Lawmakers disagree on what they did this year on school funding

Staff writerAugust 22, 2013 

UPDATED 8 p.m. to correct that Democrats' draft includes information on 2013 policy changes.

State lawmakers must submit a report to the state Supreme Court by the end of the month, but Republicans and Democrats have different ideas for what it should say.

The two parties reached a deal in June that put roughly $1 billion extra into basic education to comply with the court's mandate to fully fund the public schools.

GOP members of the reporting committee, which met Wednesday, want to put lawmakers on record as being open to more policy changes or reforms in the school system, including to the way teachers and principals are evaluated.

Both versions of the report list policy changes approved in 2013. Republicans have argued policy reforms are necessary to fulfill the court's mandate. Democrats on the committee want to ask the court whether its order really requires policy changes. It's one of several questions they want to pose to the court.

Democrats' draft also calls for including something Republicans would omit: that the Legislature has not funded voter-approved cost-of-living raises for school employees since 2009. While that's not considered a part of basic education, it is a nearly $300 million hit to school districts this budget cycle, partially offsetting lawmakers' addition of $1 billion.

Here's a comparison of the two drafts by nonpartisan staff:

And here are the Republican and Democratic proposals in full:

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