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Legislators discuss education with area superintendents

The new legislative session is just about a month away. Legislators on the education committee are already hard at work, meeting with educators about their concerns.

State legislators and area superintendents met Thursday to discuss education. The biggest topic was the proposed new school funding formula, proposed by Rep. Wendy Horman. Horman is no longer on the education committee, but remains committed to working on the funding formula and getting it through the legislature.

“The one that we have dates to 1994, which no students in the current system were even alive when that was created,” Horman said. “And it served us well at the time, but it was before the internet basically, before charter schools, before a lot of online learning environments.”

Sen. Dean Mortimer, education committee chair, was also at the meeting to answer questions from the superintendents. He discussed a variety of other topics the committee plans on working this session, including K-3 literacy. He wants to get all students reading by third grade.

“We have put focus there, but we really haven’t necessarily been able to measure those results,” Mortimer said. “And so, we need to say OK, now it’s time to measure those results, do we need to put more emphasis there? Do we need to put more money there? And how do we assess that?”

Now that Proposition Two is legal, Mortimer also wants to focus on teacher pay when it comes to health care.

“A large portion of our teacher’s paychecks are going for their health care,” he said. “And maybe we can find a way to make that more manageable and help our teaching professionals.”

The new legislative session begins Jan. 7.

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