|Education Superintendent John White|
The K-12 budget for the current year is $55 million short, according to what Education Superintendent John White told an impatient House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro. The gap comes from a $35 million increase in enrollment growth and a $20 million “cash flow issue” which he did not explain. The Legislature will have to fill the hole in the spending plan that runs through June 30. Pressed by the chairman, For the coming fiscal year, White estimated that the department will need $50 million more than what the governor has requested in the budget under consideration.
Basic and secondary education uses 40 percent of state general fund, or $3.4 billion, mostly in the Minimum Foundation Program that is distributed to local school districts. With state, local and federal sources combined,Louisiana spends over 15 percent more per student than the Southern average, according to budget documents.
White also told the committee that in the coming year, the Recovery School District, created in 2004-05 to administer under-performing schools, will get out of the business of directly running schools when it turns the last of them over to non-profit charter school boards.