(KCPW News) It appears education funding in the state has nowhere to go but up. This morning, the House of Representatives approved the public education base budget for the next year. Republican Representative Merylnn Newbold, sponsor of House Bill 1, says that means the state can plan on at least $3.5 billion in education funds.
“It’s exactly even in that it doesn’t cut; it doesn’t make any changes, doesn’t transfer money between lines and yes, all those ongoing programs that we funded last year we are going to be able to afford to fund this year, so in that way it’s wonderful news,” says Newbold.
Newbold says the base budget also kept the weighted pupil unit, the basic unit of state education funding, the same as in the 2011-2012 budget.
But Democrats like Representative Carol Moss say they were hoping for more to be included in this year’s base budget for education.
“Senator Morgan, in Executive Appropriations a few weeks ago, made a motion to include funding for increased enrollment which the Republican House Caucus pledged they were going to do, or supported that. And they resisted that. We felt that it would be good to have that in the base budget because then we have a guarantee,” says Moss.
Both parties agree they are in a much better position than last year, when lawmakers entered the legislative session being told to make 7 percent cuts across the board. Budget committees will make changes to education funding throughout the session before the legislature passes a final budget in the last few days.
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