Name: House Bill 30 and Senate File 28
Sponsor: Joint Education Committee
What they do: Both bills are aimed at chipping away at the education funding deficit. HB30 would cut and save over $19 million for fiscal year 2019 and at least $15.6 million in the next two years. It would reach those savings by changing the way school attendance is calculated, amid several other changes.
Meanwhile, SF28’s savings are unclear. Currently, the state’s funding model provides money for a certain number of teachers and money for health care for those teachers. But often, school districts will have fewer teachers than the model pays them for, and the teachers they do have may not have health care through the district. In any case, the districts still receive the money. SF28 would close the gap to what districts actually pay on health insurance.
The savings that would bring are yet unknown, legislative staff have said.
What they’re saying: Both bills passed out of the Joint Education Committee in November, ahead of the Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration’s final meetings. For cut-minded legislators, that’s likely a good thing: The recalibration committee voted against bringing a new school funding model before the Legislature, a move that dashed hopes that the committee could find savings.
As of early February, SF28 and HB30 are the primary proposals for cuts. But there’s talk of more: Sen. Hank Coe, who chairs the Senate Ed Committee and co-chaired the recalibration committee, said that Sen. Bill Landen, a Casper Republican, was working on a bill as recalibration wound down.
Elsewhere, lawmakers and educators have expressed hope and concern (depending on who’s talking) that a bill about class sizes will come up, which it did repeatedly last year. If it does, and class sizes are increases, that could mean a sizeable cut for school districts.