The Vermont House has given an initial OK to a provision that would pay the cost of any new unfunded education mandates out of the state’s General Fund.
Reps. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, and Kurt Wright, R-Burlington, proposed the amendment to the teachers’ retirement health care plan Wednesday.
The provision requires the Joint Fiscal Office to assess the cost of mandates from the Vermont Legislature to local school districts for the coming year. An unfunded education mandate is defined as a state statute or regulation “that requires a supervisory union or school district to perform certain actions” with no financial support for the requirement.
Komline cited several examples, including a bill requiring that schools provide training to coaches, parents and students about sports concussions and individual education plans.
The information is to be presented to the Joint Fiscal Committee at its July meeting, which consists of 10 members from the House and Senate, who are charged with reviewing and approving the amount.
The committee then must add the cost to the General Fund transfer to the Education Fund. Last year, the General Fund transfer was $288 million; this year the total will be $296 million. The Education Fund represents about $1.5 billion in spending on local k-12 schools and several state education programs, such as adult basic education.
The provision excludes the unfunded mandate associated with the $28 million teachers’ retirement health care package, which is the underlying bill for the amendment. H.673, the teacher retiree health care bill, requires local school districts to pay $1,072 for each new teacher hire.