Monday, February 17, 2014

Preliminary Budget Update

On Sunday the House and Senate released their Budget Proposals including amendments to House Bill 29/Senate Bill 29, the current biennial budget and House Bill 30/Senate Bill 30, the budget for the 2014-2016 biennium. The House budget proposal adds about $7.3 million in General Funds, Literary Fund revenue, and Lottery Proceeds for a total of $530.9 million, over the $523.6 million two-year increase proposed in the introduced budget for Direct Aid to Public Education. The Senate budget proposal adds $59.4 million in General Funds, Literary Fund revenue, and Lottery Proceeds to a total of $583 million.

Both the House and Senate proposals restore “cost of competing” (COCA) funding of $5 million for support positions. The Senate includes $28.7 million in FY ’15 to partially restore inflation updates to recognize non-personal costs such as utilities, student transportation, and health insurance premiums.

For the Opportunity Education Institution, the Senate removes all funding while the House decreases funding to current levels of $150,000 per year and one position.

Both of the budget proposals include language that directs the Secretary of Education to review and report on the formula used to determine governor’s school payments. Additionally, the House directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to include virtual instruction as a component in its Review for Efficiency and Effectiveness of Public Education Spending in Virginia and directs the Secretary of Education to review and assess the value of using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) state-wide.

Further, the Senate proposal includes:

  • $6.0 million for targeted year-round schools, primarily focused on lower performing schools
  • $8.6 million to maintain PreK spots for at-risk four-year-olds
  • $150,000 for the creation of a statewide IEP database

At first look both proposals seem to increase spending over the Governor’s introduced budget but many of the details still need to be seen. As information is released over the next couple of days, we will look at specific language and funding amounts to get a better understanding of how each item impacts school divisions and the overall state budget. Please check back for new updates in the coming days.