The Documents Everyone (and I Mean Everyone!) Wants to See. A lot of documents related to the House and Senate omnibus education finance and policy bills have been hitting the web and I thought that I would post them as well. I will be developing a side-by-side comparison of the major components in each bill during the legislative break that begins next Tuesday, but the data runs that show the amount of general education and special education revenue each district is slated to receive under the respective bills provides a good start to the overall analysis of the different bills. The overall budget targets in each bill are the same, which is a departure from longstanding tradition for this early in the proceedings and it may lead to a more streamlined end to the session (that said, let’s not get ahead of ourselves). The runs posted here are only for the next two years, which does leave out a big aspect of the House bill that ties future increases in the general education basic formula to inflation. There is a difference in how the House and Senate handle the special education cross-subsidy as well. The House follows the framework in the Governor’s recommendations while the Senate starts more slowly, but ramps the cross-subsidy relief beyond what is in the Governor’s recommendations and House bill in the next biennium. All of these details will be laid out during the conference committee proceedings, so for the moment, let’s just pore over the and see the projected amounts contained from some of the major funding streams in the bill.
It’s important to point out that these are only the major funding streams. There are grants and several other possible funding streams that will find their way to districts. I will be watching it all closely.
Education Finance Committees Finish Their Part of the Journey. Both the Senate and House Education Finance Committees finished their leg in the construction of the 2023 omnibus education funding bill by working through amendments in their proceedings today. There were only a couple of technical amendments offered in the Senate, with members of the minority caucus offering remarks about how they would improve the bill, but no amendments. It was almost the same in the House committee although the minority offered a single amendment that served as their expression of how they would expend the $2.2 billion funding target. I was remarking to another veteran legislator about how different the process has become over the past decade. I’m not asking everyone to gather round the campfire and listen to a grizzled backwoodsman talk about the old days, but in an earlier era, we lobbyists would probably be sitting over at the Capitol complex this evening sorting through a stack of amendments, many of which had the sole intention of trying to catch members of the majority caucus making politically risky votes. Over the past few years, committee proceedings have become less dramatic and less contentious. There will still be drama and a boatload of proposed amendments offered on the floors of the House and Senate, but hold off on the popcorn and soft drinks for now. You may need the jumbo-sized of each when these bills hit the floors of those bodies.