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State Budget Heads to Governor

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, June 10, 2015

Last week, the House and Senate approved the state’s General Fund budget, as well as the School Aid Budget. In April, we shared with you the major differences between the House, Senate and Governor’s versions of the budget. Now we can provide final information on what was agreed upon and what to expect for your district. The budget still needs to be signed by the Governor and there may be a few vetoes, but we don’t expect any of these major components will change.

Foundation Allowance (Sec. 20)

Schools will receive between $70 and $140 more per pupil through the 2x formula. This will make the new state minimum foundation allowance $7,391 per pupil with a new maximum of $8,169. This closes the funding gap to $778 per pupil. However, because best practices and performance funding grants were removed from the budget, the net per-pupil increase will be lower than $70-140 for districts who received best practices or performance funding money last year.

An additional categorical was added that would ensure that all districts receive at least a $25 per-pupil increase. This was added to address those districts that would lose more in best practices’ money than they are gaining in the increased foundation allowance. If you would like to see information specific to your district, the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies have published a district-by-district estimated impact statement.

Online Learning (Sec. 21f)

The budget maintains current law and allows community colleges to offer online courses to students. It also requires 100 percent of payment to the online course provider based on enrollment (current law is 80 percent on enrollment and 20 percent on completion) and lowers the percentage of foundation payment to 6.67 percent.

Best Practices (Sec. 22f)

This section was not included in the budget (see Foundation Allowance above).

Consolidation Grants (Sec. 22g)

Consolidation grants are increased to $5 million, but restricted to grants for whole annexations or consolidation of districts or ISDs. It allows the districts or ISDs to spend the funds over three years.

Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grants (Sec. 22i)

This coming year’s TRIG-appropriated funds are $23.5 million. This is a slight reduction from what was proposed. The budget also spells out what specifically the money should go toward including $11.3 million for district incentive grants and $9.3 million for device purchases.

At-Risk Funding (Sec. 31a)

The budget increases at-risk funding by $70 million bringing the total to $379 million. It also revises the program requirements by requiring that a district must implement a multitiered system of supports and model of instruction and intervention in at least kindergarten through third grade.

Early Literacy (Secs. 35-35g)

The bill establishes new sections to create parent programs, reading intervention programs, professional development and other items necessary to implement quality programs to ensure children are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. It also includes funding for each line item.

Career and Technical Education/Middle Colleges (Secs. 61a-61b)

Increases the funding by $10 million to $36.6 million for career and technical education and adds an additional $10 million for early/middle college programs. It also allows adult education participants to be included in CTE programs that are offered outside of regular school hours.

Days & Hours (Sec. 101)

Makes no change to current law, requiring at least 1,098 instructional hours, and at least 175 days in 2015-2016 and 180 days in 2016-2017. It also allows up to six snow days, but then allows three more at the State Superintendent’s discretion at any point during the year.

Early Warning/Distressed Districts (Secs. 11r, 102 and 103-103c)

The agreement removes funding and language regarding an early warning system. Separate bills addressing this, House Bills 4325-4330, are still working their way through the system. The budget does include $1.5 million to reimburse districts for the cost of licensing school data analytical tools (new Section 102d).

Computer Adaptive Testing (Sec. 104d)

The budget includes a $4 million reimbursement to districts that purchase diagnostic and screening tools or benchmark assessments for K-3 pupils intended to increase reading proficiency.

Adult Education Programs (Sec. 107)

The budget increases funding to $25 million, and adds a person who is 20 years or older but determined to be below the ninth grade level in reading, math or both. A definition of “career pathway” also was added. A pilot program to connect adult education students directly with employers was created.

Nonpublic Mandate Reimbursement (Sec. 152b)

The House had included $5 million in this section; however, the budget agreement does not include this funding.

If you have any questions regarding the School Aid Budget, please contact the MASB Government Relations team at MASBgov@masb.org or 517.327.5900.

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