The House Education Finance committee took up a handful of bills (HF 1, 53, 134, 235) last Tuesday dealing with the school aid payment and property tax recognition shifts. Several legislators in the House on both sides of the aisle are advocating repaying the school aid payment schedule back to the 90/10 schedule before any new money goes to education programs.
Some are arguing that the property tax recognition shift be repaid as well before new money goes to schools. Repaying the aid payments schedule from the current 82.5% to 90% would cost about $525 million. The property tax recognition shift would cost another $550 million.
The February budget forecast that will come out in less than two weeks is likely to show another improvement in state revenues. Monthly updates show an additional $250 million toward the bottom line on June 30. If that amount of money is in fact surplus, it will enhance school payments by another 3% or so.
MREA and several organizations believe the state should allow the current repayment statute to work and not to make district cash flow a priority over other important funding needs such as kindergarten, special education, technology and more. Read a letter MREA co-authored for the House Education Finance committee on this subject.