The MFP defines the cost of educating all public school students in Louisiana. The state’s constitution requires BESE to develop a formula for distributing state funds to public schools and submit it to the Louisiana Legislature each year.
The Board received the recommendations of a MFP Task Force created to provide guidance on improving the formula to ensure the most equitable method of funding public education. The recommendations include a 2.75 percent increase in funding statewide, address needs related to career and special education, and provide for studying a long-term restructuring of the MFP. The final Task Force report and recommendations can be viewed here.
“It is important that the MFP formula take into consideration the unique needs of school districts throughout the state, and provide the funding flexibility to meet those needs,” said BESE President Chas Roemer. “While the ongoing long-term discussion on improving the MFP is not finished, I believe these recommendations set meaningful short-term objectives in distributing state education dollars.”
The MFP Task Force was comprised of legislators, school board members, superintendents, teachers, parents, and community and education organizations. The group began a series of monthly meetings in September and produced its final recommendations for BESE consideration on January 6. A final MFP resolution and formula will be adopted by BESE and sent to the Louisiana Legislature by March 15, 2014.
BESE also finalized budget allocations to the 8(g) program for the 2014-15 fiscal year. 8(g) funds are administered by BESE through three primary grant programs. These funds are used for the support and enhancement of elementary and secondary education in all public schools, as well as approved nonpublic systems and schools.
“The 8(g) funds are an important resource in helping Louisiana schools and school systems engage students and boost academic achievement,” said Holly Boffy, BESE secretary-treasurer. “Many innovative learning programs benefitting students from pre-K to college and career prep have been made possible by state grant funding.”
Having approved a total 8(g) program budget amount of $24 million in October, with $10.2 million to be allocated to the 8(g) Block Grant Program, the Board today set the FY 2014-15 allocation amounts for the remaining program categories:
· Statewide Grant Program allocation of $10.2 million;
· Competitive Grant Program allocation of $1.7 million;
· Uncategorized/Special Projects allocation of $1 million.
8(g) Block Grant funds support the programs of public and nonpublic schools and systems that serve as catalysts for student academic or vocational-technical skill improvement. Statewide Grant Program funds support programs administered by state agencies, usually the Louisiana Department of Education, to provide goods, services, or flow-through dollars to school systems. Competitive Grant Program funding is awarded to innovative program proposals ranked highest by independent grant readers for improving student academic achievement or vocational-technical skill.
Funds from the Uncategorized/Special Projects category are to be used at the Board’s discretion to fund special projects that relate directly to the goals of the BESE Strategic Plan and priority areas, including early childhood education, college and career readiness, leadership development, and technology and innovation.
For additional information on 8(g) grant programs supporting elementary and secondary education, visit http://bese.louisiana.gov/8(g)-grants.
The Board also defined its priorities for the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session. Key areas of support include: early childhood education and kindergarten readiness; continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the ability for school districts to make decisions on curriculum and materials that support the standards; expanded opportunities for high school students to access career training; and autonomy for local school districts and leaders to efficiently respond to local needs. The complete list of BESE position statements is available on the BESE website.
In other Board action, guidelines were approved for an in-depth study of the value-added model component of Compass, the state’s educator support and evaluation system. The Accountability Commission will be directed to assess Louisiana’s accountability and evaluation systems to ensure greater alignment and consistency at all levels, consider the balance of student progress and achievement at each level, and improve the clarity and use of the value-added component. A third-party academic researcher will be commissioned to lead a study aligned to these objectives.
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