Friday News Roundup: Week of June 6-10

Alabama Legislature approves education budget, operating budget for non-education agencies

$8 Million cut from Hawaii pupil fund

Minnesota GOP offer to increase K-12 spending not paired with more revenue

Texas House passes school funding measure

Alabama Legislature approves education budget, operating budget for non-education agencies
This week, the Alabama legislature passed an education budget that increases state funding for public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities by 4.5 percent over the 2012 fiscal year. That growth, however, will not be enough to make up the difference in funding those schools will lose due to the expiration of federal stimulus dollars at the end of fiscal year 2011. The budget, originally passed in May but sent back to the legislature by Governor Robert Bentley for political reasons related to a separate teacher pension bill, will eliminate about 1,125 teaching positions in public schools. The budget will take effect on October 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year. More here…

$8 Million cut from Hawaii pupil fund
Hawaii, facing dramatic budget cuts of nearly $33 million for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, will impose government-wide spending reductions on the state Department of Education in its new budget. Funding that K-12 schools receive on a per-pupil basis will be cut by almost $8 million, and education programs like learning centers and adult education will be eliminated outright in the new budget. The plan, proposed by the Department and approved by the state Board of Education this week, did not include many of the initial elements discussed by the Department, including cutting all kindergarten funding and many school transportation services. More here…

Minnesota GOP offer to increase K-12 spending not paired with more revenue
With the start of Minnesota’s 2012 fiscal year on July 1 and no budget agreement reached yet between the Republican-led legislature and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Governor Mark Dayton, a government shutdown could be coming for the state. Republicans this week agreed to match Dayton’s K-12 education spending proposal, which represents an increase from 2011 levels, but they are holding firm to a $34 billion overall funding limit over the next two years. That number is $1.8 billion below Dayton’s proposal, meaning that it will be difficult to meet the Governor’s K-12 spending level without shifting significant funds away from other programs. Layoff notices in preparation for a shutdown will be distributed this week.  More here…

Texas House passes school funding measure
This week both the Texas Senate and House passed a school funding measure that would cut $2 billion in K-12 public school funding in both fiscal year 2012 and 2013. The spending reductions are already leading to teacher layoffs across the state, and many programs will lose funding, including reducing full-day kindergarten to half-day. A new allocation formula, which will be in place through the end of fiscal year 2013, means that the $2 billion cut coming each year will have a deeper impact on some schools than others. Republican legislators justified the cuts by amending public education forecasts to claim a decline in new enrollment figures and an increase in local property tax revenue. More here…

Author:

Clare McCann is the deputy director for federal higher education policy with New America's Education Policy program. She previously served as a senior adviser on higher education policy at the U.S. Department of Education.