The legislature sent their final version of the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget to the Governor’s office today, and there’s some good news for those who have been waiting for the legislature to pay attention at the classroom level.
While official spreadsheets haven’t yet been released, here are a few details that will impact the 730,00+ children in our classrooms for next year.
The divisors, which are the numbers used to determine how many teacher units (teachers) will be funded for each grade, will not change. You will recall that State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice had requested the divisor be lowered for grades six through eight, but told a House committee he was willing to keep the same divisors in light of overall budget discussions.
This means the state will provide funds for one teacher (unit) for every:
- 14.25 students in grades K through 3
- 21.85 students in grades 4 through 6
- 20.20 students in grades 7 and 8
- 18.45 students in grades 9 through 12
The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) will produce Foundation Program reports in the near future to provide school districts a final number of state-funded units based on the 2014-2015 student enrollment.
This budget contains funding for multiple pieces of classroom instructional support, including a per (teacher) unit allocation for technology ($63.79), professional development ($63.79), library enhancement ($21.26) and classroom materials and supplies ($373.39).
Until the passage of this budget, the state legislature hadn’t provided any per unit funding for technology, professional development nor library enhancement since FY09.
Textbook and digital materials will be funded at $52.71 per student, an increase from $35 last year.
Here’s what funding for classroom instructional support has looked like since FY03:
A couple of notes on the chart. I don’t yet have the figure for Other Current Expense (OCE). And the $373.79 for FY16 is allocated to classroom materials and supplies, which appears to have changed names. It has been referred to as “student materials” since FY12, where it previously had been named “teacher materials and supplies” through FY09.
The Governor still has to sign the budget, but there’s no indication that he won’t.
More information as it becomes available.
Resources for You
If you’d like to learn a little more about the Foundation Program, here’s a good document from the School Superintendents of Alabama.
The Legislative Fiscal Office produces good data about the ETF. Here’s a place to start.