There are quite a few different projections about next year’s State Aid budget, and some of the projections are relatively positive. We have tried to substantiate any kind of positive news about a guaranteed budget deal that will hold education harmless, but as far as we can tell there is no guarantee that this will happen. The main indicator is the 1017 Fund has already been projected to be lower than this year’s initial amount, which leads to the State Aid Fund being lower than this year’s initial allocation. It would be great to share with you that some inside source had a deep insight that led us to believe money would magically appear and we could all pay teachers $100’s of thousands of dollars, but I’m not finding it.
The best guess I can hazard is to prepare for a 3.4% decline (that’s -$102 from the current $3008.60 or $2906.00 after the loss) and hope that it is a standstill budget. I have said in several different meetings to prepare for a 2.4% decline (-$72.60 from the current $3008.60 or $2935.40), but several factors have forced me to reconsider this. The main factors in my revision are:
- The February State Equalization Board meeting's smaller numbers on the reduced numbers from the 1017 Fund. This was discussed in detail in the April Finance Report (feel free to email me if you didn't receive this and would like it emailed).
- Last year’s State Aid Fund was augmented by an approximate $30,000,000 infusion from the state textbook funds; that money will already be figured in and can be placed in the fund but won’t raise the State Aid Fund above current year sources.
The 3.8% reduction is much better than the current loss of 6.9% 1017 Fund losses in spending authority, but it is still a 3.8% reduction in funding. I was talking to a group of education leaders a few weeks ago and recommended looking at a 2.4% drop, but the slower-than-expected recovery is making a much more pessimistic outlook more of a reality coupled with the lack of new fund infusion, which is requiring a more pessimistic prediction.
The issue we have is that the state sales tax, motor vehicle collections, and a grindingly slow recovery are just not helping to drive the State Aid formula upwards. As we stated in the April Finance Report, we are in for a long, slow road. We need to budget in the loss of the additional 1017 funding through the end of the year at the rate that we have seen over the past four months and prepare for the potential drop in funds for FY 18.
While negative news is flowing, there is one other item we must bring up. In October of 2016, there was a recovered amount of money due to an austerity budget in the spring of FY 16. It is only human nature that we count on past performance being an indicator of future performance. Don’t count on this. Act like those funds were never sent to the district, and fight the temptation to budget the funds into the revenue budget. If the funds occur that’s great, but if they don’t appear, that could make for a very difficult rest of the year.
The Chargeable Report with each district’s chargeables through April payment will be sent out this week. We will add in a May report by the 20th of the month for your budgeting purposes for next year. If we can help you in any manner please feel free to contact me by email or phone (405-368-9048).