April 27, 2012

State Aid Fund Bills poised for Conference Committee?

There was plenty of activity in Lansing this week with the legislature passing school aid bills in both the House and Senate. We have posted all of the final documents on our 2012-13 State School Aid Budget Information page so you can keep up to date on the latest information. We have also posted a few additional documents relating to the retirement reform legislation and also a comparison of the Senate bill and its 2x foundation allowance increase and the House version of the bill with a MPSERS credit and best practice funding. Although these are not the only factors you should consider when looking at these two plans, they are what the majority of the districts see as being the main funding philosophies.

The House bill passed the full House in much the same form as the committee proposal. Ultimately the MPSERS credit and best practices remained intact. Although there was some discussion on the all-day for all-pay kindergarten issue, nothing has changed. In order for school districts to receive the full foundation for a kindergarten student, they must be in an all-day program. The Senate “sweetened the pot” by increasing the foundation allowance increase to $116-$232 per pupil, rather than the $104/$208 in the committee proposal. To see how these components of Senate and House versions impact your district on a per pupil basis, see our comparison chart posted on the website. Another take away from the Senate version is a restoration of 100% of small class size current year funding for 2012-13. This funding was scheduled to be eliminated next year, so good news for those districts that receive the funding!

It appears the next step in the process will be a conference committee that will be charged with the task of negotiating the final bill. We expect that will happen soon, but maybe not until after the May 16 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, when the conferees will come to consensus on the revenues available for allocation for the preliminary 2012-13 budget cycle. We’ll be paying special attention to the progression of the legislation and keep you informed on any changes that occur.

You will have several legislative and financial update opportunities at the MSBO 74th Annual Conference in Detroit next week. Time is ticking and online registration will close at 5 p.m. today. You can still register at the Conference. Please print off a registration form, fill it out and bring it with you for onsite registration or fill one out when you arrive.

MSBO’s School Finance Reference Manual sponsored by SET SEG is now available online! It will be offered in a members only section of the MSBO website for those that subscribe and will updated continuously to reflect the latest information on school finance. You always have access to the latest information, online, anytime!

We hope to see you in Detroit.

David and Bob

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