The final recommendations of the Conference Committee on HB 278 are:
· Testing out of courses for high school students.
· Repeal HSGQE; require ACT, SAT, or WorkKeys; allow students denied a diploma because of failure to pass the HSGQE to apply to the school to receive a diploma if they’ve met the other graduation requirements.
· $5 million in funding to bring schools up to 10 megabits per second (the estimated full cost to bring schools up to 10 megabits per second is $7.3 million)
· Denied the One-to-One Digital Initiative and Innovative Approaches to Learning grants.
· Allow funds to roll over year-to-year for correspondence student allotments, but funding lapses to school district when the student leaves the program.
· Kept 70/30 bond debt reimbursement program, but dropped the 60/40 bond debt reimbursement program to 50/50.
· Increased boarding school stipends to cover full cost (what was originally in the governor’s proposed version).
· Denied the mill rate increase for required local contributions for basic need, holding that to the current rate of 2.65 mills.
· Increased the factor for correspondence students from 0.8 to 0.9.
· Accepted the governor’s proposal for increased funding for the first three years of operation of new charter schools.
· Adopted a BSA increase of $150 for FY15, $50 for FY16, and $50 for FY17.
· Adopted the house language for the Dept. of Administration to do a salary and benefits study, and added tenure issues to that study. The Dept. of Administration will make a report to the legislature recommending best practices.
· Grants outside the BSA will be $42.9 million for FY15, $32 million for FY16, and $19 million for FY17; grants outside the BSA will decrease in consecutive fiscal years to balance increasing funding inside the BSA over those same years.
· There will be one study to look at all education funding factors, instead of two studies looking just at the geographic cost factor and the school size factor.
· DEED will do a study on school design and construction and look into prototypical school design.
· Accepted funding for the middle school STEM pilot program, with a required report on the performance of the pilot program.
· Did not adopt the house’s changes to tenure, but that issue will be studied so the legislature has information for future decisions on tenure.