The legislative session continues to move slower than normal while legislators continue to review the governor’s budget recommendations and get more familiar with the issues that will come before their committees this session. For the most part, legislators are waiting for an updated forecast to come out early March and for legislative leadership to establish committee budget targets shortly after that. Then, the real work of putting a budget together begins.
The governor’s bill has several major areas of concern.
• The 1-percent increase to the basic formula in 2013-14 will not cover rising costs. At a minimum, schools need inflationary increases to maintain class sizes, program offerings and other valuable educational opportunities.
• In 2014-15, the governor invests $122 million to reduce the special education unfunded costs which frees up general education dollars that are used to cover the mandated services. The dollars are distributed in such a way that some districts will get an increase of 1 percent while other districts will see increases over 4 percent. Without any additional revenue on the basic formula, districts with the lower increases will struggle to maintain programming for their students.