School districts have until 2018 to use capital outlay funds for certain insurance, energy, utilities and motor fuel costs following the passage of Senate Bill 194 at the 2013 legislative session.
The provision proved troubling for some legislative interim school funding study committee members after a look at the increasing reliance on it.
“I think we’ve got a serious problem come 2018 if districts continue to rely on (capital outlay),” Committee member Sen. Dan Dryden said at Wednesday’s committee meeting.
The capital outlay provision, which was introduced in 2009, was set to expire in 2014 before its extension to 2018. Each year since the capital outlay flexibility provision had been in place the total dollar amount has increased.
“After four years, we’re 15-times higher (in provision usage) than where (school districts) were,” Committee member Sen. Al Novstrup said.
In fiscal year 2009 school districts flexed a little more than $1 million with steady increases in FY 2010 and 2011 and topping out at over $15 million in FY 2012.
“We have to ask ourselves why (school districts) are using more capital outlay (dollars?” Committee member Sen. Billie Sutton asked. Sen. Sutton suggested a lack of funding was the cause.
Committee members are charged with studying how the school funding formula affects a district’s decision to seek an opt-out or utilize special tax levies, funding’s effect on graduation and technology’s relation to teaching.
The committee is scheduled to meet again on July 29-30. For updates on the study, check the ASBSD Blog.