A brief rundown of the 83rd legislative session
Date Posted: 5/28/2013 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE
Although the 83rd legislative session officially came to a close yesterday, legislators didn’t get a true Memorial Day vacation, as a special session on redistricting was called for before the day was out. We’ll continue to monitor and post on the happenings of the special session, but for now, here’s a look at how some of the big items ended up at the end of the regular session. Senate Bill (SB) 1 and other budget bills
- Overall appropriation of $3.93 billion to public education.
- Restores $3.4 billion in school district formula funding (about $230 per student in the first year of the next biennium and $300 in the second year).
- Restores about $200 million to various programs, including pre-K and the Student Success initiative, but leaves all grant program underfunded.
- Adds a new $330 million funding stream to districts to cover the new 1.5 percent districts must contribute to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS).
- Expands charter school cap to allow for 15 new charters each year until 2019, ending at a total cap of 305.
- Exempts dropout recovery, special education and home-rule district charters from the cap.
- Allows districts to place up to 15 percent of students and/or one full feeder pattern into district-run charter schools. These campuses/districts are exempt from many state quality standards such as class size limits, teacher certification, disciplinary laws, teacher contracts, etc., unless the school board votes to maintain these standards.
- Moves most charter regulation from the State Board of Education to the commissioner of education (who heads the Teacher Education Agency (TEA)).
- Secures the defined benefit pension system into the future.
- Provides around two-thirds of retirees who retired in 2004 or before with a 3 percent COLA, capped at $100 per month.
- Restricts age 62 requirement for full benefits to those with less than five years of service credit after Aug. 31, 2014.
- Requires retirees to be age 62 to receive access to top tiers of TRS-Care insurance; exempts anyone with 25 years of service or who meets the rule of 70 by Aug. 31, 2014.
- Increases the state contribution of 6.8 percent.
- Creates a new district contribution of 1.5 percent.
- Increases the active-member contribution to 7.7 percent by 2017.
- Ties future decreases in state contribution to proportional decreases in district and active-member contribution.
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