Day 26 was a tough day for K-12 education. The expanded special needs voucher SB 47 was passed on the Senate floor 30-23. We lost some votes at the 11th hour due to a political push by Senate leadership. The Senate Whip Steve Gooch sponsored the bill and all of the Senate leadership supported the bill. At least the ones that were present.
Other tracked bills that passed the Senate:
SB 59 – Charter school funding bill. Section 5 containing local district sending a capital outlay stipend to your locally approved charter school. (Passed Senate Floor)
SB 42 – Removes discipline data from the Star rating of school climate. Will require posting of school districts discipline data on their local website and provide a hard copy of same data upon request of a parent. (Passed senate floor)
We are losing some of our usually reliable rural republican votes. On the Senate and House sides of the chamber the narrative of healthy local district fund balances and Cares Act dollars are being used along with emphasizing the lack of F2F learning in some districts to shift votes. Even though, on all points they do not understand school district funding and despite the fact that 167 districts as of January 2021 are in F2F or hybrid while only 13 districts resorted to virtual only (and due to staffing concerns). They are attempting to use these points to turn votes in the House along with the usual political pressures. Unfortunately, we saw some of our newly elected rural Senators fall to the pressures and I am sure the House will use similar tactics. We are working with the various Education groups to hold the coalition together but we need your help to remind your representatives of your stance on HB 60. They need to know that you at home support their no vote. This is a difficult environment to be in when your leaders are pressing you to vote against your constituents desire.
Day 27, is scheduled for Friday, March 5, 2021. We fight on! I anticipate (possibly) HB 60 hitting the House floor this Friday if not, definitely Monday, March 8, crossover day. Be ready to respond to an alert to make our final push against HB 60.
Quote: Do not get weary in well doing, for at the right time -your reward is nigh.