Revised Appropriations Conference Report Passed

UPDATE: A revised conference report for pre-k through grade 12 appropriations for FY2021 passed both chambers this afternoon. Only one change was made – adding to MDE general education funding a $4.7-million reappropriation that had been left out of the original conference report.

Facing a difficult budget year, lawmakers spared public schools to the extent possible. While most state agencies saw budget cuts that averaged around 5%, MAEP funding for 2020-2021 is about $37-million, or 1.65%, less than the appropriation for the 2019-2020 year. The cut to the MAEP was mitigated in part by ending the much-maligned School Recognition Program and pumping those dollars into the MAEP, which funds teachers and classrooms statewide. The conference report for HB 1700 also provides:

:black_small_square: A $1.1-million increase for the Early Learning Collaborative program
:black_small_square: Level funding for the school supply fund and the literacy program
:black_small_square: Full funding for the National Board Certified Teacher program and the Chickasaw Cession
:black_small_square: Reduced funding for the Schools for the Blind and the Deaf, and for vocational education
:black_small_square: $3-million for the ESA voucher program (but not the additional $2-million added in the 2019 session)