“I am under no illusion regarding the likely outcome tonight,” Monaghan said. The committee no doubt finds itself between the proverbial rock and a hard place, but this Federation sees this as just another chapter in a long struggle to raise legislative and community consciousness regarding school funding.”
It appears very likely that the MFP will advance, for the second year in a row, without the 2.75% “growth factor” that school districts have relied upon to meet the growing cost of educating children and keeping teacher compensation competitive. On Tuesday, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education stripped the $65 million growth factor from its funding request.
Some lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office had sent strong signals to BESE that an enhanced MFP would be rejected, triggering a brief impasse between the legislature and the state’s school board.
On Tuesday, BESE acquiesced.
Later today, Monaghan will repeat in part his testimony before BESE by sharing three observations.
- There will be additional pain in our classrooms and our communities because of the MFP. In sampling of districts, $85 million has already been cut from school budgets across the state.
“If one appreciates the ‘bounce’ that school expenditures bring to local communities,” he will say, “then one understands how the loss of revenues will impact the economy of whole communities.”
- Five years ago, an ad-hoc committee called the MFP Task Force discussed creating an “adequacy study.” Its goal would have been to determine how much it would cost to provide a truly appropriate education for all Louisiana children.
That idea was tabled on February 23, 2006, and the task force has failed to reconvene since then.
- A report from the Louisiana Budget Project has reported that Louisiana grants more than 400 tax expenditures in the form of deductions, exemptions and credits, which amounts to more than $7 billion and is nearly as much as the state takes in as revenues.”
An urgent need for the state to investigate these tax expenditures now grows critical. Any that do not serve to create jobs, add to the quality of life of our citizens, and grow the state economy should be challenged so the state can fulfill its obligation to provide services for the people of Louisiana.