Task Force recommends increase in education funding, changes to formula

Task Force recommends increase in education funding, changes to formula
MGN Online

POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 12:04pm

The Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) Task Force of education stakeholders has proposed several changes to the state’s K-12 education funding formula for the 2014-15 school year.

The MFP’s suggestions to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) include a 2.75 percent increase in funding statewide, addressing needs related to career readiness and special education, and providing for the study of a long-term restructuring of the MFP.

“These recommendations are a positive, responsible step towards addressing critical short-term needs and establishing a solid framework for the future,” said Jay Guillot, Task Force chairman. “The Task Force-approved proposal recognizes the diverse needs of students and school districts, and the flexibility necessary to accommodate those needs, while requiring strong accountability.”

The MFP Task Force is comprised of teachers, parents, school board members, superintendents, legislators, and other community members. It’s purpose is to offer guidance to BESE in providing for the equitable and effective funding of students and schools.

Guillot said he is excited about the new recommendations because they have broad support from a very diverse group. 

Advisory Recommendations for 2014-2015:

Statewide funding increase of 2.75 percent: (an increase of approximately $69 million) with a recommendation that BESE allow districts flexibility in using the money to provide for their diverse needs

Career education: with a 12 percent weight per career course for courses that are technical in nature, doubling of the current weight

Special education: proposed a doubling of the current size of the High-Risk Pool to provide additional, targeted funds for serving students with disabilities

Expanded course opportunities: includes Dual Enrollment, TOPS Core courses, remedial coursework, and career/technical education courses

Technology readiness: to provide a high-level technology readiness overview for each district

The Task Force also suggests that financial and policy experts conduct a study to restructure the MFP for greater performance and outcomes.

Stephen Waguespack, MFP member and president of the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry, also expressed his support for the new formula, particularly for the proposed attention to career readiness.

“Workforce development is critical to our members’ ability to do business in Louisiana,” Waguespack said.

Dr. Patrice Pujol, Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent and another MFP member, stated that: “Students will not only ensure their workforce readiness, but will also be prepared for opportunities throughout their lives in whatever career or education path they pursue.”

The Task Force will present their proposal to BESE in January for consideration. BESE will approve a final resolution, which will later be sent to the Louisiana Legislature by March 15, 2014.

The MFP Task Force report will be presented to BESE for consideration at its January meeting. A final MFP resolution and formula will be approved by BESE and sent to the Louisiana Legislature by March 15, 2014.

Read the full recommendations here.  

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