Earlier this afternoon the House Appropriations and the Senate Finance Committees reported their respective versions of the amendments to the current budget. Among the highlights of those actions are the following: The House Committee recommended $53.7 Million for the state share of the 2% salary increase for instructional personnel calculated on an effective date of August 1, 2013. School boards can take advantage of this pay increase so long as they provide their share of the pay increase no later than January 1, 2014. The House Committee also recommended $9.1 Million as the state share of a 2% pay increase for support personnel effective January 1, 2014. The House Committee would prohibit the use of the mandated VRS salary increases as the local match to get the state share.The Senate Committee recommended $76 Million for the state share of the 2% salary increase for instructional and support personnel effective July 1, 2013. In order to be eligible for the state share a school board will have to certify no later than June 15, 2013, that salary increases of 2% on average have been provided for the 2013-2014 school year. School Board’s that give increases of at least 1% but less than 2% will get a prorate reduction of the state share. The Senate also prohibits using the mandated VRS salary increases as the local share.
The House Committee recommended $6.1 to restore one-half of the COCA for support positions that was eliminated in the Governor’s budget. The Senate would only restore COCA by 9.83%.The House supported the $600,000 in the Governor’s budget for the Opportunity Educational Institution, which is the Governor’s proposal to take over failing schools. The Senate Committee deleted the $600,000 in the Governor’s budget and did not recommend any language relating to the Opportunity Educational Institution. However, the Senate did instruct JLARC to study what other cities and states have done with regard to low performing schools, including the takeover of such schools and converting them to charter schools. If passed, JLARC would have to issue its report in November, 2013.