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February 26, 2016

Budget Update - State Budget Progress Update

Earlier this week both the House and Senate released their Supplemental Operating Budgets for the 2015-2017 biennium. Only minor adjustments to the biennium budget were anticipated, as there has been no significant increase in State revenues.

As expected, neither budget presents a plan to fund locally paid teacher compensation that is beyond the state salary scale, considered to fall with the scope of basic education under the McCleary ruling.  Although, the House budget did add funding to address  beginning teacher pay, the Senate budget does not provide any substantial increase to K-12 funding. I have noted some highlights from both budgets below.

House

The House budget adds $98.5M to raise the beginning teacher pay from $35,069 to $40,000.  Teachers at the beginning of the scale see the largest increase.  Adjustments to the salary scale would also increase pay for teachers with 9 years or less of experience. The House proposal adds an additional year of service to the teacher salary scale.   Currently, the scale ends at 16 years of experience.  The proposal would add a 17th year to the scale at 1% over year 16.  A new teacher bonus of $530 was added for teachers holding a valid, unexpired second tier certification.

The House budget also included a 1.0% increase to classified staff salaries.

The House budget delays changes to the levy lid and levy equalization funding by one year to 2019.  This would avoid the “levy cliff” where a loss of K-12 statewide funding would occur, since the state will not have implemented a plan to pay for locally funded teacher compensation that would offset the lost K-12 funding.

Senate

The Senate budget’s only significant increase to the K-12 budget was $6.6M to fund charter schools through reenacting and amending the charter school law.

The legislature has the next few weeks to work together in finalizing a Supplemental Budget.  I will continue to update you as they finish their work.

Vic Roberts
Director of Business Operations

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