Budget Director Shawn Sullivan presented the Governor’s proposed budget changes for FY 2019 Wednesday morning. The bulk of the attention went to the proposal outlined for an increase in K-12 funding.
“The State Foundation Aid increase, there’s $87.8 million already contained as an increase for Fiscal Year 19,” said Sullivan. “That was built into the budget bill that was passed, approved and signed last year. Number two, State Foundation increase to $4,281 would cost $107 million for Fiscal Year 19. We’re proposing that $93.2 million of that come from the State General Fund and $13.9 come from excess balance in the Children’s Initiative Fund.”
Sullivan was asked multiple questions about the CIF dollars, he said that would not negatively impact programs and that some functions that had been cut in previous years would be restored. The proposal would also make out year increased of $100 million through 2023 and also to have a Local Option Budget Equity remedy at a cost of $6 million.
“There were, as we believe, four Constitutional issues that were related in the ruling to the equity part of this,” said Sullivan. The first was the expansion of authorized use of capital outlay funds. The second was requiring differing procedures for districts to raise the minimum LOB level. We believe that those have minimal if any cost to fix those as the session moves forward. The third would have a cost and we have included that of $6 million SGF of using the current year budget to determine the LOB state aid. That formula lends to the prior year budget. Fourth equity item was a 10 percent floor for the At-Risk benefit that benefits, I think, two or three school districts.”
Sullivan wasn’t entirely clear exactly where he got the $600 million number from.
“It’s the one that we thought, as we’ve talked to various people would be a remedy,” said Sullivan. “That’s yet to be known. I know another range of numbers have been thrown out. We believe, or understand that the prevailing thought is that $600 million would be the total amount based on the evidence that’s there now. As you all know, if a cost study comes back and says something different, then hopefully, we can use that evidence at that time, but $600 million was the number over the five-year time period that the Governor’s proposal contained.”
If you’re wondering what study he was referring to, it was Sullivan’s understanding that the Legislative Coordinating Council asked for a cost study that should be done by March.