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School Aid Budget Agreed to by Conference Committee

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, June 1, 2016

On Tuesday, the conference committee on school aid reached agreement on the budget. It was supported by a vote of 4-2 with the two Democrats on the committee passing on the vote. Passage is expected next week in the Senate and House. The following highlights some of the sections we've been following for you with results from the negotiations.

Foundation Allowance (Sec. 20)

Report agrees with the proposed increase of $60-120 per pupil to be distributed through the 2x formula and maintains the current pupil membership blend at 90/10. It also includes a new section, 20m, for a supplemental appropriation to ensure that hold harmless districts receive the full $60 increase.

School Reform Office (Sec. 21)

The $1 million for CEO compensation was removed but it did include $5 million for districts with schools under the oversight of the SRO.

Consolidation Grants (Sec. 22g)

Grants include dissolution but do not include consolidation of services. The amount is also reduced to $500,000 from the $5 million allocated for this year. It also includes an additional $2.5 million to assist with Marshall Public Schools’ annexation of Albion Community Schools following the vote in May.

“At-Risk” Pupil Support (Sec. 31a)

Report maintains funding at $389.7 million and allows hold harmless districts to qualify for funding under the section. The funding allocation formula remains the same as last year.

Gang Prevention & Intervention Programs (Sec. 31c)

Includes $3 million for grants to districts with partnerships with nonprofits, law enforcement or community groups to improve public safety, reduce gang-related activity and increase high school graduation rates.

Special Education Task Force Reforms (Sec. 54b)

This section was added for next year with $1.1 million to implement the task force recommendations. This appropriation includes $500,000 for training in local districts and ISDs related to the safe implementation of emergency restraints and seclusion (the Legislature is currently considering legislation to change the state policy for restraint and seclusion).

CTE Early/Middle Colleges (Sec. 61b)

Appropriation includes $1 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and $10 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Statewide School Water Testing (Sec. 78)

This was removed from the school aid budget and placed in the Department of Education budget. That budget includes $4.5 million to reimburse schools up to $1,000 per building for the cost of lead testing.

Educator Evaluations (Sec. 95a)

This section was not included for next year. Therefore, no further money was appropriated to reimburse districts for training and implementation of the new evaluation system for teachers and administrators.

FIRST Robotics (Sec. 99h)

This section was expanded from grades seven to 12 to kindergarten through grade 12 and funded at $2.5 million.

MiSTEM Grants (Sec. 99s)

Budget includes $9.5 million to support STEM programs and implement grants based on the MiSTEM council recommendations, a $275,000 increase from last year.

Assessment Funding (Sec. 104)

The report reduces funding for statewide assessments but maintains support for M-STEP. It also includes an allocation for access to a kindergarten assessment.

Computer Adaptive Testing (Sec. 104d)

The Governor had recommended eliminating this section but the conference committee maintained current funding to reimburse schools for the purchase of computer adaptive tests.

Nonpublic School Mandate Reimbursement (Sec. 152b)

The report includes $2.5 million to reimburse private schools for costs associated with complying with state mandates.

If you have questions about any other issue not listed here, feel free to contact us. And look for more information once the budget has been approved by the House and the Senate in the coming weeks.

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