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Senate debate resubmitted school financing proposal

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Posted: May 19, 2014 12:59 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: bese, public school, financing, senate, dan claitor, proposal

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Senate will debate an updated $3.6 billion formula to pay for Louisiana's public schools next year, after the Senate's budget committee voted 10-1 Monday for the latest version submitted by state education leaders.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rewrote the 2014-15 school financing plan after senators objected to the inclusion of an automatic growth factor that could lock the Legislature into boosting the per-student payment by 2.75 percent annually in later years.

BESE stripped out the inflationary factor, and the resubmitted version (Senate Concurrent Resolution 55) is advancing in the Senate, getting the backing of both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

"While no one's 100 percent satisfied, most of those involved agreed in the overall approach," BESE President Chas Roemer told the Finance Committee.

Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, was the lone senator to object to the proposal, saying he disagreed that students with disabilities are treated the same in the formula, without consideration to the severity of the disability.

Lawmakers can approve or reject the formula submitted by BESE, but cannot change it. If the board and lawmakers cannot agree on a new formula, the state would continue using the current financing structure to pay for public schools next year.

Schools are currently operating off an older version of the formula that was passed by lawmakers for the 2011-12 budget year.

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