School Aid runs for the 2011-12 state budget now available — updated with clarification

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 8:57 pm by

Here.

More commentary in the morning.

An important clarification:

In the School Aid runs issued for the Governor’s proposed budget, the “Net Gap Elimination Adjustment” for 2010-11 reflected the inclusion of allocations totaling $608 million from the federal Education Jobs Fund.

In the aid runs released late on Wednesday for the final state budget, the 2010-11 Net Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) does not reflect the inclusion of Education Jobs Fund allocations.

This difference in presentation may create confusion.

Excluding the EJF allocations makes the year-to-year change in total aid under the enacted budget look smaller than the change under the Governor’s budget, even without taking into account the Legislature’s $230 million restoration for School Aid.

Accordingly, we recommend comparing the total aid for 2011-12 under the enacted budget with the total aid under the Governor’s proposed budget.

The Legislature also used updated data in its aid calculations, this would also cause differences in aid under the proposed and enacted budgets.

When the Governor’s budget first came out, I thought it would have been reasonable for the administration to present aid totals and changes in aid with and without Education Jobs Fund allocations.

Federal law required states to allocate EJF funds to districts in 2010-11 but permits districts to use their EJF allocations in either the 2010-11 or 2011-12 school year.

Data recently released by the State Comptroller indicated that statewide, districts have so far used 42 percent of their available EJF funds.  But there are wide variations among districts, with some using all their allocation this year, some saving it all for next year, and some using portions in each year.

If a district is using all its EJF funds this year, then including the funds in 2010-11 aid total — as done in the Governor’s run — presents an accurate picture of the district’s state revenue picture.

On the other hand, if a district is saving all its EJF allocation for 2011-12, omitting that aid from the 2010-11 total may provide a better representation of the district’s position.  The district will receive less revenue from the state, since it received EJF money in 2010-11 and will not in 2011-12, but it still has some 2010-11 revenue available for use in 2011-12.

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