Reforming the state’s Integration Aid program is proving to be one of the most vexing issues within the education finance world. The last omnibus E-12 budget bill (July 2011) called for the sunset of the $92 million in revenue associated with this program and for a task force to take up the cause of redesigning and repurposing these funds.
Last week, MDE Integration Specialist Ann Parks presented the recommendations of the “Integration Revenue Replacement Advisory Task Force” to a joint hearing of the House and Senate Education Finance committees.
Legislators of all stripes had many questions about the issue. Questions ranged from effectiveness of current integration efforts, current integration purposes and how to reconcile the goals of integration in a system that allows for parent choices that have been shown to lead toward segregation.
In an effort the move the discussion forward Rep. Carlos Mariani, House Education Policy Chairman, introduced HF 247. This bill would implement the recommendations of the task force. The primary recommendation of the task force is to convert the current program into “Achievement and Integration for Minnesota” or AIM. View the bill.