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