The State Board of Education (SBOE) approved a preliminary budget proposal for FY16 at the December 10, 2014, board meeting. The proposal marks the beginning of a three-year initiative to bring Foundation Program funding back to a better operational level. The request also reflects priorities for the SBOE.
The handouts posted on the ALSDE site reflect an increase in the SBOE’s request of $211 million. (Link and narrative updated 12/17/14, 10:00 p.m.)
Here is the line item FY16 budget proposal. (NOTE: Image below updated with revised version, 12/17/14, 10:00 p.m.)
The most interesting handout was the 23-page document giving a closer look at each line item (begins on page 3 of the linked PDF).
You really have to look at that handout.
Look. At the handout.
Read through it. It’s the best document that I’ve ever seen communicating what these programs and dollars do for our children.
Reflecting on the way this budget was put together, board member Mary Scott Hunter stated, “This budget is very different than ones we have given in the past.” Saying that it isn’t only the numbers that are different, but that it being a three-year budget with clearly delineated funding priorities puts the board in the position to be the “thought leader in education policy that it should be”.
Bice stated that in years past, after the board approved the proposal, it was gone. This type of budget proposal allows the board to continue to work collaboratively with the legislature and the governor in a difficult funding year.
Bice anticipates bringing the proposal back to the SBOE in January or February after further talks with the Governor, for further discussion with the SBOE.
The legislative session starts on March 3, 2015. The ETF budget is typically one of the last items to be approved by the legislature.
Items in the ETF Budget That Might Belong Somewhere Else
One of the topics that continues to be debated among public education advocates is the number of line items in the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget that might fit better into the General Fund budget.
State board members continue to ask questions about these items, so Bice’s staff put together a list to consider.
Bice was clear in saying that they are not saying that “they’re not good things to be funded…viable things that add value to our local communities, but at a time when education funding is in such peril, can we find different ways to move those things out of the Education Trust Fund?” Bice added that if these items were removed from the ETF budget, additional revenue of more than $160 million could be made available.
This list was shared with board members at the SBOE work session on Thursday, December 11. That list does not equal $160 million, so perhaps it was revised from Wednesday’s meeting.
The board voted 6-2 to approve the proposal, with board members Betty Peters and Stephanie Bell voting no.
There is so much good information that was discussed at this meeting.
Find 20 minutes, and listen in to the segment below. UPDATE March 30, 2015. The video for December 11, 2014, is no longer on Ustream. It is, however, on the ALSDE web site.
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
Here’s a link to the November work session discussion….six minutes long. Just a brief look at the priorities.