News for March 30th, 2011

After being voted out of committee in a 9-6 party-line vote, Republicans will advance S.B.5 to a full vote later today. The substitute bill changes can be seen here - SB5 LSC Analysis. It is expected that the Senate will concur and later this week, the bill will be signed into law by the Governor. The Plain Dealer Reports

Despite the changes approved Tuesday, the thrust of the bill remains intact. SB 5 would reduce the number of topics subject to union negotiations, ban public workers from striking, prohibit employers from paying more than 85 percent of workers' health insurance costs and base pay raises on performance rather than length of service.

Changes to the bill approved Tuesday include: a different process to decertify a public union; a provision to explicitly allow police and firefighters to negotiate for safety equipment; a prohibition against public workers contributing to a political action committee through a payroll deduction; and a new performance-based pay scale for teachers and other workers.

Further attacks on public education are reported by the Dispatch

Statewide, schools would lose an additional $579million in reimbursements over two years, on top of the $273 million cut in basic per-pupil funding - an $852 million drop in all.

The report goes on to discuss how dismantling of the teaching profession will be further pushed along in conjunction with S.B.5

In various sections, the budget bill is a hand-in-glove complement to Senate Bill 5, the fast-moving measure that would restrict collective-bargaining rights for public employees.

It strikes references to teacher salary schedules and says that when boards cut teaching staffs they "shall consider the relative quality of performance the principal factor in determining the order of reductions." Boards may consider seniority, "but only after considering other factors," namely merit and licensing achievements.

The budget language also eliminates an opportunity for a fired teacher to seek a hearing before an impartial referee, stating instead that school boards will hear appeals and make final decisions.

Finally, it what only feels like salt in the wounds, we learn the Governor will be attending a screening of the discredited movie "Waiting for Superman" with the discredited and under investigation radical Michele Rhee

In its months-long investigation, which included documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, USA TODAY looked at 103 public schools in the nation's capital where tests showed a pattern of unusually high numbers of answers that had been changed from wrong to right. The improvements in test scores earned Rhee and the school system national attention.

But since 2008, more than half of D.C. schools were flagged by a testing company for having unusually high rates of wrong-to-right erasures. At one school, Noyes Education Campus, the number of erasures in one class was so high that the odds of winning the Powerball grand prize were better than the erasures occurring by chance.

Stay tuned for more news throughout the day, from the Statehouse on our Twitter stream, as we bring news of the S.B.5 vote.