Saturday, May 21, 2016

Alliance Legislative Report 99-46


Another new K-12 education budget proposal may soon be emerging in the Capitol. The plan acknowledges that the current school funding distribution formula is inadequate and would suspend the use of the formula for Fiscal Year 2017. Instead for FY 2017, school districts would receive the same amount of General State Aid funding they received in FY 2016, plus a share of an additional $500 million that would be distributed separately based on student poverty counts. This new funding block would be defined as the “Equity Grant.”

According to architects of the plan, school districts would generally receive no less funding than they are receiving this current year, plus all districts would receive additional funding based upon the proportion dollar amount of funding each district received from the “poverty grant” in FY 16. Mandated categorical grants and other line items would generally be funded at FY 16 levels.

In the proposal, the current funding formula is not repealed, but simply suspended for FY 2017 to allow for time to study potential new funding formulas. Two possible replacement funding formulas being discussed to begin in FY 2018 are the plan embraced in Senator Andy Manar’s SB 231, and the Evidenced-Based Funding Model that was outlined in the funding pillar of the Vision 20-20 plan. Many common themes run throughout these two models. Proponents of SB 231 are still focused on passage of their plan for implementation in FY 2017.

Based on input from school administrators and school board members throughout this year, the first priority of the Alliance is to ensure that a FY 2017 K-12 budget is approved before the adjournment of the legislative session. This is crucial for school districts to plan for school openings in the fall.

The Alliance is also actively involved in discussions in the Capitol regarding a long-term revision to the school funding formula, concentrating on adding key aspects of the Evidenced-Based Funding Model. The Alliance, along with the Vision 20-20 partners, will be hosting a meeting early next week with key education and appropriation leaders in the legislature to discuss long-term funding options, including implementation of components of the evidenced-based plan.

Alliance members are encouraged to continue the dialogue with their legislators explaining why adopting a FY 2017 K-12 budget is imperative before adjournment of the legislative session and that revisions to the current school funding formula are necessary.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 99-46, including bill action from the past week.