Minnesota House passes ‘last in, first out’ bill

State Rep. Jenifer Loon
State Rep. Jenifer Loon

Ricardo Lopez at Star Tribune reports that the GOP-controlled Minnesota House passed a vote 70-63 on considering performance, not just seniority, when laying off teachers: “A top priority for Republicans, the legislation would end seniority as the primary factor in determining teacher layoffs, a process commonly referred to as “last in, first out.” While the legislation passed the House, its prospects in the DFL-led Senate are murky where two bills, including one sponsored by a DFL senator, have yet to receive committee hearings.”

Good luck getting out of that contract. Frederick Melo at the Pioneer Press reports that the St. Paul City Council, while signing a new 10-year franchise agreement with Comcast, slapped them on the wrist for unpaid fees and noncompliance issues: “In two terse pages, the wide-ranging settlement notes that during franchise negotiations, ‘the city alleged certain noncompliance issues on a variety of obligations related to the institutional network, PEG (public access, education and government) programming, underpayment of franchise fees, and failure to meet customer service and reporting requirements.'”

You get a refund, and you get a refund, and you get a refund! Michael Brodkorb at Politics.MN tells us the Minnesota Republican Party has voted to spend “at least six-figures” on a new “give it all back” campaign encouraging lawmakers to return the entire budget surplus back to Minnesota taxpayers: “While Republicans are hopeful their new campaign will result in the entire budget surplus eventually being returned, an immediate goal is to ‘excite donors’ to contribute to the party. Sources with knowledge of the discussion on Tuesday evening said Downey pledged to dedicate 25 percent of the money generated by the new ‘give it all back’ campaign to pay bills from the 2014 elections.”

David Shaffer at the Star Tribune reports that Xcel Energy is asking state regulators to change rules surrounding large community solar gardens before the first one is even built: “Many of the solar gardens, which need seven to eight acres each to install ground-mounted panels, are being proposed adjacent to each other, making them more like solar plantations … Xcel says such vast projects are utility-scale ventures that should be competitively bid, as the utility did recently for its first big solar investments in Minnesota.”

In other news…

sixth child has died of flu this season in Minnesota [Star Tribune]

The Replacements are reissuing their entire catalog as eight-disc box set [Pitchfork, h/t @RandBallsStu]

Jimmy Carter flies into MSP, greets passengers on plane [WCCO]

FindFurnish and Let It Be Records start new vinyl store [City Pages]

I-35W bridge disaster re-created in ABC’s new ‘In an Instant’ docuseries [Pioneer Press]

Meet the 40 Under 40 Class of 2015 [Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal]

Nickelback canceled its Friday performance at the Target Center [Pioneer Press]

Related: University of Wisconsin psychologists reveal why your cats don’t like Nickelback [PBS Newshour]

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 03/06/2015 - 03:45 pm.

    Maybe the GOP

    Should pay its bills rather than promoting a Ventura style boondoggle give away.

  2. Submitted by Debra Hoffman on 03/06/2015 - 05:43 pm.

    Budget

    According to the latest newsletter from my State Representative, a bill was signed into law last year which required that 30% of a budget surplus go into budget reserves. Unless the House and Senate pass a new bill and Governor Dayton signs it, I don’t think that Republicans can give all the money back to taxpayers legally.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/06/2015 - 08:20 pm.

    I’d Suggest the Democrats Counter

    with clips from the “In and Instant” show on the 35W bridge collapse, other pictures of deteriorating infrastructures from around the state,.

    and, together with VERY scary music,…

    screen-filling images of the budget deficit figures just after the Pawlenty administration left office,…

    unemployment figures,…

    boarded up businesses,…

    job loss figures,…

    homeless people,…

    etc., etc., etc.,

    with the tag line,

    “THIS is what happens when we give it back.”

    We’d rather PROTECT YOUR FUTURE than risk going back to where we went the last time we gave it back.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/06/2015 - 08:34 pm.

    NOTHING but young teachers

    Will be the result in far too many school districts if we wipe out “last in, first out” contracts.

    If, of course, teachers can even be found since very few people want to go to the expense and trouble of getting a four-year (or more) degree in order to enter a profession with ZERO long-term job security (which is one of the CLEAR effects of Rep. Loon’s bill).

    I always admired new teachers for their energy and their enthusiasm, but far too many of them really didn’t know how to teach very well, how to relate to their students in healthy ways, nor how to manage their classrooms well, until about their third year.

    If Rep. Loon gets her way, far too many school districts will have very few teachers that make it very far beyond that third year when they’ve started to get solid at their jobs,…

    (because the REAL reason for wiping out seniority-based layoffs is that the least experienced teachers are lowest on the pay scale and can thus be hired for less money,…

    whereas the MOST experienced teachers are the most expensive),…

    which is in keeping with the long-standing Republican project to try to make sure everyone who is not in the upper-level management or owner class gets paid as miniscule a salary or wage as possible.

    In the same way as doctors, lawyers, dentists and other professionals, I’d much rather my grandchildren are being taught by time-tested teachers who know what they’re doing (with one or two new teachers in the mix)…

    than by nothing but those whose enthusiasm can’t quite make up for the fact that they’re still too green to cover all the bases the job requires.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/07/2015 - 07:59 am.

      Oddly enough Greg, the best way to ameliorate the unfair pay distribution for public school teachers is to get rid of the ridiculously counter productive step and lane system.

      You want more teachers with math and science majors? Pay them more than Humanities and English lit majors.

      You want to retain teachers with the highest proficiency? Well, you’re going to have to measure that.

      Lots to be done but you have to start somewhere. Ending LIFO is as good a place to start as any.

  5. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 03/07/2015 - 12:54 pm.

    “Last in, first out”

    First, let’s trash the teaching profession by denigrating their work in general, paying them overall too little and giving them too little to work with. Then let’s blame all of the problems society in general cannot fix like poverty and lack of opportunity. Then let’s make it so we can make it easier to kick out those for those who have dedicated their lives in this profession. I agree with Mr. Kapphahn’s comment but I’d add that the basic purpose of this bill is to make age discrimination legal for school districts.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/08/2015 - 02:50 pm.

      Ya know Jon, no good comes to teachers when they, and their supporters, squirt tears about how badly they are paid.

      Anyone with any interest has seen the pay scales, and then there is the December Pioneer Press article that calculated teachers pay at $2.25 million over 30 years.

      Rolling in dough? Not really, but it sure can’t be called scratching out a living, either.

  6. Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/07/2015 - 02:21 pm.

    Beyond the pay issue

    Can’t wait for some backwoods conservative school board to start giving litmus tests on evolution, climate change, history revision, etc… Don’t like the facts? Fire the teacher, works real good down South.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/07/2015 - 07:06 pm.

      At this point

      we’d be happy if they could read and write.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/08/2015 - 01:22 pm.

        Actually no

        You’d probably prefer not, as you could then just have them queue up whichever conservative indoctrination is making the rounds that session, via pre-loaded presentation. Wouldn’t want those pesky teachers questioning the source material now would we? You lot might be a bit more credible had you not spent the last umpteen decades quite literally attempting the elimination of public education as a whole. Why in the world should we think you aspire to anything less now? Its too bad you’ll never put your money where your mouth is and “go Galt”, so the rest of us can finally be rid of your meddling, and make some progress.

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