted" formula for special needs funding in Georgia is already being litigated. This alteration will substantially impact the individual education plans for our most vulnerable students, and result in cuts to their services.
- The 13-14 MFP has no provision to provide for the traditional 2.75% increase to the MFP should the legislature fail to pass an MFP in future years. This could lead to a permanently frozen MFP.
- The 13-14 MFP will lead to cuts to districts based on skewed testing of Gifted and Talented students, who will now "earn less" for their schools. This not only diminishes funding to school districts, but devalues the hard work of Gifted and Talented students as they strive for excellence.
If you believe that this proposed MFP is wrong for public education and the children in our schools, please click the link and tell senators to reject the MFP and send it back to BESE.
A profile in courage
Please thank a lawmaker who stood tall for us!
Thanks in large part to the e-mails that you sent to the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee this week, we were able to convince members to defer HB 522, which would have repealed our right to collect member dues through payroll deduction.
Had this bill passed, unions like the LFT would find it very difficult to continue our fight against the Jindal administration’s efforts to substitute a corporate agenda for the common good of the people of Louisiana.
On issues including school vouchers, assaults on the teaching profession, privatization of health care and the reduction of health services, attacks on public employee pensions, starving higher education and more, unions have led the opposition to the Jindal agenda.
With the defeat of HB 552, we will be able to keep fighting.
We owe particular thanks to one member of the committee, Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard (I-Thibodaux). In spite of heavy pressure from the business lobby, Rep. Richard listened to his conscience and cast the deciding vote to kill HB 552.
Rep. Richard is now being blanketed with hate mail because of the stand he took. Please take a moment and thank Rep. Richard. Click the link below. Let him know that we appreciate his courage, and will support him in any way that we can.