Gov's Budget Rec Gives Reason for Cautious Optimism
The budget process is far from over, but it seems to be starting on a positive note for Principals. In his budget proposal, which he rolled out this past Wednesday, Governor Snyder proposed spending an additional $325 million on K-12 schools. That includes a foundation increase, an additional $50/pupil for high schools, and $7 million for continued educator evaluation implementation and training.
- $128 million increase to the foundation on the 2X formula. This is $50/100 more per pupil, which equates to minimum/maximum foundations of $7,611/$8,279 respectively. Note that this would reduce the gap between minimum and maximum foundation districts to $668/pupil, the smallest it has ever been.
- An additional $50 per pupil for students in 9-12 grade. This is a huge win for our members and shows recognition that high school is increasingly more expensive! Importantly, these dollars come without any additional strings attached. In other words, this is just like the foundation allowance.
- $7 million to local districts and ISDs for continued educator evaluation training and implementation costs. This money may be used to pay for training and other implementation costs associated with the state's educator evaluation law (MCL 380.1249 and 380.1249b).
- $150 million increase for at-risk; equating to $778 per pupil, which is an increase of $105 per pupil. Hold harmless districts are now eligible to receive funds and the pool of eligibility has expanded to include students in households receiving SNAP and TANF benefits as well as homeless, migrant and foster care students. Because the pool of eligible students has expanded, this line item will still be underfunded, but it's a start. The section also now contains some additional MDE oversight for schools receiving At Risk dollars, but that language is likely to change during the budget process.
- $7 million for declining enrollment. These dollars will be distributed based on a formula that takes into account the district's current enrollment as compared to its average enrollment for the preceding two-year period.
- Significant continued investment in MPSERS. The Governor's budget proposes big increases in spending on MPSERS, but these dollars will simply offset increased costs caused by unfunded liability growth and more conservative invest return assumptions. The net impact for districts should be flat.
- $5.6 million expansion of Pathways to Potential, a Department of Health and Human Services program that embeds DHS Success Coaches in schools with a goal of removing barriers to school attendance and reducing truancy. There are currently 246 Pathways schools in 32 counties across the state. The additional dollars would reduce caseloads and expand the program to additional districts.
- $20 million for CTE equipment upgrades and capacity building activities. This is a one-time allocation, but is open to all districts and ISDs in the state.
While this budget is good news overall, it is important to remember that this is only a recommendation at this point. The House and Senate budget subcommittees will now begin the process of working on their budget recommendations, which we expect to be finished by March 30. The months of April and May will be spent hashing out the difference between the various proposals and a final 2017-2018 budget agreement should be sent to the by the beginning of June.
As you might expect with a state budget, there is plenty of detail available for those Principals with a twisted desire to dig into the details of the Governor's proposal. The best compendium of available resources is maintained and regularly updated by the Michigan School Business Officials and includes all the relevant budget documents, bills, summaries, and policy and fiscal analyses.
Imagine the looks you'll get when you saunter into your next staff meeting with a 220-page budget bill under your arm!