Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): Subcommittee co-chair Sen. Lyle Hillyard opened with comments. He noted that for every 1-percent increase in the WPU, property tax increases by $5 million. He claimed that money from the Teacher and Student Success Account is distributed about the same as the WPU. He touted the benefits of optional extended-day kindergarten and stated the need to address at-risk students.
Legislative analyst Ben Leishman provide a public education budget introduction and several other details, including:
- A summary of state and local budgets and
- An update on an education funding study being conducted by the USBE (also a full report of phase 1).
Some important findings from the USBE study: Recent research links increased school spending to positive outcomes for students, including higher graduation rates, increased college attendance and higher lifetime wages. Also, the research suggests that, on average, money matters, but not necessarily in every context, in all settings, or in all school districts.
The State Board of Education also presented information about their strategic plan and budget priorities.
House and Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The legislature voted in favor of HB185: Tax Restructuring Revisions – Repeal by a vote of 70-1-4 in the House and 27-0-2 in the Senate. This bill repeals SB2001, the controversial tax reform bill passed by the legislature during a Special Session in December. HB185 now goes to the Governor who has already said he will sign the repeal.