It appears that the budget conferees may have reached agreement on the K-12 portion of the budget. Consistent with what was reported in the newspapers this morning, it appears the conferees agreed yesterday to $75 Million in additional money (over the Governor's introduced budget) for K-12. What had not been agreed to was how that money was going to be parceled out. We understand that the conferees may have agreed to utilize the approach set forth in the Senate amendments with appropriate pro rata reductions. The Senate amendments had approximately $17 Million for the LCI hold harmless and $83 Million for discretionary operating dollars solely for educational use, including, but not limited to, bonuses, retaining instructional positions, and textbooks. If what we hear is correct, the $17 Million and the $83 Million should each be reduced by 1/4th to get the appropriate amounts for hold harmless and for discretionary educational use.
While it has been reported that state employees will be given a 5% raise to offset having to pay the 5% employees' share of the VRS premiums, the budget will not contain a requirement that school board employees pay their share of the VRS premiums or money to give school board employees a raise.
There are still some unresolved budget issues. Consequently, the final budget amendments may not be voted on before tomorrow or early next week.