Early Budget News: Some K-12 Moderation

Well, it looks like the many forecasts of doom and budget profligacy on this blog were in vain.  According to this morning’s RTD, Governor Northam will be asking for an additional $1.2 billion over two years for K-12.  That is about half of the total cost of earlier projections of SOQ benchmarking costs and the additional money the Board of Education recommended. And it includes money for teacher salary increases, which was not included in the earlier estimates. It would seem that the Governor does not feel bound to go along with all the recommendations of his BOE.

The entire budget proposal will be released later today and the details will be available for poring over. Based on the newspaper report, the Governor may be proposing to roll into the SOQ some funding that was previously supplemental.  As I have commented earlier, that could be a concern.

— Dick Hall-Sizemore

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3 responses to “Early Budget News: Some K-12 Moderation”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    Wow – An early morning post about money and education that is not a rant against yet another tax and spend debacle! How Refreshing!

    It will be a short break, I’m quite sure as the boobirds of fiscal gloom and doom wake up later in the morn – see the actual budget and hair erupts into flame!

    Thank You Dick for your perspectives.

    Now back to the regularly scheduled “all heck is breaking loose” …. “reports” later today!


  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Trying to get some perspective of the education proposals:

    from one news outlet:

    ” $140.4 million to increase payments for at-risk students’ programs, the largest single increase to this program ever;”

    so what was the prior funding for this program? How long has it been
    a budget item?

    If you look at the 140 million with respect to the 133 political jurisdictions in Virginia that’s about a million per – realizing that the larger counties will get far more than a million or the smaller ones far less.

    The Commonwealth Institute thinks there are around 500,000 “economically disadvantaged” kids … not sure that’s the same as “at risk” but if we go by the 500K and 140 million, that’s about $280 per kid. That’s not a lot of money when one thinks an instructor who earns 50K is getting paid around $20 an hour.

    The big fly in the ointment is – does this money actually go directly to instruction/academic help for at-risk kids and not get absorbed into other stuff..?

    What I’ve heard is that, depending on how the funds are administered funds like this just replace existing spending not specifically designated for at-risk – that is then moved to other functions.

    The devil is in the details and as the fiscal hawks here will point out – most all money is fungible and the problem is that money is promised for a particular thing to gain support in the budget but then on the other end – unless there are substantial strings attached – the money can and does go into the receiving folks big pot of money, “re-purposed”, and in the end, little of it will actually go to the intended purpose.

    That’s the problem a lot larger school districts already have in that schools in neighborhoods with college-educated parents are better funded and better staffed than schools in low-income neighborhoods that are not as good as being “squeaky wheel” advocates for their kids.

    That argument does influence me and not in a good way.

  3. djrippert Avatar

    The biannual budget for Virginia is $117b or so. Inflation is running at about 2.1% and Virginia population is growing at about 1% per year. Add the two together and you get 3.1%. Presumably, increased salaries, economic activity and new taxpayers entering the state would allow for the budget to increase by 3.1% without new taxes. Holding the budget flat other than for inflation and population growth allows for an increase of $3.6B over the two years in a biannual budget. With this one move Northam has asked for $1.2B more in education. That’s a third of his $3.1b “allowance”. He has $2.4B left. After that, he’s promising to spend money he doesn’t have and is setting the stage for increased taxes. Thank goodness that Jim Bacon and Steve Haner are holding our governor to account for his proposed spending spree.

    State and local expenditures, measured on a per capita basis, were $8,226 in 2015 (last year I could find data). That’s lower than the US average of $8,845 but considerably higher than the southeast average of $7,502. From 2010 – 2015 state and local spending (per-capita) in Virginia has increased 11%. Inflation over that period was 8.7%.

    So, some key points to remember:

    1. State and local spending in Virginia has been increasing faster than population growth + inflation since 2010 and probably much longer – I didn’t do those calculations.
    2. Virginia is already a high spending state in the southeast US.
    3. Northam has $3.6B to add to a biannual budget (net of efficiency gains – to which I assign the probability of 0%) before he continues the increase in spending burden on Virginia taxpayers (individual and corporate).
    4. Disgraceful, slimy and opaque approaches to taxation such as taxing not-for-profit hospitals where the costs are passed onto consumers are tax hikes regardless of what Northam may choose to call them.


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