Budget conference committee agrees on K-12 education

Although the Governor and Legislature still haven’t come up with a global agreement, the supplemental budget conference committee has gone ahead with adopting an E-12 education compromise put together by House and Senate members of the Education working group.

A few major provisions in the agreement include:

  • One-time general education aid of $51 per pupil
  • Eliminating the subtraction for the Permanent School Fund in the next biennium (this will result in an additional $61 million in unrestricted resources for schools in FY 2010-11 and beyond)
  • Placing expansion of the Governor’s Q-Comp program on hold, and rolling the program out of the general education formula and turning it into a grant program
  • 4% reduction to the Department of Education

I wasn’t able to find any of the related documents on the web yet, so here is my own PDF of the spreadsheet and the bill summary (you’ll see my notes saying which sections they adopted last week, but they went through yesterday and adopted the remaining sections).

Just to clarify the situation…the House, Senate and Governor have been slowly negotiating (see some of my recent blogs) to decide how to solve the current budget deficit, including what role each area of the budget will play in that solution. In other words, agreeing on the size of the pie, as well as the size of each of the slices. By adopting the K-12 working group decisions, the Legislature is cutting out a slice before everyone has agreed on the pie. This certainly isn’t unheard of, but it could create some tensions in the negotiations with the Governor.

Of course, it actually isn’t necessary for the House and Senate to come to an agreement with the Governor before they complete their budget bill. However, with time running short, it makes sense for the Legislature to send the Governor a budget bill he is willing to sign the first time around.

The Higher Education and Environment, Energy & Natural Resources working groups have also reached agreements. Unlike K-12 Education, the conference committee has only adopted the non-financial items from these compromises.

-Christina Wessel

About Christina Wessel

Christina served as the Minnesota Budget Project's deputy director until January 2014.
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