by Anna Manning
The 2018 State Budget includes an increase of $500 million on education spending.
John Locke Foundation’s Terry Stoops analyzes the 2018 State Budget with regards to education and lists other noteworthy provisions of the bill in this piece.
Although this increased spending will not necessitate higher state taxes or budget cuts, Terry warns that there are still costs that mainly fall at the local level.
For example, local governments will bear some of the cost for increased spending on teacher, administrator, and staff salaries and benefits. The state allocates funding to districts for personnel, but school boards often use local dollars to add positions. (The wisdom of doing so is a debate for another time.) Local dollars fund a significant number of school jobs statewide.
When state lawmakers mandate increases in employee compensation, school districts must do the same for employees paid with local dollars. This may lead to property tax increases or reductions in staff through attrition or other means.
Terry also brings up the academic costs associated with the budget bill. While the bill does include a sound strategy that provides bonuses for top principals, reading and math teachers, and others that depends on measures of student achievement, the state still uses a statewide teacher salary schedule that cause implications to student achievement.
The state remains tied to a statewide teacher salary schedule that, for more than a century, has paid teachers based on experience and credentials. The problem with this arrangement is that it allows underperforming teachers to receive pay raises that are identical to their high-performing colleagues, thereby creating an incentive for the former to stay and the latter to leave. Student achievement suffers as a result.
While the budget does have flaws, Terry thinks that it is moving the state in the right direction. You can find other provisions of the education budget and read more of Terry’s commentary here.