Major details of JFC K-12 budget plan adopted

On Thursday, May 23 the GOP members of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) passed an omnibus motion on K-12 education on a party-line vote.  The motion covers two fiscal years (2019-20/1st year & 2020-21/2nd year).  The total amount by which state funding for K-12 education is increased over those two years under the motion is approximately $500 million.

Below are highlights of that plan (numbers are rounded):

General School Aids: Increase by $83.2 million (1st) and by an additional $246.7 million (2nd)

Revenue Limit Adjustment: Increase by $175 per pupil (1st) and by an additional $179 per pupil (2nd)*

Per Pupil Categorical Aid: Increase by $25 (1st) to $679 per pupil and by an additional $25 (2nd) to $704 per pupil.*

*Note: Adding the per pupil increases to revenue limits and per pupil categorical aid equates to spendable increases of $200/$204 per student.

Supplemental Per Pupil Aid: Create a new aid program for districts that receive little or no state general aid. This new program will guarantee certain districts a minimum state aid amount of $1,000. (Under this new aid, if a district receives less than $321 per pupil in general aid in 2019-20 or less than $296 per pupil in general aid in 2020-21, it will receive a supplemental per pupil aid payment in an amount that will bring its total aid per pupil up to $1,000.)

Low Revenue Ceiling: Increase to $9,700 per pupil (1st) and to $10,000 per pupil (2nd).

Special Education Aid: Increase of $15.5 million (1st) and $81.3 million (2nd) which would equate to reimbursement rates of 26% and 30%, an increase from the current 25.3%.

Categorical Aid for School Mental Health Services: Increase by $3 million each year.

School-Based Mental Health Services Collaboration Grant: Increase $3.25 million each year.

High-Cost Transportation Aid: Increase of $800,000 in each year to reduce the proration of this aid. (This would fund about 90% of eligible costs.)

School Day Milk Program: Increase of $383,000 in each year to raise the reimbursement rate from 58% to 100%.

Rural Teacher Talent Pilot Program:  Provide an additional $1.0 million per year for a total of $1.5 million per year.  (This program awards grants to CESA to coordinate with universities and colleges to provide practicums, student-teacher placement, and internships for undergraduate student in rural school districts.)

Sparsity Aid:  No expansion. Funding reduced by $500,000 (1st) and by $400,000 (2nd).
The new funding levels are estimated to fully fund payments under current law (to districts with fewer than 10 students per square mile and enrollments of less than 745 pupils).