Senate Reports K-12 Budget Recommendation

Bob Kefgen's picture

On Tuesday morning, the Senate K-12 budget subcommittee reported out its version of the K-12 budget for 2018-19. What’s in? The Senate included a sizable foundation increase on the 2X formula, new funding for CTE programs that do not have access to local CTE millage dollars, and the $25 per pupil bonus for high school students that first appeared in last year’s budget. What’s out? The Governor’s proposals for cuts to shared time programs and cyber schools, a per pupil incentive payment for CTE students, and changes to the boilerplate for At Risk funding.


Here’s a side-by-side breakdown of the Senate budget recommendation and the executive budget recommendation:

Item Executive Senate
Foundation Allowance $120-240/pupil allocated on 2X formula

  • Minimum foundation: $7,871
  • Maximum foundation: $8,409
  • Gap: $538
$115-230/pupil allocated on 2X formula

  • Minimum foundation: $7,861
  • Maximum foundation: $8,404
  • Gap: $543
High School Foundation Increase $25/pupil foundation increase for students in 9-12 grade. This is a continuation of current practice. $25/pupil foundation increase for students in 9-12 grade. This is a continuation of current practice.
CTE Incentive Payments Up to $50/pupil foundation increase for student enrolled in CTE programs.

  • $25/pupil for all CTE pupils
  • Additional $25/pupil for CTE pupils studying high-demand fields
Allocates the same total amount of money ($5 million), but distributes it equally in grants to each career education planning district (CEPD) that is located in an ISD that does NOT levy a CTE millage. At least 50% of the funds must be used for equipment purchases.
Shared Time Cap Capped the amount of shared time FTEs a district could collect at no more than five percent of a district's total FTEs. Not included.
Cyber School Foundation Cut Caps the foundation allowance paid to cyber schools at 75% of the state's minimum foundation allowance, or $6,586. Not included.
Partnership Districts Appropriated $8 million to support the MDE’s Partnership Model as outlined in the state’s ESSA plan. Creates a new Partnership District accountability system that would tie a portion of the foundation allowance for Partnership Districts to meeting new requirements. Specifically, these districts would have to amend their partnership agreements to include:

  • Measurable academic goals, including a mandatory goal that all students be on track to achieve proficiency within 36 months.
  • Accountability measures, which must include either school closure or reconstitution if a partnership district does not meet their goals. The language also stipulates a detailed process for reconstitution including (among other things) replacing the elected school board and cancelling collective bargaining agreements

Notes and Next Steps

The cost for the Senate proposal is approximately $100 million higher than the Executive Recommendation. The Senate proposes making up the difference primarily by allocating additional general fund dollars. This could work if revenue estimates increase beyond what was projected at the January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. But if revenues come up short, the Senate would be significantly over budget.

Today’s budget recommendation now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee and then the Senate floor, both of which will happen after spring break. The recommendation can be amended at both stages, so further changes are possible.

The Governor’s Marshall Plan proposal was not included as part of the Senate’s recommendation. Rather, it appears that the Senate intends to deal with the Marshall Plan separately at a later date.

For their part, the House is holding off on reporting out its budget recommendation until after the legislature returns from its spring break in the second week of April.

Once both the House and Senate finish their budgets, both versions get sent to conference committee where the key players from the Senate, House, and Governor’s office hammer out a compromise.


For anyone who wants to dig deeper into the details, 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.