Daily Digest: Integration and infrastructure

by James Nord

Here’s your Daily Digest for Tuesday, December 6:

Minneapolis schools may end one effort to integrate students

Minnesota’s schools have long been blemished by poor achievement numbers between white students and students of color. The Minneapolis school district is considering an end to their partnership in one suburban program, the West Metro Education Program, that seeks to integrate students of different races.

Integration funding has been the source of some controversy across the state this year. In the summer, the state Legislature cut integration funding to schools, something that Minneapolis Public Schools said was integral to their efforts in that area. Integration funding is used frequently to pay for transportation.

WMEP has been considered for cutting before, the Star Tribune reports.

New York to raise taxes on wealthy

Reaching a deal that Minnesota’s top political leaders could not, elected officials in New York agreed to a tax hike on Tuesday for wealthy New Yorkers. Middle class residents will pay lower taxes as part of the agreement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and lawmakers announced the deal as the result of their efforts to reform New York’s tax code.

“This would be lowest tax rate for middle class families in 58 years,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This job-creating economic plan defies the political gridlock that has paralyzed Washington and shows that we can make government work for the people of this state once again.”

Despite campaigning on a platform that would resist tax increases, the New York Times reports that he came under pressure from Democrats after the state’s budget picture worsened. It could now face a $3.5 billion budget deficit.

Gingrich in the lead, but does he have necessary campaign infrastructure?

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is leading Republican candidates in Iowa. He’s the latest candidate in the Republican presidential contest to pull far ahead, and appears to be benefitting from pizza magnate Herman Cain’s departure from the race.

Gingrich leads the other two top candidates, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, by 15 points among likely caucus-goers. Campaigners for Romney, long considered the GOP frontronner, say he possesses the national infrastructure to beat Gingrich even if the former Massachussetts governor loses key early states.

Minnesota’s lone Republican in the race, Rep. Michele Bachmann, sits at 8 percent support among likely caucus-goers.