An education bill has passed the House and the sponsor says the amendments added to it were more important than the bill itself.
Sponsor Maynard Wallace, a Republican representative from Thornfield, is upfront about his belief that the changes made during House floor debate were more important than anything initially in HCS#2 HB 1543.
“Oh, I think so, because they give some flexibility to schools in their finances,” Wallace tells reporters after the House approved HCS#2 HB 1543 and sent it to the Senate.
It has become apparent the legislature will not be able to keep up with increases in education funding. Wallace hopes to free up some money for local school districts. One amendment to the bill lifts a requirement that districts use one percent of their state money for professional development, an amendment that would have a total impact of $30 million statewide. A second relaxes requirements for administrators. Another suspends the requirement that 75% of new state money be devoted to teacher salaries; all providing flexibility Wallace says is needed if state funding falls short.
Wallace worries that the state budget might well fall short next year.
“I think there’s some uncertainty here, whatever we finally pass out of here as a budget, I think there’s some uncertainty as to whether they actually will get it or not,” Wallace says. “I may be the pessimist, but I’ve lived through this a time or two and it’s tough.”
Education funding fell $43 million dollars short this year.