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February21

House halts fine money distribution bill

A bill calling for the equalization in the distribution of fine money to school districts was swept away from the House floor.

 

Representatives voted 32-38 to defeat House Bill 1204.

 

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Dryden, who introduced a similar other revenue equalization bill that died in committee, would have included the redistributed fine dollars in a district’s local effort calculation for state aid.

 

Rep. Dryden said the change in local effort calculation would have required an $11.6 million deposit from the state to equalize their share in state aid based on the Cutler-Gabriel provision, which establishes a 54-46 percent split in state and local effort, respectively, for state aid.

 

Rep. Dryden said HB 1204 required Representatives to examine their philosophical view on how the state should fund education – either equally statewide or by staying with the current method.

 

“What way should we be distributing state aid to education?”  Dryden asked.

 

ASBSD opposed the bill. Member districts of the Association voted unanimously at Delegate Assembly to keep other revenue in its current state prescribed by statute.

 

“(The bill) changes the whole parameters of the (state) aid formula,” Rep. Julie Bartling said. “There will be winners. There will be losers.”

 

In response to a question, Rep. Dryden said there was no guarantee the state would chip in the $11.6 million that would have been required to meet the Cutler-Gabriel provision or that the per-student allocation would increase.

 

“This (bill) is not putting new money in education,” Rep. Jim Peterson said. “It’s reshuffling money that is already there.”

 

Rep. Mike Stevens said the question about how to fund education properly goes beyond just HB 1204, which he opposed, and focus should be on the entire funding system.

 

“(State aid) causes (schools) to compete for dollars,” Rep. Stevens said. “We, as a body, need to seriously look at doing something different.”

 

For updates from legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Bill Tracker page.

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