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News From the Capitol, Apr 28, 2023
April 28, 2023 by MASB Government Relations
  • Sinking Funds for School Buses Headed to the Governor 
  • House and Senate K-12 Subcommittees Present Budget Proposals
  • Senate Committee Approves Repealing the A-F Ranking System
  • A Chance to Serve—Apply for a MASB Committee 

 

Sinking Funds for School Buses Headed to the Governor 

On Thursday, the Senate granted immediate effect to Senate Bill 63 and sent it to the Governor. This bill expands the allowable uses for sinking funds to include school transportation. It also includes the acquisition of other vehicles to transport students, as well as the parts, supplies and equipment used to maintain those vehicles. 

MASB has worked for this change for years and is pleased to see it finally headed to the Governor. She is expected to sign the bill, and it will go into effect 90 days later. This will put its effective date near the beginning of August. Once she signs the bill and we have the actual date, we will be sure to inform our members. 

House and Senate K-12 Subcommittees Present Budget Proposals

This week, the House and Senate K-12 Appropriations Subcommittees both adopted their budget proposals. The next step for each budget is the full Appropriations Committee consideration and adoption, which we expect next week. 

We will have a full comparison document ready for you soon, but here are some of the highlights of each proposal.

The House, in House Bill 4286, increases the foundation allowance by 4% to $9,516 per-pupil and freezes the foundation for cyber schools at the current level. It also increases funding for special education to pay for 100% of the costs, and at-risk and English language learner funding is increased and made a percentage of the per-pupil amount. This is the first real step we’ve seen toward a weighted formula as proposed by the School Finance Research Collaborative.

The House also includes a change to the pupil count by using a blended formula which averages last year’s pupil count with the current year. Finally, it includes funding for pupil transportation and extending free breakfast and lunch to all students.

The Senate, in Senate Bill 173, increases the foundation allowance by 6% to $9,700 per pupil and funds cyber schools at 80% of the foundation. It also increases the funding for special education to 100% of actual costs. It includes increases to at-risk funding under the current formula. The Senate also includes a new provision to count pre-k students as 1.2 FTEs in the pupil count and creates a salary incentive pilot program to look at creating average starting salaries for teachers.

Both chambers’ Department of Education budgets included ongoing funding for school board training. The Senate K-12 budget also includes funding.

After debate and approval by the full Appropriations Committee, the budgets will go before their respective chambers for a full vote. The House is expecting a vote the week of May 8, and we are hearing rumors that the budget could be done and sent to the Governor by the end of May.

Watch our website for the updated comparison document between all three proposals: House, Senate and Governor.

Senate Committee Approves Repealing the A-F Ranking System

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee approved House Bill 4166, which would repeal Section 1280g of the Revised School Code, known as the A-F rating system for schools. MASB, and most education organizations, support the bill to remove the A-F system and maintain the accountability system and parent dashboard currently in place.

It is now before the full Senate for consideration and a vote is expected next week.

A Chance to Serve—Apply for a MASB Committee 

Are you looking for a way to be more involved in your Association? Do you want to share your expertise and perspective statewide? Serving on MASB’s Government Relations Committee may be the right opportunity for you! 

MASB committees bring together school board members from around the state to discuss vital issues and help shape your Association’s positions and actions. The Government Relations Committee monitors state and federal legislation and budgets pertaining to public education and school districts. 

To apply, contact Cheryl Huffman at chuffman@masb.org or 517.327.5915 with your interest by June 30, 2023. More information on this and the two other open committees—Resolutions and Bylaws and Legal Trust Fund—is available on the MASB website. You can apply for any of these committees by contacting Cheryl. 

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