State Update: Executive Proposal Update on P-12 Education
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
School Aid Increase
The Executive Budget proposes an overall $956 million School Aid increase (3.6%) including a $338 million (1.9%) increase in Foundation Aid, which includes an additional $50 million set aside for community schools bringing this carve out of Foundation Aid to $250 million. The minimum set-aside for community schools funding increases from $75,000 to $100,000
School aid runs were sent out last night and can be found here
School Aid Growth Cap
The Executive Budget proposal also changes the School Aid Growth Cap to a 10-year average annual income growth instead of annual income growth. The stated rationale for this change is to reduce the volatility of the Growth Cap and improve its accuracy as a predictor of the State’s underlying fiscal capacity.
Executive Budget proposed to revert back to local measures of student performance instead of state tests for evaluating teachers.
School Bus Cameras and Fines for Passing Buses
The Executive Budget allows school districts to enter into contracts for school bus stop-arm cameras for their installation, operation and maintenance. Costs associated with these cameras are not eligible for state aid, instead school districts would receive fines paid by motorists for passing school bus. The proposal would also raise fines for bus passing.
State Deadline for School Level Reporting
The deadline for the 306 school districts required to submit school level transparency reports will be August 30, 2019.
School Districts Designated to Submit Equity Plans
School districts that submitted school level reports for 2018-19 school year (76 school districts) and have an underfunded high need school will need to submit an equity plan to address the underfunding of these high need schools to the Commissioner by July 1, 2019. The DOB Director will provide a list of underfunded high need schools by May 1, 2019. If a plan is not submitted and approved by the Commissioner by September 1, 2019, the Commissioner will impose an equity plan on the district.
Simplifying Expense Based Aids
The Executive Budget also proposes to merge 11 major expense-based aid categories into a new aid category -- Services Aid -- starting in the 2020-21 school year. “Services Aid, which will grow annually based on inflation and district enrollment, will help ease the administrative burden on school districts, and will provide greater simplicity and flexibility in School Aid. In addition, the Executive Budget proposes a new tier of Building Aid for newly approved projects. The stated rationale for these changes are to provide more certainty over future funding, and provide additional State resources to support future Foundation Aid increases.” (ASBO is awaiting legislative language that further explains how this would work).
Basic STAR Exemption Eligibility Changed
The Executive Budget also proposes to change income eligibility for Basic STAR Exemption from the current $500,000 threshold to $250,000, while keeping income eligibility for the Basic STAR credit (check in the mail) at $500,000.