Updated! School Aid Budget—A Look at the Three Proposals

Aaron Keel

By Aaron Keel, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, May 11, 2016

Both the full House and Senate have passed their versions of the budget and a full section-by-section analysis can be found here. The omnibus budget bills, which combine the K-12, community college and university budgets into one, are now likely on track for a conference committee. The following highlights some of the differences between the House-passed version, the Senate-passed version and the Governor’s proposed budget.

Foundation Allowance (Sec. 20)

Governor House Senate
Proposed increases in the foundation allowance from $60-120 per pupil distributed through the 2x formula. He also changes the pupil membership blend to 50% of the fall count plus 50% of the previous February count. Agreed with the foundation increase proposed by the Governor, but changed the pupil membership blend to 85% of the current October count plus 15% of the previous October count. Agreed with the foundation increase proposed by the Governor, but changed the pupil membership blend to 75% of the fall count plus 25% of the previous February count.

School Reform Office (Sec. 21)

Governor House Senate
Creates new section with $5 million appropriated for districts with schools under the oversight of the School Reform Office. Includes $100 placeholder for this section. Concurs with Governor but adds a reporting requirement for the School Reform Officer.

Consolidation Grants (Sec. 22g)

Governor House Senate
Maintains $5 million for grants for consolidations or annexations that occur on or after June 1, 2016; also includes dissolutions. Concurs with the Governor, but also adds consolidation of operations or services between districts. Increases the grants to $6.5 million and requires a feasibility study to be done before districts qualify for a grant. If a district received a grant last year, they can apply again this year.

"At-Risk” Pupil Support (Sec. 31a)

Governor House Senate
Maintains total funding of $389,695,500, including vision, hearing, and child and adolescent health services. Increases by $18 million to allow eligibility for hold harmless and out-of-formula districts. Concurs with Governor.

Gang Prevention and Intervention Programs (Sec. 31c)

Governor House Senate
Eliminates funding of $1 million and repealed section. Increases funding by $3 million for a total of $4 million. Concurs with the Governor.

CTE Early/Middle Colleges (Sec. 61b)

Governor House Senate
Increases funding by $5 million to bring appropriation to $15 million. Concurs with executive recommendation, but allows up to $500,000 for grants for planning new or expanded programs. Maintains current year appropriation at $10 million, but restructures the section such that planning grants may be applied for and funded under this section.

Statewide School Water Testing (Sec. 78)

Governor House Senate
Added $9 million to provide reimbursement to schools that test their water systems for lead. Did not include, instead moved the $9 million appropriation to the Department of Environmental Quality and allows for private schools to apply. Did not include, instead moved to the Department of Education budget and funded at $4 million.

Educator Evaluations (Sec. 95a)

Governor House Senate
Appropriates $10 million to implement the evaluation systems for teachers and administrators. Did not include this section. Includes $100 placeholder for this section.

FIRST Robotics (Sec. 99h)

Governor House Senate
Increases funding for district grants to $2.5 million. Maintains current year appropriation at $2 million. Concurs with Governor’s increase.

MiSTEM Grants (Sec. 99s)

Governor House Senate
Adds $1.3 million bringing total to $10.5 million to support STEM programs and implement grants based on the MiSTEM council recommendations. Maintains current year appropriation of approximately $9.2 million, but revises math/science center funding by creating 10 MiSTEM centers in each prosperity region that would coordinate with the MiSTEM council to distribute at least half of the funding to districts for participation in eligible STEM programs. Agreed with the Governor’s increase based on the MiSTEM council recommendations, but earmarked some of the funds for specific purposes.

Assessment Funding (Sec. 104)

Governor House Senate
Reduces funding for statewide assessments but maintains support for M-STEP. Includes $22 million for a statewide contract for a computer adaptive test to replace the M-STEP and removes all other support for the M-STEP. Appropriates approximately $2 million more than the Governor to put toward digital literacy preparation and access to a kindergarten assessment. Concurs with the Governor on all other points.

Computer Adaptive Testing (Sec. 104d)

Governor House Senate
Eliminates $4 million and a repealed section. Concurs with the Governor. Includes a $9.5 million reimbursement to districts that purchase a computer adaptive test for each student enrolled in the district. Reimbursements will be made based on each student taking the test, it does not have to be provided to all students in a district.

Nonpublic Mandate Reimbursement (Sec. 152b)

Governor House Senate
Did not include. Includes a $1 million appropriation to reimburse nonpublic schools for costs related to state mandates. Includes $5 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for costs related to state mandates.

The second Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference has been scheduled for May 17, 2016. Once the CREC has determined the estimated revenues available, we will see leadership budget targets being set and move closer to the conference committee and the end of the budget process. Leadership has set a self-imposed deadline of June 1, or at least early June, for completion.

In the meantime, contact your Senator and Representative, let them know what you like and don’t like about their proposals. Your input can influence the process as it moves forward.

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