The legislature adjourned the 2018 Session just before midnight on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Legislators worked all weekend trying to come up with compromise bills that had enough votes. The Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations bill (which included Education) and the Omnibus Tax Bill (which included federal tax conformity) were vetoed by the Governor like he said he would. The status of the Capital Investment Bill is still pending and has some funds available to improve school safety.
ADULT BASIC EDUCATION FUNDING
The Supplemental Appropriations Conference Committee removed the provision providing funding to selected CBO’s which would have meant increased appropriations for them of 56% and 184% while no other programs received an increase. There were no formula changes made and no task force was created to consider changing the formula. These are important precedents for the future.
NORTHSTAR DIGITAL LEARNING TECHNOLOGY UPGRADE
The request for $150,000 from the Legislature to match $250,000 from private sources was not included. The House heard the bill but had a 0 target and did not include this in their omnibus bill. The Senate never even heard the bill. (While the Senate did consider funding the CB:’s referenced above, they did this by taking money away from the Department of Education’s budget, not via ‘new’ money.)
FUND TRANSFER FLEXIBILITY WAS PROVIDED TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS in the vetoed tax bill. All districts would have been able to transfer fund balances with approval by the Commissioner and only on two dates - June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
The fund transfers created concerns to ABE programs as well as ECFE programs. One reason for a fund balance might be the holding of monies while an ABE program completes remodeling on a building; or a district may be holding off on program funds until that time. Fund balance transfer could have impeded the ability to program as planned.
The next Legislative Session will convene on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. This will be the budget setting session for the next two years and the ‘long’ session, generally meeting about 5 months.
It is important that LAN members take some time to educate their legislators on their funding needs as well as on the above issues prior to the start of the 2019 Session. Please watch for updates!
If you have questions contact either:
Click HERE for a one page pdf of the above summary.