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$3.7 billion financing formula adopted for public schools

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s public schools will divvy up $3.7 billion to pay for operations next year.

House lawmakers voted 90-0 Thursday to give final passage to the financing formula for K-12 public schools. The Senate earlier had agreed to the spending plan with a unanimous vote.

The formula, submitted by the state education board, will pay for more than 700,000 students in the 2018-19 school year. It contains no inflationary increases, but will grow slightly to account for an expected increase of nearly 2,800 students. The amount paid per student will remain frozen at the current rate of $3,961.

Republican Rep. Nancy Landry, chair of the House Education Committee, described it to her colleagues as “a standstill budget, same as last year.”

Education leaders sought more money to boost teacher pay and cover rising school district expenses. But the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education didn’t think such increases could win legislative backing amid ongoing state budget gaps.

Lawmakers can only approve or reject the K-12 school financing formula – known as the Minimum Foundation Program – that the education board sends them. They cannot change it.

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Senate Concurrent Resolution 48: www.legis.la.gov

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