Confusion reigns in MFP debate

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BESE sent wrong version of formula to the legislature

Just hours after the Senate Education Committee voted to send the Minimum Foundation Program formula back to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Wednesday, May 15, 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 23because the version of the MFP that had been considered by the committee was not the one that was adopted by BESE last March.

In a letter to Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel (R-Metairie), Roemer wrote, “It should be noted, the language submitted to the legislature on March 15, 2013, inadvertently included language from an earlier working draft of the MFP formula, which was never considered by the board.”

Sen. Appel said that Roemer’s explanation satisfied his legal experts, and that the comittee will push ahead with its deliberations on the MFP.

When Sen. Appel moved to return the MFP to BESE, however, it was also recommended that the education board reconsider the special education section of the formula. Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) asked BESE to make sure that proponents of special education programs are consulted as the board rewrites the formula. That will not happen.

Capitol watchers are wondering what impact the incompetence of the BESE staff in sending over the wrong version of the MFP will have on the ultimate fate of the formula. It is already on shaky ground because of concerns in the special education community. Members of the AFT Action Center bombarded the Senate Education Committee with messages of opposition to the resolution.