Monday, August 28, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report (100-41)

House Amendment #5 to SB 1947, the 550-page school funding compromise language, has been filed in the House of Representatives.

The Alliance is currently reviewing the amendment, though it will be impossible to thoroughly analyze all provisions given the short timeline. It appears that everything agreed to by the legislative leaders is contained in this one piece of legislation – including all evidence-based funding language and a new income tax credit designed to redirect public funds to non-public schools.

The amendment is expected to be called for a vote on the House floor this afternoon (Monday) – there is no committee hearing set to discuss the legislation at this time.

Though the amendment contains many of the desired components from the Vision 20/20 plan for an evidence-based funding model, other provisions generate significant concerns for the Alliance. As highlighted in the last Alliance Legislative Report, the income tax credit for private school tuition would drain hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools over the next four years.

Another provision added to the funding reform plan would allow any taxpayer to place on the ballot a referendum to require the school district to decrease its property tax levy if that school district was calculated to be at 110 percent of its adequacy target. This usurpation of the school board’s responsibilities, based on an arbitrary depiction of a school district’s financial stability, will be debilitating to local schools.

Based on these two egregious provisions, the Alliance opposes SB 1947 as currently drafted. School board members and administrators are urged to contact their legislators as soon as possible and let them know how these provisions would affect their school districts.