March 27 update: The legislature’s inaction on school funding is causing havoc as schools try to set their budgets. Read this story about Missoula schools: Legislation Gridlock Could Force Teacher Layoffs
March 23 – the Senate killed on 3d reading SB 403 (Jones) – the latest oil and gas/k-12 school funding bill.
There may be an attempt to revive this bill March 24 in the Senate, but that attempt will likely fail. SB 403 doesn’t enjoy enough support among the partisans to pass the legislature and capture the governor’s signature.
In addition to its complex and controversial method of sharing oil and gas revenues with schools statewide, SB 403 creates an expensive new program “Pathway to Excellence” that could use more work. Plus the dollars committed to “Pathway” would be far better spent on increases in per pupil and per district entitlements, or the quality educator payment, or health and human services.
Having already killed the governor’s school funding bill, the legislature is now without a school funding bill.
The Senate vote to kill SB 403 does NOT mean school funding is dead for this session or special session to come. This legislature will not adjourn for the biennium without funding k-12 at levels close to what the governor has proposed.