The bill amends the "Public School Finance Act of 1994" (act) to modify the funding for public schools from kindergarten through the twelfth grade for the 2012-13 budget year and, in some circumstances, for budget years thereafter, as follows:
Statewide base per pupil funding. For the 2012-13 budget year, the statewide base per pupil funding is increased to $5,843.26 to account for a 3.7% inflation rate.
Negative factor. During the 2010 and 2011 legislative sessions, the general assembly amended the act for the 2010-11 budget year and budget years thereafter to reduce the amount of the annual appropriation to fund the state's share of total program funding for all school districts and the funding for institute charter schools (total program funding) to assist in stabilizing the state budget. The general assembly accomplished the reduction to each district through a calculation that resulted in a factor, called the negative factor, to be applied to each district's total program funding amount in the applicable budget year.
For the 2012-13 budget year, the general assembly has determined that application of the negative factor to total program funding is necessary, but without an additional reduction in the amount of the annual appropriation to fund the state's share of total program funding. For the 2012-13 budget year, the bill increases the total program funding amount by approximately $57,000,000 compared with the amount currently required in law to account for increases in student enrollment.
Charter school capital construction. Currently, $5 million from the state education fund is annually appropriated for capital construction costs for all eligible districts and for all eligible institute charter schools.For the 2012-13 budget year and each budget year thereafter, the appropriation from the state education fund for charter school capital construction costs is increased to $6 million.
In addition to the changes to the act, the bill modifies other provisions related to funding for public schools as follows:
Supplemental on-line education services contracts. Beginning on August 1, 2012, subject to available appropriations, the mountain board of cooperative services (BOCES) shall contract every 3 years, rather than every year, with an entity that sells supplemental on-line education courses to provide such courses to school districts, charter schools, and BOCES that choose to purchase the courses.
Assistance for meeting state educational priorities. Beginning in the 2012-13 fiscal year, the bill provides additional moneys for a BOCES to assist its participating school districts in implementing and meeting the state's educational priorities as determined by the commissioner of education every 3 years. To receive additional moneys, a BOCES must submit a plan to the state board of education (state board) that details how the BOCES will use the moneys to assist its participating school districts in implementing and meeting the state's educational priorities.
A BOCES may collaborate with one or more adjoining BOCES and with a school district that is contiguous to the area of the BOCES, but that is not a member of the BOCES, for the delivery of services that will assist school districts in implementing and meeting the state's educational priorities. If a BOCES chooses not to submit a plan to the state board, the department of education will determine a method to allow one or more of the member school districts of the BOCES to submit an individual plan to the state board and to receive moneys to assist the district in implementing and meeting the state's educational priorities.
The bill appropriates $1,300,000 from the state education fund to assist school districts in implementing and meeting the state's educational priorities and specifies how the department of education is required to distribute the moneys.
Children with disabilities. The definition of "children with disabilities" is clarified to include persons 3 through 8 years old who have been determined to be children experiencing developmental delays, as defined in the code of federal regulations.
Counselor corps. The appropriation from the state education fund for the 2012-13 fiscal year is increased by $480,000 for the school counselor corps program.