House Public Education Committee meets April 18 on school finance, A-F accountability

Needs for school funding and the state’s venture into an A-F accountability labeling system will feature prominently on the agenda of the state House Public Education Committee slated for 1 p.m. on April 18. The finance portion of the hearing will cover some of the same ground addressed by the current Commission on Public School Finance. Last year the House repeatedly passed a substantial increase in school funding, but the Senate blocked it, insisting on referring the issue of a funding overhaul to the newly created commission.

The accountability part of the hearing will give parents, educators, and community supporters of public schools a chance to renew their resistance to the controversial A-F system, which is scheduled to take full effect for school districts when ratings for the 2017-2018 school year are issued this summer. For individual campuses, A-F ratings will be calculated for the current school year, but A-F grades won’t “count” for accountability purposes until the summer of 2019. Worth noting:  That timeline for A-F campus ratings means the Legislature, meeting next January, gets one more chance to rethink this dubious scheme before it is fully implemented.

In addition to looking at school funding and ratings, the committee will consider issues raised by implementation of a new anti-bullying law, focused on “cyberbullying,” that took effect last year.