The commission charged with recommending changes to the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) funding formula has released its final report, which offers proposals for expanded pre-kindergarten programs, help for economically disadvantaged students, and teacher professional development.
The report will now go to the full Education Committee for its review.
There is a price tag for most of the recommendations made by the commission including:
Expanded summer school programs at $15 million.
Teacher professional development and collaborative time at $39 million.
Phasing out the practice of subtracting how much federal Title I money districts get from their overall EPS allocation. Districts get $44 million in Title I funds, which are aimed at helping lower-income students. Changing how that money is treated under EPS would create winners and losers statewide, if additional funding is not put into GPA to hold losers harmless.
Increase pre-kindergarten slots so they could be offered to all students who want one. More analysis is needed on exact costs.
The report recommends no change to the controversial Labor Market Areas that affect state aid for teacher salaries.
A phased-in change is recommended for minimum receivers of state aid that currently get 30 percent of their special education costs covered even though 100 percent was promised. The proposal says that special education funding for minimum receivers should increase by 10.3 percent for each 1 percent increase the state makes toward its required 55 percent share of the cost of K-12 education. The state currently is just under 46 percent.
The report also recommends that when calculating that 55 percent the state should not count what it contributes to the unfunded liability for teacher retirement.
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