Feb 28, 2014

Formula Follows All Task Force Recommendations

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Department of Education today released the proposed formula for the 2014-2015 Minimum Foundation Program (MFP).  Each year, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) must determine a minimum cost of educating public school students in Louisiana and develop a formula to distribute funding.  Recommended additions to this year’s proposed MFP formula include a 2.75 percent increase in funding statewide, additional state funds for career education courses, state funding for districts to provide early college and other coursework outside of high schools, and an increase in state funding for students whose disabilities require costly services. Each of these provisions results of the recommendations from the MFP Task Force, commissioned by BESE one year ago.

Over six months, the MFP Task Force gathered feedback from the public concerning the additions to the formula.  The MFP Task Force, comprised of legislators, school board members, superintendents, teachers, parents, and community and education organizations, was created to provide guidance on improving the formula to most equitably and effectively fund schools and students.

“The proposed formula addresses key funding issues while giving local education leaders the flexibility to make the best choices for their districts,” said Jay Guillot, MFP Task Force chairman and BESE member.  “The Task Force, with public input, was instrumental in the development of this proposal.  I am pleased we were able to achieve such broad support for these recommendations from so diverse a group.”

“This proposed MFP will serve to address the needs of our schools and districts, including special education and career education,” said State Superintendent John White.  “The formula for the 2014-2015 school year was carefully crafted after months of thoughtful consideration from education stakeholders and public comment.”

Highlights of critical elements in the proposed formula for the 2014-2015 school year include:

  • Statewide funding increase of 2.75 percent:The proposed increase of approximately $69 million in state funds comes with a recommendation that BESE not restrict use of the funds, to allow districts to best accommodate their diverse needs.
  • Career Education:To address the need for graduates with career skills in alignment with Louisiana’s economy, the formula proposed to double state funding for courses that allow students preparation for the most in-demand jobs, including careers in construction, energy, healthcare, transportation, and technology.
  • Special Education:The formula includes $4 million to fund the education of students on whose disabilities require significant costs.
  • Expanded Course Opportunities: The formula includes a Supplemental Course Allocation for every school district and charter school, allowing them to fund courses not typically provided by high schools to all eligible students. Such courses include career preparation in professional settings, early college courses, or remediation for students with specific learning needs.

A final MFP formula will be approved by BESE at the board’s March meeting and sent to the Louisiana Legislature by March 15, 2014.

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