Budget Certainty in Uncertain Times

Legislation | 04/02/2020

Stacey Morley
Government Affairs Director

Last week, the Governor signed a much-needed school closure bill that was unanimously passed by the legislature. This bill will help our communities deal with the unintended consequences of school closures while ensuring our schools’ funding remains unharmed. This bipartisan legislation provides employment stability for teachers and other school employees, and it requires schools to offer alternative learning opportunities. 

Also, as you might have already heard — lawmakers approved an $11.8 billion “skinny budget” to fund our agencies and provide some much-needed stability. This “skinny budget” simply takes last year’s budget and adjusts for inflation.  

The budget breakdown:  

  • The FY21 budget does not include any increases above FY20 except for caseload growth, inflation, and contractual obligations. 

  • Formula funding for schools increased by approximately $400 million, which includes funds for annual inflation increase, enrollment growth, the final teacher compensation increase, and this year’s portion of the additional assistance restoration. 

In addition, it also creates the Office of Crisis and Contingency Safety Net fund in the governor’s office and appropriates $50 million to the Fund. Monies may only be used by the governor during a state of emergency for the following types of economic assistance:  

  • Housing assistance 

  • Services for the homeless  

  • Assistance for small businesses with less than 50 employees, nonprofits, and healthcare providers 

  • Food banks 

It’s worth noting that this legislative session has not adjourned but has instead decided to recess. So, there is still a chance that lawmakers could go back to the legislature and work on unfinished business. But, in the meantime, lawmakers have headed home.  

We'll keep you posted.

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