Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Budget Battle Looms: What's It Mean to You?

There is a frequent refrain here at the Capitol, "We'll be here until June."  Those uttering the refrain are aware of what is shaping up to be a lengthy budget battle between the House and Senate budget conferees over the contentious issue of Medicaid expansion.

The last time we endured a budget standoff was in 2004, and what happened then may provide insight into what we might expect.  In this circumstance, local school boards base their budgets on the budget of the chamber with the lower level of state support.  This year, they will likely be basing their budgets on the House budget.  Local education associations should be working with  local school boards to determine how any additional funds that may be provided may be spent.

Second, without an adopted state budget, local school boards hold contracts.  This is a good time to ask your superintendent how your system will address this issue.

Each chamber will act on its budget bill tomorrow, and the budget conferees will be named.  We will be asking you to communicate with the conferees soon after.

Many VEA members have expressed dissatisfaction regarding the lack of funding for school employee salary increases, and we will certainly be addressing this concern in our message.