It Appears There is a Deal. There isn't much in the way of details, but it has been announced that accord on the big furniture in the E-12 budget bill has been reached. At this point, it looks like the overall budget number that has been agreed to is $525 million over base (the Governor's last offer on the last night of the regular session). The only detail that has been announced is the agreement contains a 2% increase in the basic formula in both years of the coming biennium. This is an increase from the conference committee report that passed the House and Senate where the increase was 1.5% in the first year and 2.0% in the second year. This adds about $70 million to the conference committee report's $283 million that would be delivered through the basic formula. That would leave an approximately $55 million that is yet unaccounted for in the budget agreement, the math being $400 million (conference committee target) + $70 million (additional money on basic formula) + X (appropriations yet to be announced) = $525 million (special session E-12 bill budget target).
It is my sincere hope that the basic framework of the bill already passed by the Legislature remains in place and that the newly-minted facilities financing program remains part of the bill. I would venture that there will be additional money going into school readiness or other early education programs and it will be interesting to see whether or not that's the case.
It will also be interesting to see if any new policy issues surface in the revised bill. I will provide you with details as they become available. Here are media links on the story:
StarTribune: Budget Deal Forming
Minnesota Public Radio: Budget Talks Break Through
Pioneer Press: Dayton, Daudt Very Close on Budget Deal