Monday, December 19, 2011

More on the Governor's Proposed Budget

Buried in the Governor's proposed budget for the 2013-2014 biennium are a couple of noteworthy items. First, Item 137 F specifies an appropriation for performance evaluation training "in support of the transition from continuing employment contracts to annual employment contracts for teachers and principals." This language signals possible legislation to be introduced by the Governor to replace the current continuing contract law with term contracts for teachers and principals. We expect to learn more about this and other initiatives on Thursday of this week.

Also, in Item 139 B 26 DOE is directed to include in the annual School Performance Report Card for each school division the percentage of the school division's annual operating budget allocated to instructional costs. This is the precursor to the 65% rule. One bright spot is that DOE is directed to develop a methodology for allocating expenditures consistent with the funding of the Standards of Quality. This should include expenditures for such things as guidance counselors, principals, librarians, etc. On the other hand, the Item goes further and states that "at the discretion of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Department of Education may also report on other methods of measuring instructional spending such as those used by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education." As we have mentioned to you on several occasions, the Census Bureau methodology would exclude expenditures for, among other things, guidance counselors, principals, librarians, occupational and physical therapists, etc. This budget language may signify a shift in battle on this issue from the General Assembly to DOE. We will have more to say on these two issues in the future.