LA BESE amends 2014-15 MFP
(NBC33) — The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) today adopted several amendments to the 2014-15 Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula in response to the Senate Education Committee’s recent deferral of the original submitted formula. The amendments address future funding concerns expressed by state lawmakers while preserving an increase for school systems and funds for special education, career development and dual enrollment programs.
“Today’s action provides increased funding for schools and students while easing the concerns of lawmakers regarding automatic future increases,” said Chas Roemer, BESE president. “The Board believes strongly that the recommendations of the MFP Task Force must be included in the 2014-15 formula, as it represents the interests of a broad range of education stakeholders that participated in the process. We believe those provisions are critical in providing the best and most equitable funding plan for Louisiana’s students.”
The Senate Education Committee voted May 1 to defer the original MFP submitted by BESE, citing concerns over the included mandatory 2.75 percent annual inflationary increase for future years in which a funding formula is not approved by the Legislature. BESE convened at today’s special meeting to amend the formula to remove that language, and preserves the increase in overall per-pupil funding for 2014-15 among other revisions. The full scope of the amendments approved by BESE today includes:
• Base per-pupil funding was increased from $3,855 to $3,961. Language was removed that may allow for an increase at a specific rate in future years without a new formula.
• A provision was removed that would fund student enrollment at special state schools (e.g. Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts; Louisiana Schools for the Deaf and the Visually Impaired; New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) through modest reductions in the share of state funds sent to the districts in which students attend such schools reside, saving districts $3.4 million.
• A clarification was added to ensure that funding for the students with the most significant disabilities is allocated proportionally to school systems versus other public schools, based on the share of total applications received from each.
• A clarification was added to ensure that career development funding is awarded on a per-course basis and that minimum funding levels in the formula are only relevant in districts or other schools whose per-course funds would otherwise be below the minimum.
• A requirement was added to maintain the funding for teacher salary increases in 2014-15, unless a district has already budgeted for an increase.
”The amendments adopted by BESE today preserve and build on stakeholder recommendations,” said Jay Guillot, MFP Task Force chairman and BESE member. “The goal of the MFP process is to develop the best funding solution to give districts the funding and flexibility they need to ensure quality education for every child, and I believe these amendments directly address the ongoing concerns of legislators, school boards, superintendents and special education advocates.”
The amended MFP formula will be submitted to the Louisiana Legislature for consideration before the close of the Regular Session on June 2.
BESE is the administrative policymaking body for elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana. The Board sets key education initiatives and works to outline an education agenda to achieve continuous improvement of public education as measured by student and school achievement.