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The Start of Budget Season

February 13, 2013

Well, it’s that time of year…. School Budget Season.  Governor Snyder has released his proposed plan for the 2013-2014 School Aid Budget.  It’s somewhat of a good news, bad news budget proposal for Saline Area Schools.  On the bright side there is not a proposed reduction to our Foundation Allowance (the direct amount sent to schools per pupil).  On the not so bright side, there is not a proposed increase and some of the other funds we are eligible for as a district are proposed to be reduced.

Here is a snapshot of where Saline Area Schools stands based on the current proposal:


Here are some of the other details related to Gov. Synder’s proposal:

2013-14 School Aid Budget Proposal

Governor Snyder released his 2013-14 budget last week, and while overall funding appears to be up by more than 2.2%, funding for Saline is a distinctly different story.

The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 recommends total funding of $13.3 billion.  The budget calls for increased funding for early childhood programs, retirement and equity payments.  Highlights of the proposed budget include:

Early Childhood Programming – The Executive Recommendation an additional $65 million investment in the Great Start preschool program for FY 14 and FY 15.  The investment would increase half day payments to preschool providers by $225 per child. The new half day rate would increase to $3,625 per child. This could help Pooh Corner.  Contact them directly to learn more about Great Start options.

Retirement – The budget reflects the state’s statutory requirement to pay increased retirement costs for unfunded accrued liabilities beyond the 2012 capped amount.  As a result, the state will pick an additional $408 million in increased retirement costs.  However, that also reflects the inclusion of $155 million in MPSERS reimbursements to districts included last year.  Normal pension costs will increase slightly (less than .5 percent) for districts.  This is good news for the longer term, but does not help in the short term.

Best Practice Requirements – $25 million in funding or $16 per pupil for districts that meet best practices requirements.  This number represents a decrease of $55 million or $36 per pupil less available for districts.  Saline Area Schools captured the full $52 per pupil  this year.  Next year it will likely be $16 per pupil.

District Performance Grants – Continues $30 million to reward districts that achieve performance standards (up to $100 per pupil).  This is unchanged from last year, however, we do not yet know the qualifications for the performance funding.

Technology Infrastructure Grants – The Executive recommends funding the second year of technology infrastructure grants programs at $13.5 million for FY 14. Technology grants are currently funded at $50m. The Executive recommendation removes computer adaptive test usage and adds instructional practice and shared service consolidation of technology, and data including both hardware and software in preparation for the planned implementation of online growth assessments.   Saline Area Schools did capture some funding here last year and hope to get some again in 2013/2014.

Equity Payment – Inclusion of an equity payment of up to $34 per pupil for districts at or near the minimum foundation allowance, increasing the minimum per-pupil amount to $7,000. Saline is not eligible.

Small class size supplemental payments -. Districts that receive small class size supplemental payments and have a per-pupil foundation allowance less than $7,500 will receive no more than $100 per pupil, and districts that receive small class size payments and have a per-pupil foundation allowance greater than $7,500 will receive no more than $50 per pupil. A total of $9 million will be paid out in small class size payments. Former 32e districts eligible, requiring 50% free/reduced lunch counts.  Saline is not eligible.

The two items below are interesting and possible options for Saline Area Schools to pursue.  However, at this point we do not have details.

“New” Digital Learning initiative – Funded with $10 million, to encourage online learning opportunities for students.

“New” competitive Student Centric Learning Grants – $8 million will be used to reward districts that have aligned instructional delivery with individual student learning styles and pace.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shannon permalink
    February 13, 2013 8:33 am

    Scot – I’m curious on the rationale for the funding decrease for “best practices”. Thanks.

    • February 13, 2013 8:49 am

      Good question. It had been assumed that the best practices model would continue to be a key part of the strategy to drive certain practices at the local level. It’s the carrot approach that the Federal Government approach to changing behaviors.

      Part of the issue may just be that he wanted to put more funding into backfilling the pension system and feel for now that makes the most fiscal sense. It was surprising to me and several other superintendents I spoke with about the proposal.

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