K-12 education’s funding conversation got started this week in the legislature and takes its turn on center stage soon with bill hearings for legislation that would return the per-student allocation to its high-point of $4,805 and another that would guarantee a minimum, annual increase of two percent to funding for schools.
“The Associated School Boards’ goal is to, this year, get us back to the pre-cut levels of the per-student allocation. That’s $4,805,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified in a Joint Appropriations committee hearing on Thursday.
“We’re (school districts) just maintaining. We can’t grow anymore. We need the resources to make sure that happens.”
The “cut” Pogany referred to is the one handed down to districts for the 2011-12 school year, which resulted in a $52 million loss in funding for schools. House Bill 1004 would restore the per-student allocation (PSA) to $4,805, its highest level.
ASBSD supports the bill.
“We need your help. We, as school board members, are partners with (legislators) to continue to provide a world class education,” Pogany said. “If we can’t get a little more help at this (state) level, we’re going to have to go back to the taxpayers.”
Districts have had to turn to their taxpayers for opt-out dollars to recoup dollars lost to the cuts.
“It’s pretty significant to the local taxpayers, the amounts that are being opted-out right now,” Senator Billie Sutton, a Senate Appropriations committee member, said.
In fiscal year 2013 nearly 44 percent of school districts sought opt-outs totaling over $26 million, which is a $9 million increase from two years prior. The year before the cut was implemented.
In addition to the $4,805 bill, HB 1003 would go a long way to remedy the funding crisis facing districts. The bill would provide districts with an annual minimum increase of two percent to the funding formula.
The current funding formula provides districts with an annual three percent increase OR the change in CPI-W, whichever is less. An increase above the amount called for by statute can be provided.
ASBSD supports HB 1003.
ASBSD is not only asking legislators to help, but, as partners in providing quality education, we’re asking all school board members to advocate for the two funding bills.
“Board members have very high expectations for their schools. Help us achieve the expectations,” Pogany testified. “There’s a will, we just need your help to find a way.”