March 26: Penalties and laptops trip Ed Committee work session

The Education Committee is in late afternoon work session to consider GPA for the biennial budget to pass along to the Appropriations Committee. They had hoped to conclude this budget this evening. But the unsettled matter of re-distribution of the $6.8 million in consolidation penalties will keep them from finalizing.

It is plain that the Commissioner's original concept of distributing penalty money to the 22-24 reorganized units to cover reorganization expenses is not popular with Committee members. The Commissioner's position on this is reported to have shifted. However, she is out of town attending to a death in her family and unable to meet with Committee until next week.

Jim Rier reports that the total proposed state subsidy, including distribution of the federal stimulus money is to be posted on the Department's website by 5:30. But I haven't located it yet. [Updated: found it on the DoE EPS page]

Not sure what the consequence is on the distribution of the ED279s that were promised tomorrow to the school units.

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Committee also wants more information about the laptop program before authorizing. Several committee members say they would prefer to see this presented as a separate bill rather than something embedded in the budget.

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Next week the Committee will be working hard. Monday will be devoted to work sessions on the EPS-related bills that the Committee took public testimony about this week. Wednesday day will be the public hearings for all consolidation-related bills and Friday will be the work session for the same raft of bills.