The “Education Blueprint” bill with initial recommendations from the Kirwan Commission, and two years worth of funding, is on its way toward passage.
SB 1030 has been amended and passed in the House of Delegates, with strong bi-partisan support, and appears headed to the Governor. The two-year spending plan includes targeted funding for special education students, schools with high density of poverty, and teacher salary incentives. The bill, with multiple changes and compromises incorporated at seemingly every turn, funds several priority areas but incorporates a variety of accountability measures supported by the Governor.
The core element affecting county budgets immediately is essentially unchanged — if counties fund a teacher salary increase of 3% or the equivalent in FY 2020 and 2021, the state will award a wealth-equalized grant (totaling $75 million each year) to further enhance teacher pay.
The House version of the bill contains some significant changes to the Senate version. Unlike the Senate, the House made the funding mandatory, expanded the pool of school employees eligible for raises and made an inspector general, appointed to ensure accountability, subject to a unanimous vote of the governor, attorney general and treasurer.
Third Reader Bill, as passed by the Senate
Ways and Means Committee Amendments (adopted): Substantive (11 pages), and Procedural (1 page)
Delegate Cassilly Amendment, adopted on the House floor
Earlier Conduit Street coverage of bill as passed by the Senate
The Senate will receive the House amendments, and is widely expected to concur with the changes, avoiding a late-session conference committee, and approving the bill in this final form. An enrolled (final) version of the bill should be available soon afterward.
One element of the bill, uncodified language on page 44 of the bill gathering little attention, directs the Kirwan Commission to develop recommendations for a more evenly-smoothed cost schedule. The preliminary cost estimates of the Commission work included more than $3 billion in annualized costs mounting as soon as the third and fourth year of the ten-year “phase in.” This direction could represent a strong signal on the more practical implementation schedule that may garner enough support in the 2020 legislative session, once the Commission concludes its remaining work regarding funding formulas and other fiscal matters.