On Tuesday, June 6, Assembly Republicans released their own K-12 funding plan for the 2017-19 state budget. The proposal increases general school aids and lowers property taxes, but not to the same level as Governor Walker’s plan. The governor has said he would veto a budget that increases property taxes above 2014 levels. Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said the Senate would stick with Walker’s plan. The Joint Finance Committee cancelled both executive sessions originally planned for this week as they work out solutions between the two chambers on K-12 funding and other issues.
The plan would:
- Increase general school aids from Walker’s proposal by $30 million.
- Increase categorical aids per student by $150 in 2018 and $200 in 2019, for a total of $90.8 million less than Walker proposed.
- Raise the low revenue adjustment to $9,800 per pupil. School districts that spend less than average per student could use a total of $92.2 million to increase the school property tax in 2018-19, according to LFB projections.
- Reduce the school property tax credit by $35 million from Walker’s proposed $87 million.
- Delete the governor’s recommendation to tie per pupil aid to Act 10 compliance.
- Incorporate AB 269, separate legislation that requires school referenda to be held only on spring election or general election days, except in the case of an emergency.
- Provide $9.2 million for grants for personal electronic computing devices for students.
- Require the Department of Public Instruction to simplify and make more efficient the licensing process.