It took less than 45 minutes for the Senate to unanimously approve the seven (7) bills that make up the $1.8 billion budget for public schools on Wednesday.
The FY16 appropriation increases state funding by $101 million, which is a 7.4% increase over the current fiscal year. The largest portion of the budget is dedicated to employee compensation. The budget request provides a 3% increase in salary allocation dollars for administrators and education employees and also pours $33.5 million into a new career ladder teacher pay proposal.
The bills also increase discretionary dollars—those dollars that pay for employee health insurance, textbooks and supplies, gas and utilities, and all other expenses not covered by the state funding—by nearly $27 million, representing a 6.5% increase over the current year. Next year, public schools will receive $23,868 per support unit (a support unit is similar to a classroom).
- Division of Administrators SB 1183: provides funding for administrator salaries and to provide for training in strategic planning and training of administrators and school boards.
- Division of Teachers SB 1184: provides funding for the career ladder and a 3% salary allocation for all pupil personnel service staff. In addition, this bill provides funding for teacher professional development.
- Division of Operations SB 1185: provides a 3% salary allocation for education support professionals, increases funding for classroom technology, increases discretionary funding, and provides funding for locally-hosted management systems (to replace the Schoolnet system that was previously paid for by the state).
- Division of Children’s Programs SB 1186: provides increased funding for junior high and high school students to take advantage of advanced opportunities.
- Division of Facilities SB 1187: provides for the bond levy equalization funding and $4.2 million for charter school facilities.
- SB 1188 provides funding for the School for the Deaf and Blind.
- Central Services SB 1189: provides for services that don’t flow directly to school districts but are utilized by the state for the benefit of schools such as state-level online alternative pathways to graduation and contracting for independent reviews of evaluations required under the new career ladder system.
The bills now make their way to the House of Representatives for their vote.