The House & Senate Fiscal Agencies and the Department of Treasury met this week at the May Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) to adjust revenue estimates upward for both the General Fund and School Aid Fund (SAF) in both the current budget year as for Fiscal Year 2019. The updated projections suggest $315 million more than expected in the current fiscal year and $182 million more than projected in January for FY 2019. Within those two numbers, the breakdown of the increased revenue projections from this January are as follows:
FY 2018 General Fund - Additional $156 million
FY 2018 SAF - Additional $160 million
FY 2019 General Fund - Additional $72 million
FY 2019 SAF - Additional $110 million
The House and Senate will now begin final budget negotiations with the Administration in hopes of scheduling conference committees and final votes on next year's budget over the next few weeks. Participants in the negotiations have indicated interest thus far in utilizing any additional available revenue towards paying down debt, road repair, and school funding. Within the school funding debate, we also are hearing interest in dedicating additional specific funding for school security initiatives. The availability of new funding is certainly welcome news, and we will continue to advocate for MEMSPA priorities as budget season concludes and the Legislature adjourns for the summer in early June.
House Education Reform Committee Update:
The House Education Reform Committee heard a presentation from former Rep. Amanda Price and additional members of of the Governor's Michigan PreK-12 Literacy Commission. The testimony largely focused on Michigan's lagging ranking in early literacy compared to other states and ways the state can reverse that trend going forward. Discussion also included concerns about the effectiveness of GSRP curriculum, the degree of literacy instruction included in teacher and principal preparation, incorporation of early literacy essentials into instruction, and the need to develop more consistency in the state's approach to early literacy initiatives going forward.
Legislation of Interest Introduced This Week:
House Bill 6027, introduced by Rep. Gary Howell (R-North Branch), would allow school sinking funds to be utilized for school security officers.
House Bill 6043, introduced by Rep. Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), would require schools to maintain records of certain unprofessional activities of employees and report certain information to the Department of Education.