The K-12 Budget Committee voted the school finance bill, House sub HB 2410, out of committee last Monday following three intense weeks of work since returning for the Veto Session.
For the past 18 months, I worked in partnership with education stakeholders and key leaders in the Senate on the draft of HB 2270 which I introduced in the House K-12 Budget Committee in February. Our bill reflected the framework outlined by the education stakeholders to guide the process of drafting a new formula. From the outside looking in, I know it appears the legislature has procrastinated when it comes to creating a new formula, but the truth is that much work has been done these past two years to build consensus among the diverse group of school districts statewide. Their support has been a crucial part of our work this session – to have districts large and small, urban, rural and suburban, those with wealth and those without, coalesce around a new formula has helped my fellow lawmakers come together.
The bill is not perfect, but Chairman Campbell deserves a great deal of credit for his inclusiveness, commitment to fully vetting all ideas brought to the table and the openness with which the committee has operated. We have had vigorous, at times contentious, debate but never was any point of view shut out without discussion. The chairman repeatedly reminded us that the work we were engaged in would create the record the court requires when they review our formula. He invited us to bring evidence to support our ideas and made sure we had all the time necessary to get things done right.