While increases in allowable spending for nearly all public schools will be capped at $200 per pupil in 2019-20 and $204 per pupil in 2020-21, private schools that participate in the state’s voucher programs will see their voucher payments increase by an estimated $229 per pupil in 2019-20 and an estimated $275 per pupil in 2020-21 under the omnibus K-12 education budget motion adopted by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) on May 23.
The JFC rejected the governor’s proposal to limit annual adjustments in voucher payments to the combination of the per pupil increase, if any, in revenue limits in that school year and in the per pupil increase in per pupil categorical aid paid to school districts between the previous school year and the current school year. Under that proposal, the increase in voucher payments would have been limited to the same $200 and $204 per pupil increases public schools will receive.
Under the JFC’s action, however, the factors used in the calculation revert to current law, which adds to the voucher payment any per member increase in categorical aids between the current school year and the previous school year, and results in the larger increases noted above. In other words, because public schools will finally receive an long-overdue increase in special education categorical aid, voucher schools will see a bigger increase in their per pupil payments.
Because annual adjustments to per pupil payments to independent charter schools and full-time open enrollment transfer payments are calculated similarly to the payment increases for voucher schools, both will also see larger per pupil increases under the JFC budget than under the governor’s proposal.
Per pupil payments to independent charter schools will increase by the same amounts ($229/$275) as per pupil payments to voucher schools.
Open enrollment transfer payments will increase by an estimated $329 per pupil in 2019-20 and by and estimated $375 in 2020-21. (This is due to provisions in the 2017-19 state budget–2017 Act 59, sections 1535ig to 1535t–that require the addition of $100 per pupil to the indexed amount in each school year from 2017-18 through 2020-21.)