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Friday News Roundup: Week of June 20-24

Published:  June 24, 2011

New Jersey Democrats’ Budget Allocates $1.6 Billion to Public Schools

Colorado to End Fiscal Year with $325 Million More than Budgeted

Oklahoma Board of Education Approves Leaner Budget

Idaho Schools Could Get Some Relief amid Budget Cuts

New Jersey Democrats’ Budget Allocates $1.6 Billion to Public Schools
Democratic leaders in the New Jersey legislature offered an alternative to Republican Governor Chris Christie’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget this week. Governor Christie proposed a $29.4 billion budget, but since introducing it, the state Supreme Court has struck down the Governor’s 2011 budget cuts as unconstitutional because they underfunded the state’s neediest school districts.  The Democrats’ proposal would provide public K-12 schools with $1.6 billion in funding, including adding $447 million in funding to needy districts according to the Court’s specifications; the extra funding will be supported by a tax increase on millionaires in the state. Analysts believe that the legislature will pass the Democrats’ budget proposal, which has not yet been written, next Thursday ahead of the start of the 2012 fiscal year on July 1. More here…

Colorado to End Fiscal Year with $325 Million More than Budgeted
An unexpected surplus of over $300 million at the end of the 2011 fiscal year will allow Colorado to add close to $70 million to K-12 public school funding in 2012. The legislature expected to cut the fiscal year 2012 budget for K-12 education by more than $227 million from 2011 levels, but legislation passed earlier this year allows an additional $67.5 million to flow to public schools provided revenues exceeded anticipated growth by at least that amount. State legislators still anticipate cutting K-12 spending for the 2013 fiscal year, though, given continuing fiscal constraints facing the state. More here…

Oklahoma Board of Education Approves Leaner Budget
For the third consecutive year, public schools in Oklahoma are facing deep budget cuts. State formula funding for public school districts will be reduced by 4.1 percent in the 2012 fiscal year, with cuts totaling about $140 million. Additionally, the board of education cut about $400 million from a school activities fund which eliminated bonuses to teachers with National Board Certification, cut adult education, and reduce funding for several student programs. The final vote was a 3-3 tie, with the state schools superintendent breaking the tie to ensure ultimate passage of the budget. More here…

Idaho Schools Could Get Some Relief amid Budget Cuts
If Idaho state tax revenues meet expectations in June, the last month of the 2011 fiscal year, public K-12 schools will receive an additional $50 million one-time funding boost in July. Schools can use the funds according to their own discretion. The payout could be small comfort to schools, though; schools are slated to see significant budget cuts in the 2012 fiscal year, including 1.6 percent reductions in teacher and administrator salaries, cuts that will be upped to 4.2 percent the following year when those funds are shifted elsewhere under new school reforms passed by the legislature. While state revenues are already higher than expected for this year, much of that money is already committed to fulfilling maintenance-of-effort obligations in education and other programs, so further cuts are likely in the coming years. More here…

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