Otter signs K-12 budgets

While the 2015 Legislature was wrapping up its business late last week, Gov. Butch Otter signed the seven pieces of the K-12 budget into law.

Gov. Butch Otter

Otter signed the budgets Friday.

The budgets mirror the spending request Otter made 13 weeks ago — at the start of the 2015 legislative session that adjourned early Saturday morning. Spending for K-12 will increase by more than $101 million — a 7.4 percent increase that will push the general fund budget for K-12 to $1.48 billion.

The spending details differ a bit, but mirror the spending priorities that emerged over the course of the 2015 session:

  • The budget will fully fund the first year of the career ladder teacher salary law, with $33.5 million. Starting teacher pay will increase from $31,750 to $32,700, and the career ladder will also boost pay for veteran teachers.
  • Another $16.1 million will go into the second year of a leadership premium program designed to reward teachers who assume mentoring roles or take on hard-to-fill teaching positions.
  • Teacher professional development receives $13.2 million.
  • Administrators and classified staff receive a 3 percent pay raise.
  • The budget earmarks $6 million to pay for advanced college courses that students complete while still in high school.
  • An ongoing $5 million line item is dedicated to classroom technology.
  • The budget pits $2.1 million into school Wi-Fi.
  • The state slashes funding for the troubled Schoolnet statewide instructional management system, providing $985,000 in one-time funding to support schools that use Schoolnet. The state will provide $2.6 million to districts that purchase their own systems.

All seven public schools budgets passed the Senate on April 1 on identical 35-0 votes. A week ago, they passed the House with limited opposition. (Click on our Bill Tracker to see how your legislator voted on the budgets.)

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