MFP shortage could solidify federal money switch for schools

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Posted: Nov 15, 2010 9:38 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Nov 15, 2010 9:38 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: schools, money, grant, dollars, K-12, education, state, budget, shortfall, deficit, federal, teachers, students, enrollment

BATON ROUGE - An increase in public school students means an increase in the state's money woes.

There are 9,000 more students in classrooms than the state planned for, and because school districts get paid per-student, the state now has to find $42 million to pay for them. The state is already trying to figure out how to handle an estimated $1.5 billion deficit in next year's budget.

Some districts say even though they're getting more money from the state for more enrollment, the hole it creates in state spending is another place for promised teacher-pay dollars to end up, instead of in K-12 classrooms where it needs to be.

While state education leaders say they'll fight to keep as much federal grant money in school districts as possible, they're also trying to help some school district's fight deeper budget issues because they've already spent the money.

Some school district leaders say education, and the state's bottom line, would be better served if the state planned for growth properly, instead of having to scramble in the middle of the year to meet an unexpected influx in enrollment.

Lawmakers have to fill the enrollment-funding gap by July 1.

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