Menu

State Budget Process Takes Next Step Forward

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, April 1, 2015

Last week, the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the School Aid Budget passed their versions of the budget. The budgets are very different, so work will continue and we don’t know what exactly to expect. The Legislature’s goal remains to finalize the budget before the beginning of June. The following highlights some of the differences between the House version, the Senate version and the Governor’s budget:

Foundation Allowance (Sec. 20)

Governor

House

Senate

Proposed a $75 across-the-board increase for all districts. However, with other changes throughout the budget, some districts will see a reduction in their net operating revenues. The funding for many of the deleted categoricals was rolled into the foundation allowance, which allows for an increase through the 2x formula of between $137 and $274 per pupil. The Chair also made other adjustments so that no district would see a net loss in funds due to the elimination of categoricals. Every district in the state will receive a net increase of at least $25. Proposed a foundation allowance increase through the 2x formula of between $50 and $100 per pupil and hold-harmless funding to make sure no district receives a cut in funding due to elimination of a categorical. However, under this plan there are some districts that will not see any increase.

 

Online Learning (Sec. 21f)

Governor

House

Senate

Maintains current law; additionally, allows community colleges to offer online courses to students. Also requires 100 percent of payment based on enrollment (current law is 80 percent upon enrollment and 20 percent on completion), and lowers the percentage of foundation for payment. Concurs with Governor except that it maintains the percentage for payment and the current 80 percent upon enrollment and 20 percent on completion formula. Concurs with the Governor.

 

Best Practices (Sec. 22f)

Governor

House

Senate

Changes the best practices to two out of three financial criteria and two out of three academic criteria. Also lowers the funding to $20 per pupil. No funds appropriated. Concurs with the Governor.

 

Consolidation Grants (Sec. 22g)

Governor

House

Senate

Maintains $2 million for grants for consolidations that occur on or after June 1, 2015. Increases appropriations to $5 million, but restricts grants to whole annexations or consolidation of districts or ISDs. It allows the districts or ISDs to spend the funds over three years.

No funds appropriated.

 

Technology Infrastructure Grants (Sec. 22i)

Governor

House

Senate

Reduces the current appropriation to $25 million (was $41.5 million last year). No funds appropriated. Concurs with Governor, but also includes specific earmarks and requires a report by Jan. 1, 2017, on results and outcomes.

 

At-Risk Funding (Sec. 31a)

Governor

House

Senate

Increases the appropriation from $100 million to $417.7 million and makes changes to the definition of at-risk pupil. Maintains current funding at $317.7 million, deletes language that defines an “at-risk pupil” and requires districts to implement a multitiered system of supports model. Concurs with the Governor and requires that at least 50 percent of the increase be spent on third grade reading, in addition to existing funds.

 

Early Literacy (Sec. 35-35g)

Governor

House

Senate

Proposes these new sections to create parent programs, reading intervention programs, profession development and other issues necessary to implement quality programs to ensure children are reading on grade level by the end of Grade 3. Includes funding in each line item. No funds appropriated. Concurs with the Governor on major points of programs and funding.

 

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

Governor

House

Senate

Maintains current appropriation ($26.6 million) for career and technical education and adds an additional $17.8 million for early/middle college programs. No funds appropriated. Increases the career and technical education appropriation to $40 million and allows adult education participants to be included. It also concurs with the Governor on the early/middle college funding.

 

Days and Hours (Sec. 101)

Governor

House

Senate

Makes no change to current law, requiring at least 175 days in 2015-2016 and 180 days in 2016-2017, and allowing for up to six snow days plus six more at State Superintendent’s discretion if they happen after April 1. Maintains the six allowable snow days but then allows for three more at the State Superintendent’s discretion at any point during the year. Concurs with the Governor.

 

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

Governor

House

Senate

Puts $75 million in the “Distressed Districts Rehabilitation Fund” without clarifying the eligibility criteria. Also includes language creating an early warning system in Sections 102, 103-103c similar to the bills that passed the Senate last session, but were not passed by the House (they have been reintroduced as House Bills 4325-4330). No funds appropriated. Lowers the Governor’s proposal to $8.9 million and concurs with the Governor on all language changes.

 

Computer Adaptive Testing (Sec. 104d)

Governor

House

Senate

No funds appropriated. Concurs with the Governor. Includes a $5 million reimbursement to districts that purchase a computer adaptive test for each student enrolled in the district. Reimbursements will be made on a per-pupil basis for districts that demonstrate an eligible purchase to MDE by Oct. 15.

 

Adult Education Programs (Sec. 107)

Governor

House

Senate

Maintains current year funding at $22 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. Also adds a definition of “career pathway.” No funds appropriated. Increases funding to $29 million and creates a pilot program to connect adult education students directly with employers and allows adult education students to take part in CTE programs.

 

Nonpublic Mandate Reimbursement (Sec. 152b)

Governor

House

Senate

No funds appropriated. Includes a $5 million appropriation to reimburse nonpublic schools for costs related to state mandates; this equals approximately $50 per pupil. Concurs with the Governor.

 

Both versions will now go before their respective full Appropriations Committees for consideration. Those hearings are expected to begin the week of April 13. In the meantime, contact your Senator and Representative and let them know what you like and don’t like about their proposals. Your input can influence the process as it moves forward.

Read More DashBoard Articles