HB 337 (2011, passed) reducing the cost of adequacy by $140 million

posted Nov 16, 2011, 2:08 PM by Bill Duncan   [ updated May 21, 2012, 6:30 AM ]
Docket, Signed by the Governor

SPONSORS: Rep. Hess, Merr 9; Rep. Flanagan, Hills 5; Rep. Ladd, Graf 5; Rep. Kurk, Hills 7; Rep. Bettencourt, Rock 4; Rep. Jasper, Hills 27

DNHP Comment: This bill eliminated $90 per student CPI increases in the aid calculation, reduced payments for children in kindergarten by 50% and changed the calculation of incremental payments for children with free and reduced cost lunches.  It also added a stipend for children needing extra reading instruction.  The result was $200 million lower adequacy calculation.

Although the bill reduced the state aid for achieving adequacy, it added a provision that kept each town receiving the same level of aid it had in 2011.  This kept towns such as those in the North Country that are losing population from taking a hit to their school budgets but it also denied increased education funding to 119 communities that has anticipated increases. 

And, as amended, it changed the fundamental calculations of adequacy.  There was much back and forth between the House and the Senate (See SB 183 for some of the background) and, in the end, Rep. Hess, the bill's prime sponsor, voted against the final version bill and several co-sponsors either voted against it or did not vote on it at all.

Official Analysis:

I. Sets the amount of differentiated aid at $1,725 for each pupil eligible for the free or reduced-price meal program.

II. Repeals the calculation and distribution of fiscal capacity disparity aid.

III. Provides a grant in the amount of $2,000 for chartered public school pupils.

IV. Provides $675 for each third grade pupil who has not tested at the proficient level or above in the reading component of the state assessment and who is not eligible to receive special education, English as a second language, or free or reduced-price meal program funds.

V. Beginning July 1, 2013, provides that a municipality’s total education grant shall not exceed 105.5 percent of the total education grant received in the previous fiscal year.

VI. Provides a stabilization grant to certain municipalities in fiscal year 2012 equal to the decrease from the municipality’s fiscal year 2011 total education grant, and provides that a municipality shall continue to receive this stabilization grant in fiscal year 2013 and each fiscal year thereafter.

VII. Repeals the statutory provisions requiring that excess education tax payments be remitted to the department of revenue administration thereby permitting municipalities to retain any excess education tax revenues.

State Aid