Thursday, March 24, 2016

P-12 Budgeting: Legislative Action So Far

 | By Susan Perkins Weston | 

Wednesday, the Senate Appropriation and Revenue Committee voted out its version of a budget for Kentucky P-12 education, and today the Senate as a whole voted approved that plan. Compared to the state budget for the current 2016 fiscal year, the Senate committee plan for 2017 would:
  • Increase SEEK base and Tier 1 funding, facilities, retirement and health insurance
  • Cut many line items that fund specific kinds of support for student learning
  • Eliminate entire line items, including KETS technology, Kentucky School for the Blind, and Kentucky School For the Deaf
  • Increase dollars not controlled by line items, giving the Department of Education the capacity to restore some of the funding from the eliminated line items
  • Leave a puzzle about the total funding for SEEK
Details follow, along with notes on how the Senate approach differs from the House edition.  A conference committee will almost certainly be needed to work out a final budget that can be enacted into law.

Compared to FY 2106's budget, the Senate version would provide:
  • $5 million more for the SEEK formula (when combined with growing local revenue, enough to continue the 2016 base guarantee of $3,981 for a growing number of pupils, along with student need add-ons and equalize local Tier I revenue)
  • $14 million more for SEEK facilities
  • $8 million more for the retirement match for teachers
  • $9 million more for health insurance for school district employees
 These increases match the budget plan approved by the House.

The Senate budget would offer:
  • $8 million less for preschool
  • $3 million less for family resource and youth service centers
  • $2 million less for ESS tutoring
  • $1.5 million less for textbooks and other instructional resources
  • $1.5 million less for Read to Achieve grants
  • $1.1 million less for professional development
  • $0.9 million less for children in state agency care
  • $0.9 million less for safe schools and alternative schools
  • $0.6 million less for gifted and talented programs
  • $1.7 million less from 14 smaller grants
The House version would not make these cuts, which are closely aligned with the Governor’s budget proposal for 9% cuts to many programs.

The Senate plan would provide no funding for some line items that appeared in the budget for 2016, including:
  • $23 million gone for KETS education technology
  • $10 million gone for Kentucky School for the Deaf
  • $7 million gone for Kentucky School for the Blind
  • $6 million gone from eight smaller grants
The House budget would eliminate the KETS line and the added vocational staffing, but continued the other line items.

Some of those eliminated line items may still receive support, drawing on $35 million that the Senate approach would provide to the Department of Education without assigning them a specific use, including:
  • $20 million for KDE Operations and Support Services that is not addressed in the line-item amounts
  • $15 million for KDE Learning and Results Services that is not addressed in the line item amounts
The House plan would offer non-line-item funding totaling $28 million.

The SEEK section of the budget includes thirteen line items that add up to more than the General Fund total. That is, the budget bill would:
  • Shows $3,036,462,000 in line items for SEEK base, Tier I, facilities, retirement, and other entries
  • Shows $3,035,747,400 as the SEEK General Fund total
  • Leaves $714,600 as the puzzling difference between the two
The House version would create the same puzzle!

You can download a PrichBlog comparison of the House and Senate  versions of the budget legislation here. Check out the legislative record on this bill here: click on the links for HCS and to download the full bill versions.  

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