Monday, January 4, 2010

What $30 to $40 million are districts getting?

The Governor's press release is headlined "Governor Signs Budget Reduction Order, Gives Excess Education Dollars to Districts" and subtitled "$30 to $40 million to be distributed among every school district in state."

Where did that money come from?

In April 2008, the legislature included it in the original SEEK budget for this school year.

In June 2009, the legislature changed that. It altered part of the formula, so that the money would not be sent to districts during the school year. It also added language saying that any remaining money could be sent at the end of the year. Between the lines, the message seemed to be: "We may have to cut these dollars. Don't count on them. We'll send them if we can, but no promises."

Today, the Governor's announcement seemed to say: "Do count on these dollars. We can send them. You'll get the checks in June. Revenue is bad, but not bad enough for us to hold the dollars back completely."

Accordingly, it isn't new money, extra money, or excess money. It's simply original money, promised in 2008, pulled back in 2009, now scheduled to be delivered in 2010.

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