Legislative Update 1/28

The House debated HF 80 (successor to HSB 58) setting percent growth of SSA at 1.25, and HF 81 (successor to HSB 57) setting the categorical state of percent growth 10 1.25 last night. After several hours of debate HF 80 as amended and HF 81 each passed on a vote of 56-42.

Representative Jorgensen opened the debate on HF 80 by acknowledging that our supplemental state aid money went, in part, to fund teacher leadership compensation programs instead:

I’ve heard a number of times, if we didn’t spend money on the education reform we would have more money for SSA. If we didn’t do the property tax reform we would have more money for SSA. That is true. But if you are going to succeed in any venture you must be willing to invest strategically into the future. If something is not working you must change it; if the competition is changing you must also change. Refusing to change will assure only one thing. Failure. Continuing to prioritize funding into a system that has seen declining enrollments and stagnant achievement results will result in future failure. That is why our investment with Education Reform AND property tax reform is so important. If we don’t spur economic development through improving our education system and lowering our tax rates we will only continue to see enrollment declines and stagnant achievement results. But that takes money and that–and for the short term creates hurt and sacrifice in other areas. But the future benefit is worth it.

[Note: the DE reports that statewide public school enrollment is up for the third year in a row, and expected to keep going up (page vii and page 3 of the 2014 Condition of Education Report).]

An amendment to HF 80, H-1002, was filed by Ruff (D-Clayton) and forty-one co-sponsors to set SSA for FY 2016 at six percent. It failed on a vote of 43-56. An amendment to HF 81, H-1003, was filed by Ruff (D-Clayton) and forty co-sponsors to set the categorical state of percent growth to six. It failed on a vote of 42-56.