Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Will our schools take another budget hit?

What does this year's looming $250 million state budget shortfall portend for the coming legislative session?

According to this article by Advocate reporter Will Sentell, the governor says it is too early to tell if ongoing budget woes will force yet another freeze on public education's Minimum Foundation Program.

The MFP, the funnel through which state aid flows to public school systems around the state, has been static for the past three years. Just once in the administration of Gov. Bobby Jindal has the MFP received its traditional 2.75% inflation factor boost.

In The Advocate's article, Gov. Jindal repeats his claim that public education spending has increased by better than nine percent during his administration.

Some of that increase came before the big freeze, but the bulk of it is simply because the number of public school students has risen. The MFP is based on the number of students in our schools, and and must be raised as the student count goes up.

Outside the MFP, Gov. Jindal has sliced some $80 million from vital programs like after school tutoring, literacy and numeracy initiatives, early childhood education and stipends for nationally certified teachers.

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