The new system of funding public schools has cleared the Senate despite a stunt by opponents. It wasn’t particularly dramatic and it wasn’t a surprise. Minority Democrats wanted to delay a vote on the new funding bill until this morning, saying they needed time to study the bill and get suggestions from superintendents back home. Sponsor Charlie Shields of St. Joseph refused to delay a vote – time is too short in this session, he said. So, at 12:48 a.m., Democrat Leader Maida Coleman and other Democrats left the chamber. The walkout lasted all of ten minutes before Democrats returned to vote, not that it made any difference. One of them, Frank Barnitz, even voted “yes,” making the final tally 24-9. The bill goes to the House – where Republicans have dominating control, too.