Tuesday, April 09, 2013

House Releases Omnibus Education Funding Bill.  It's only on-line at this point for all of us junkies to gawk at, but the House has made public its omnibus education funding bill for the 2013 legislative session.  The links for the bill and data runs can be found on this page:

Link:  http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committee.asp?comm=88006

To access the documents, go to the far right-hand column and scroll down to meeting notice for Wednesday, April 10.  Below, you will find the links to the bill, the appropriation and levy sheets, and the district-by-district data run.

There are  few surprises in the bill and some noted departures from the Governor's bill.  First, the basic formula takes center stage in both years of the biennium, with a proposed increase of $104/PU next year and an increase of $105/PU the year after.  This translates to roughly a 2% increase in the basic formula amount in each of the next two years.  This proposal goes well beyond what the Governor proposed (2% in the first year and an additional 0% in the second) and while the House target is more than $200 million more than the Governor/s, the House bill had to forego or delay a number of the Governor's recommendations.

The bill also raises the kindergarten weighting to 1.0 for kindergarten students in an all-day kindergarten program.  The weighting does not reach the 1.115 weighting for students in grades 1 through 3, but it is considerably larger than the 0.7 weighting proposed by the Governor.

The bill also increases the equalizing factor for the referendum levy, setting it at 122% of statewide average referendum market value.  Under current law, this would be approximately $573,000/PU, an increase of about $76,000 per pupil in the equalizing factor.  This value would change at both the local and state level due to the increase in the pupil weighting for kindergarten students in the House bill.  It will make every district and the state look a little "poorer" in terms of property wealth (the same aggregate property wealth divided by a larger denominator will result in a smaller value).  The proposed value after the pupil weighting change would be around $520,000/PU, but remember, the statewide average will be dropping as well so the aid-to-levy ratio will increase, making it a good move for low property wealth districts.

Districts with referendum revenue per pupil of less than $300/PU will be brought up to that amount through changes proposed for the state's equity program.  A similar provision was part of the recommendations of the Governor's Education Finance Working Group, but was not included in the Governor's budget.

Another way the House was able to fund its ambitious set of proposals was to delay (and somewhat reduce)  the implementation of the Governor's increase in special education.  The House adopts the framework of the Governor's proposed formula (a base formula, people weightings for three sets composed of different disability categories, and an excess cost formula).  This proposed increase will have to be included in the planning estimates for the next biennium if it is adopted in its current form.  The Governor's proposal cost $122 million (actually closer to $150 million by some calculations) and it will be interesting to see the price tag on the revised proposal.

Other highlights (or deviations from the Governor's budget) include:

  • Elimination of 11th grade math GRAD test and replacement with requirements developed by last summer's task force.
  • No revenue stream for teacher evaluation.  Teacher evaluation costs become an eligible expenditure within the 2% staff development set-aside.
  • Re-establishment of the integration levy (now the Achievement and Integration Revenue Program) eliminated by the legislature in 2011.
  • No significant changes to the equity revenue program other than the formula component for districts with less than $300/PU in referendum revenue.
  • No change in the debt service equalization program equalizing factors.
  • School can start before Labor Day but cannot be in session the Thursday and Friday immediately preceding Labor Day.
  • Districts can use compensatory revenue for pre-kindergarten programs.
  • $56 million in early childhood scholarships.

There are obviously a number of other provisions and I urge you to contact me with any questions you might have after reading the bill or hearing things through the grapevine.

The committee will be going through the bill tomorrow with Thursday (and Friday, if necessary) dedicated to amending the bill.  It is the committee's intention to have the bill out of committee and on its way to the  Tax Committee by the end of the week.  I urge you to check the House web page for live video if you are interested in watching the proceedings live.

It appears the Senate will be releasing its version of the bill on Thursday.


Anonymous said...

I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your content.
The article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

Feel free to surf to my webpage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtCm82Itxoc

Anonymous said...

Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay. I'm definitely enjoying
your blog and look forward to new posts.

my webpage; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al2XPf2DgwE