A budget is a policy tool. A budget delineates and clarifies priorities.
Every year, about this time (right before the legislative session ends), our state legislators finally get around to passing the budget to fund our public education system. And every year, about this time, we learn just how big of a priority our K-12 public schools, and the children that attend them, are.
Prior to the legislature’s spring break, the Senate and the House passed different versions of the FY15 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget, requiring appointment of a Conference Committee to negotiate the difference.
The full results of the Alabama legislature’s Conference Committee’s negotiations will be revealed this week. (Here’s a document I found on the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) web site showing a summary of changes from the Conference Committee.)
When the results are revealed, we will finally know how much of a priority our public schools are for this set of our state elected leaders. This year.
Here are a few worksheets and numbers for you to ponder.
Here is a Google spreadsheet of the FY15 ETF budget showing the ALSDE’s original request, and how the Governor’s original budget, the Senate-approved budget and the House-approved budget compare to the ALSDE’s request. The complete ETF budget can be found on the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office’s (LFO) web site.
Note that the $170 million on the last row of the ALSDE’s request does appear within language in the actual ETF appropriation bill (SB184), but it is not discernible in the spreadsheets on the LFO’s web site, which is why I didn’t put it into the spreadsheet.
Here’s a look at how much money was budgeted for allocation to our public schools in state and federal funds from FY11 through FY14. (The Account and Fund Source Codes are used in the ALSDE’s Accounting Manual.)
These spreadsheets only show the monetary amounts budgeted for distribution to our public schools. These numbers do not include amounts appropriated to the State Department of Education itself.
See any trends?
NOTE: Did you take note of how much federal money is budgeted for our public schools? Nearly $460 million budgeted for FY14. Almost half a billion dollars budgeted for FY13. Those who wish to be “free of federal interference” may need to consider how Alabama’s taxpayers will make up for the loss of federal education funding.
If you’d like to review a bit more about public education funding, here are some recent posts you may wish to review:
The Governor’s Proposed FY15 ETF Budget – Just the Numbers – This post contains a spreadsheet of all of the non-school agencies funded through the ETF.