Gov Wolf will let 15-16 budget become law
Governor Wolf announced that he would allow the 15-16 budget bill that is currently sitting on this desk (sent to him by the legislature last week) become law. While he will not sign the bill, he will allow it to go into effect without his signature, which will occur on Sunday, March 27.This means that the $3 billion in BEF currently being held by the state will flow out to school districts, along with an additional $50 million in BEF that was included in last week's budget.
While the governor is allowing the budget bill to become law, he indicated that he will veto the accompanying fiscal code bill (HB 1327) in its entirety. This bill contained the legislature's instructions for the distribution of the BEF dollars--which instructed that districts receive the same amount they received in 14-15 and then the additional $150 million in BEF be distributed via the new basic education funding formula.The bill also contained instructions that redid the governor's distribution of the $50 million increase in the Ready to Learn Block Grant that was approved in December.
Additionally, the fiscal code bill contained the PlanCon borrowing authorization, the PlanCon Advisory Committee, the PlanCon moratorium and other PlanCon reforms.
What does this mean for districts?
This means that BEF dollars will flow to districts ASAP, relieving districts from the financial chaos they are now facing. What we are not sure about yet is HOW the BEF dollars will be distributed to school districts in the absence of an approved fiscal code bill. While it is likely that districts will receive the same BEF funding they received in 14-15, how the additional $150 million in BEF will be distributed is uncertain (whether is it through the new BEF formula or some other formula developed by the governor's office), so stay tuned for more information as soon as we get it.
This also means that there is no short-term resolution for districts waiting for 15-16 PlanCon reimbursement. Without the approval of the fiscal code language, the borrowing cannot occur and there is no money to send out to districts.
Stay tuned for more info!
Read PASBO's Response to Governor Wolf's Announcement