Just as children are anxious the night before Christmas, so too are education lobbyists who have waited until this point of session to see what House and Senate education leaders have in store for education funding specifics this year.
We know the various spending levels: the House is a $157 million and the Senate is now at $361 million. But we don’t know how they will spend their budget targets.
On Tuesday morning the House Education Finance committee will release its proposal and discuss it later in the day.
MREA sees the House target as woefully low and isn’t sufficient to support even “1&1” on the formula. Speculation is that the House will get creative in how they put their bill together. We’re not going to go into some of the potential options they could be looking at in terms of refinancing existing programs in order to pay for general education funding. We’ll know soon enough.
The Senate will release its plan later on Tuesday and discuss it Wednesday morning. The Senate is at about twice the level of new funding as the House, but advocates for E-12 spending are disappointed in their $361 million target as well.That figure is enough to pay for “2&2” on the formula.
Nobody expects the Senate to put money there. Instead, MREA anticipates a host of categorical funding for other programs. There’s potential for rural facility support in the Senate bill. At this point of session the Senate bill is the only hope for advancing deferred maintenance funding for non Alternative Facility districts.
Both House and Senate education committees will debate and “mark-up” their respective omnibus education finance bills on Thursday and send them forward in the process. Next week’s update will contain detail of each plan compared to the Governor’s education plan.