Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What did the Governor just say?

The Governor's budget address is live now, and he said "This budget maintains the General Fund appropriation for SEEK, the basic funding formula for teaching in the classroom which represents some 77 percent of our K-12 spending."

Maintaining the appropriation may mean that the base guarantee can go up. That's because the state share of the guaranteed amount is always the amount needed after districts raise their required 30¢ share. As long as property values rise, the 30¢ tax level brings in more money each year, and the state can fund a growing guarantee without appropriating more money.

And yet, there are two great things to worry about even as the governor offers that good news.

First, the governor is speaking this minute on expanded gambling as the source he recommends to fund his budget--and saying that without gambling much deeper cuts will be needed.

Second, if property values slip, rather than growing, then the local share of SEEK will go down. If the local share goes down, then the state must either provide more funding for the guarantee--or cut the guarantee itself. The governor's proposal assumes that values are still rising, and I very much hope that assumption is correct.

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