July 2, 2015 Legislative Update

In This Issue…

  1. Temporary Budget is Law
  2. Lawmakers on Recess July 3-13

Temporary Budget is Law

The General Assembly made quick work on June 29 and 30 of approving S534, Continuing Budget Authority, which Gov. McCroy signed into law on June 30.  

The bill is a streamlined measure that enables the functions of state government to continue while lawmakers work on a full two year budget. The bill expires at 11:59 PM on August 14 and basically extends last year’s spending levels until then, but for a few exceptions of interest to educators.

  • Salaries and benefits remain at last year’s levels, except for teachers at the beginning of the pay schedule, years 0-5, who will be moved from $33,000 a year to $35,000 per year. All other salary steps remain the same as last year’s, until a final budget agreement is reached.
  • Educators will not move up on the salary schedule.
  • Salary related contributions, such as retirement and health benefits, will remain as they were in last year’s budget.
  • ADM – Average Daily Membership – is fully funded for the 2015-2016 school year with $100,234,542 appropriated for that purpose.
  • LEAs are directed to use available funds for drivers’ education courses, but are also authorized to charge fees of up to $65 per student for the courses.

NOTE: The final position on salaries and benefits will happen as a result of action on the biennial budget – H97. Until then, nothing is certain – other than the starting teachers’ salaries.

Following approval of the temporary budget, House lawmakers continued reviewing the Senate’s budget rewrite in public, including identifying items that were agreed to in both versions. One of the few points of agreement is funding for Average Daily Membership, which has now been resolved for the 2015-2016 school year via the temporary budget. There are very few points of agreement in the budget provisions that address education matters – including teachers’ salaries.

Lawmakers on Recess July 3-13

The House and Senate leadership indicated in May that a summer recess would be taken around the 4th of July. Keeping to that pledge, an adjournment resolution, SJR 717, was adopted to allow lawmakers and staff to take a recess from July 3 -13.

What do you think?

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Contact us at penc@pencweb.org.

Submitted by Evelyn Hawthorne

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For information about specific issues, please contact PENC government relations consultant Evelyn Hawthorne at lobbyist@pencweb.org.