Capital Outlay flexibility concerns were raised by some funding committee members at the start of the study in June. At Monday’s (Oct. 21) fourth and final meeting, they addressed them.
Committee members voted 9-5 to support a bill that would require districts to steadily decrease their reliance on the provision, which allows districts to use dollars from the capital outlay fund for certain general fund expenditures, over the next four years until the sunset date in 2018 is reached.
The proposed bill would require districts utilizing the flexibility to reduce the amount used in general fund expenses to 40 percent in fiscal year 2015, 30 percent in FY 2016, 20 percent in FY 2017 and 10 percent in FY 2018. To review a new ASBSD resolution opposing the flexibility reductions, click here.
“I think districts are going to have a real problem come 2018,” Sen. Dan Dryden said.
Dryden said he was unsure if a dollar for dollar make up from the state would be possible to help districts recoup the funds lost with the reduction of available capital outlay dollars.
“If we don’t replace those (capital outlay) dollars are we saying school have enough money?” Sen. Billie Sutton asked, adding that a reduction in the flexibility would be similar to cut for some districts.
Not all districts utilize the flexibility provision, which was implemented in 2009, but in its four years of availability has grown in usage by 15-times ($1 million in FY 2009 to $15 million in FY 2012).
“They’re (districts) going to the capital outlay (flexibility) for the money that’s been cut,” Sen. Kathy Tyler said. “It’s money they need.”
Tyler added she believes the proposed bill removes the local control aspect of the flexibility, as well.
Rep. Anne Hajek said the capital outlay fund has a specific purpose that schools need to stick to, but also shared a solution to the funding problem.
“Our schools need more money,” Hajek said.