Both the Senate Republicans and the House Democrats have released their budget proposals for the 2017-19 biennium. While both parties are confident that their respective budgets will fully fund K-12 education and comply with the 2012 McCleary ruling, the House and the Senate take radically different approaches as to how that will be achieved.
The House plan gradually reduces existing local levies to pay for education and introduces an estimated $3 billion dollars of new revenue in the form of new taxes. The Senate plan eliminates those levies for 2019, caps them at lower rate of 10% beginning in 2020, and implements a new statewide property tax at the rate of $1.55/1,000 of accessed property value.
At the school level, the Senate plan calls for a restructuring of how funds are distributed with a new per-pupil funding model while the House plan leaves the existing prototypical school student staffing model in place. The minimum state basic per pupil guarantee in the Senate plan is $9,200 per student for the 18/19 school year and $10,200 for the 19/20 with additional allocations for students that are homeless, in poverty, and/or in CTE, SPED, or TBIP programs. The House Democrats argue that changes in the existing funding model is not necessary given that the state’s K-12 education system simply has not been fully funded in the past.
The Senate plan also throws out voter approved Initiative 1351 pertaining to class size reductions, while the House plan delays implementation for two years. The Senate plan calls for cuts in Early Learning, Higher Education, and social services, must notably the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Both proposals do agree, however, on increasing minimum starting teacher pay to $45,000.
The EEC’s Perspective on the Budget Proposals
The EEC is supportive of the Senate’s concept of transitioning into a more student-centered model, but has numerous concerns about the Senate’s proposal as a whole. Click here to view EEC’s take on the initial release of Senate Bill 5067.
The EEC has also released a policy memo on House Bill 1843, acknowledging efforts to make significant investments in Highly Capable Programs, Career and Technical Education, and the Learning Assistance Program, albeit over time. View an analysis of House Bill 1843 and our concerns here.