Legislative leaders have stated that they will finalize negotiations on the remaining differences between the House and Senate budget proposals tonight and tomorrow and expect to be able to produce the final state budget – which will be called the Conference Committee Report on SB 2500 — sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening. When the budget is delivered to all legislators, the clock will start on the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the constitution before legislators may vote on final passage of the budget. President Gardiner and Speaker Crisafulli have set forth a plan for each chamber to debate the budget on Thursday and take a final vote on Friday, June 19.
In our last Update on June 9, we stated that the major education budget decisions have been made, but details of policy and/or funding remain to be settled. There is agreement to provide a total in FEFP funding of about $19.68 billion – an increase of about $780 million over the current year. This produces total FEFP funding per student of about $7,097 – an increase of about $207, or 3%, per FTE. The Base Student Allocation will is likely to be about $4,155 – an increase of about $125, or about 3%, per FTE.
Since our June 9 Update, there have been only a few developments with regard to the education budget:
- PECO — Legislators have decided NOT to bond PECO revenue. This decision limits the number of capital outlay projects that can be funded and Legislators have not yet made allocations of the funds. We expect to learn more about PECO this evening.
- FRS Contribution Rates — Both chambers had proposed an increase in the employer contribution for the Health Insurance Subsidy — with the House suggesting slightly more of an increase than the Senate. Today, it was agreed to use the rates proposed by the House. Even so, there should be an over-all reduction in the total employer contribution rate for the regular class – going from 7.37% in the current year to 7.26% for 2015-16.
- Tax Cut Package – Today, both chambers passed a pared-down tax cut package valued at about $400 million. Among the tax savings programs included in the bill are a 10-day back to school sales tax holiday and sales tax exemptions on the purchase of for college and university textbooks.
We will keep you informed of further developments as the budget negotiations come to an end. Meanwhile, I hope you find this information useful. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Ruth Haseman Melton
Director of Government Relations
Florida School Boards Association
Office: 850 / 414-2578
Cell: 850 / 509-6411