SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 38
February 19, 1996
|FROM:||William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Changes to the 1996-98 Budget by the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees|
On Sunday, February 18, 1996 the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees received reports from the various subcommittees regarding changes to the 1996-98 budget as proposed by Governor Allen (reference Informational Supts. Memo. No. 171, dated December 18, 1995). These changes have been reported to each Chamber and are subject to approval by February 22, 1996. It is important to remember that the budget as proposed by the Governor included more than $635 million over the biennium in support of public education. This included sufficient funding to 1) cover the state share of the Standards of Quality, 2) provide for a teacher salary increase in the second year, 3) fund all statutory/categorical programs according to current policy, and 4) fund the majority of the policy initiatives proposed by the Board of Education. At Attachment A are comments regarding changes made by both the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees. Attachment B provides additional information on changes made by the Senate Finance Committee and Attachment C provides additional information on changes made by the House Appropriations Committee. Attachment D provides a printout which reflects for each locality those major SOQ and related accounts for which no differences exist between the House and the Senate. Attachment E reflects those accounts where differences exist which must be reconciled. A Conference Committee will be convened to propose final recommendations to each Chamber. It is expected that these proposals will not be finalized until the week of March 4, for final action by each Chamber before adjournment on March 9, 1996. If you have any questions, or need additional information, please contact Mrs. Kathryn S. Kitchen, Division Chief, Finance at (804) 225-2025 or Mrs. June F. Eanes, Director of the Budget at (804) 225-2060. WCB,Jr./kk Attachments Attachment A Page 1 AMENDMENTS APPROVED BY BOTH THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS AND SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEES 1. SOQ CHANGES A. The estimate of the one-cent state sales and use tax has been decreased in 1996-97 by $400,000, with no change in 1997-98. Based upon this change, Basic Aid has increased by $226,192. B. The inflation factors used in the SOQ methodology have been updated to reflect the fourth quarter of 1995 rather than the second quarter of 1995 which was included in the Governor's Budget as introduced. This results in lower Basic Aid per pupil amounts and decreases the state's share of Basic Aid and related accounts by $9,400,191 in 1996-97 and $9,571,453 in 1997-98. C. The cost of competing adjustment for the divisions in Planning District 8 has been revised. The adjustment has been changed from the 9.32% included in the Governor's Budget to 9.83%. This increases the state's share of the Standards of Quality accounts for those divisions by $1,213,415 in 1996-97 and $1,277,613 in 1997-98. 2. SOQ RELATED ACCOUNTS A. An additional $8,006,343 in 1996-97 and $8,105,442 in 1997-98 has been included for the K-3 class size reduction initiative. Criteria for eligibility have been amended as follows: Qualifying School % Individual Eligible for Free Lunch K-3 School Ratio Class Size 20% but less than 50% 20 to 1 25 50% but less than 70% 18 to 1 22 70% or more 15 to 1 20 Language has also been included to allow divisions to participate at a higher ratio, with a commensurate reduction in state and required local funds if local conditions do not allow participation at the eligible rate. This would allow a school which qualifies for 15 to 1 to participate at the 18 to 1 ratio at local option. B. $15 million proposed by the Governor in 1997-98, which represented a return of lottery proceeds to localities, has been eliminated. Attachment A Page 2 C. In addition to the funding included in the Governor's Budget in support of technology, both Committees have proposed an additional $45.5 million in 1997-98, for grants of $25,000 per school, to be used to continue progress in implementing the Board of Education's Six-Year Technology Plan. Similar to the 1995-96 program and that proposed by the Governor for 1996-97, funding will be provided through the Virginia Public School Authority. Funding, to be available in the spring of 1998, can be used to retrofit and upgrade existing school buildings, purchase network-ready multimedia microcomputers for classrooms, and network-ready microcomputers for student use. Funds may also be used to provide other educational technologies as set forth in the local school division's approved technology plan. In both the first year program proposed by the Governor and this second year program, localities will be required to provide a match for these funds equal to twenty percent of the grant amount. At least twenty-five percent of the local match must be used for teacher training in the use of the technology. Language has been included to identify the schools that will be eligible to receive these funds. Funding available in the spring of 1997 will be for those schools that reported membership as of September 30, 1996 and will include regional Governor's Schools, regional Vocational Centers, and regional Special Education programs. Funding in the spring of 1998 will be for those schools that reported membership as of September 30, 1997, and will also include the above mentioned regional programs. D. Funding has been included in 1996-97 to provide planning grants for two new Governor's Schools -- $75,000 for a regional "virtual" academic school in Southwest Virginia and $200,000 for a regional academic school in Northeastern Virginia. E. Funding has been included to support the Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium to expand the research and development phase of a technology linkage between fourteen public school divisions (Senate version - $135,000 in 1996-97 only; House version - $135,000 each year). F. Language has been included to require the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Treasurer to study the feasibility of establishing an Elementary and Secondary Education Equipment Trust Fund with purposes similar to the Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund. In addition, the study should include the feasibility of providing for on-going state support for equipment through the Standards of Quality funding formula. Recommendations must be made to the Co-Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman of the House Appropriations Committees no later than November 1, 1996. Attachment A Page 3 G. Language has been included to ensure contracts between telephone companies and state government shall be deemed to include communications lines into public schools which are used for educational technology. The rate structure shall be negotiated by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Director of the Council of Information Management. Further, they are authorized to encourage the development of "by-pass" infrastructure in localities where competitive prices or prices consistent with the best rates obtained in other parts of the state have not been achieved. H. Language has been included which states the intent of the General Assembly that state funding for instructional personnel in 1997-98 recognize local salary decisions implemented in 1996-97. To that end, the Department will use actual 1994-95 salaries to recompute prevailing salary amounts, with increases reported by local school divisions for 1995-96 and 1996-97, to be used in computing the state and local shares of the Standards of Quality for 1997-98. This language would require additional funding to be added during the 1997 session for distribution in 1997-98. Attachment B Page 1 OTHER AMENDMENTS APPROVED BY THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE A. Due to the large number of school divisions that experienced an increase in the composite index of local ability-to-pay for 1996-98, a transition payme