Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Governor's budget is out

Very quick post to give you the big news, as much as there is any: the Governor's budget is now posted ("House 1" because it goes to the House now, as much as that's a confusing term for the Governor's budget). Thus, the preliminary (because they're also based on the Governor's budget) Ch.70 numbers are posted. (those are downloadable spreadsheets. Remember to unhide your macros.)

Here's the bit that's news: the health insurance line in the foundation budget isn't going up (and it is UP, not down, as that's a typo on the Ch.70 page) by the same 1.1% as the rest of the foundation. Instead it's going up by (quick calcuation) around 10%.

Important point, though: the language isn't doing anything other than sticking new dollar amounts in. It doesn't change the percentages, doesn't tie it to GIC or anything else, and thus isn't an implementation of the foundation budget recommendations. Here's what that section says:
The foundation budget rates for the employee benefits and fixed charges category will be increased to $414.79 for pre-school and half day kindergarten, $829.55 for full day kindergarten, $829.59 for elementary, $810.59 for middle school, $761.96 for high school, $3,259.68 for in-school special education, $505.99 for limited English pre-school and half day kindergarten, $1,002.45 for limited English all other grades, and $1,196.77 for vocational. All other foundation budget categories for each district shall be calculated in the same manner as in fiscal year 2017.
So, what does that do?
For the districts that are majority locally funded and are spending over foundation, it doesn't do much; their budgets would be going up this much, in any case. They're going to be looking at the minimum $20 per pupil increase in aid, rather than this (and remember how that works; I hope to do an update of that post soon).
For districts right at foundation that are majority state funded, it will boost their foundation budget (and through state aid).
Don't, however, let anyone tell you that the Governor just implemented an FBRC recommendation. This is a simple dollar increase.

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