Bill providing appropriators leeway on waivers reaches Senate floor

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Bill providing appropriators leeway on waivers reaches Senate floor

A bill providing appropriators more decision making ability on waivers is a step closer to law.


On a 6-3 vote, Senate appropriators approved House Bill 1166, which provides the Joint or Interim Appropriations committee the power to approve, amend or deny teacher compensation waivers.


Sen. Justin Cronin told committee members the bill came about following the past year’s waiver process during which time members of the School Finance Accountability Board granted full or partial waivers to districts who did not meet the teacher pay requirements established in 2016’s funding formula change.


Sen. Cronin noted when waivers reached appropriators following approval the accountability board the options presented to committee members were limited.


“We did not give this accountability board the direction or the full intent that we should have,” Sen. Cronin said, adding that, among other reasons, declining enrollment left school district who did not meet the accountability requirement in a bind.


“There were some things in there that caused some problems for some schools.”


Appropriators did not have the opportunity in the law to change the waivers to account for these circumstances, thus leaving them in a situation where they could only approve the decisions passed on to them.


ASBSD supports the bill.


“I trust that your decision making in this body would have relieved some of those (issues),” ASBSD Executive Wade Pogany testified in reference to appropriators ensuring intent of the law was met.


Sen. Cronin assured the committee the bill would not make appropriators a “second finance accountability board” but rather afford them the opportunity to “make a decision as a legislative body as to what our intent really was.”


HB 1166 heads to the Senate floor for approval.


For updates on the bill, check the ASBSD Blog, Bill Tracker page, Twitter feed and Facebook page.

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