E-12 budget discussions stall as legislators wait for targets

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The E-12 education conference committee met four times this week but did not adopt any provisions or make any decisions on the next two-year budget.

Members discussed various House and Senate provisions, budget differences, and reviewed Senate and House bill language. Issues discussed included early childhood education programs, the per student formula increases, school needs, and special education. Education Commissioner Mary Catherine Ricker also addressed the conference committee.

Members suggested that the conference committee adopt bill language that are the same or similar. However, members could not agree, and with the Senate chair wanting to wait until budget targets were agreed upon, little real work has happened in the committee.

The Senate and House are far apart on budget goals. The Senate has passed legislation investing $211 million over the next two years in E-12 education. The House bill invests $900 million over the same period of time. (SF 7/HF 2400)