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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 1, 2018 08:50 AM
From: Representative Thomas J. Quigley
To: All House members
Subject: Basic Education Funding Fairness
It has been two years since the adoption of the Fair Funding Formula for Basic Education Funding and although this has been a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to provide true fairness. The 2014-2015 bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) reviewed the distribution of the over $5.5 billion in state Basic Education Funding and recommended a new distribution formula for all subsequent years. If all money, not just the “new” money was distributed through the formula, 180 school districts would have increased funding, by “approximately $1 billion” annually. The Fair Funding Formula addresses this disparity, but it will take quite a while to achieve parity.

Although this new formula works to distribute money fairly and predictably among the 500 school districts according to the true cost drivers of educating children, many districts are being short-changed due to the practice of “hold harmless.”. This approach was implemented decades ago to ensure all districts received a minimum of what they received in Basic Education Funding the prior year regardless of population or any other changes.

This legislation incorporates the BEFC recommendations and beginning in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, allocates 75% of all new Basic Education funding proportionately to the underfunded school districts; and the remaining 25% of all new Basic Education funding to all 500 school districts through the student-weighted Basic Education Formula.

Under this legislation, no school district’s Basic Education Funding will be reduced below the 2014-15 base year level. Instead, to fix years of serious underfunding, this legislation provides for a higher proportion of the “new” money to be allocated to underfunded districts to bring them to parity.

Introduced as HB2595