Education budget cuts could spell danger

The state is working with less money. That could mean important programs will not be getting the money they want. That’s because the state will not collect as much taxes as it thought it would. Tax revenue was expected to grow by 5.5 percent but instead it only grew by 3 percent.

Lawmakers say that equates to $155 million less to spend this year.

The governor’s office just put out its recommendations for what programs could be getting less money.

One of the departments that could be seeing less money in the next two fiscal years is the Department of Education. The department originally requested an increase of over $80 million in it’s budget with the governor’s office trimming that to just over $40 million.

The bottom line is because tax revenue projections are down, state departments won’t be getting all the money they asked for. The question now is just where the cuts will be made?

With an operating budget of just under $2 billion each year, the Department of Education has to juggle where and how money is spent.

One of the ways they do that is by something called the weighted student formula which is how money is distributed across all schools. This is just one of the areas that could be taking a hit.

“The decrease in the weighted student formula a lot of the schools are going to be concerned with that going from the $28 million request that was with made to the legislature and bring it down to $10 million,” said Ways and Means committee chair Sen. Jill Tokuda.

The governor is proposing to cut $18 million from his original increase to the weighted student formula. Along with the money that would be distributed to schools, the governor’s proposal would cut $1 million from new facilities, and close to $3 million from charter schools.

But Tokuda says because both the senate and house have to weigh in with their budgets, nothing is set in stone.

“And as I mentioned while these other cuts that the governor has proposed house is first up with their draft of the budget the Senate produces their draft of the budget and each will be taking a look at what the governor has proposed,” Tokuda explained.

The governor’s proposal includes cuts from other departments as well.

via Less money for the state means tough decisions for education | KHON2

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