MFP increase now with Legislature

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – On March 13 the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the Minimum Foundation Program formula for the 2014-15 school year, increasing the amount of state funds allocated to public schools.

Each year, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education must determine a minimum cost of educating public school students in Louisiana, known as the MFP, and develop a formula to distribute funding to public schools.

The approved MFP includes a 2.75 percent increase in funding statewide, and an increase in state funding for students whose disabilities require costly services. Each of these provisions

results from recommendations from the MFP Task Force, commissioned by BESE one year ago.

The new MFP also includes additional state funds for career education courses and state funding for districts to provide early college and other coursework outside of high schools, items that Sen. Gary Smith of Norco said were especially important for the Region Region area because it is so industry-heavy.

“The Minimum Foundation Program approved by BESE after nine months of public discussion provides public schools with more than $125 million of additional funding and acknowledges rising costs,” said Louisiana Superintendent John White. “It goes beyond that to provide students with opportunities to pursue career training and early college coursework. Finally, it accounts for the needs of students with the most significant disabilities.”

BESE also approved the inclusion of language to the MFP that would continue to provide an annual 2.75 percent increase in subsequent years, preserving the funding increase in the event the Legislature does not approve an MFP formula for a specific year. The Board added that for 2014-15 it would be in support of an additional increase beyond the 2.75 percent as long as the state maintains its current high academic standards and accountability measures.

“Louisiana has committed to improving standards in order to provide the best possible education for

its students,” said

Chas Roemer, BESE president. “To that

end, the Board would support the allocation

of additional school funding if tied to accountability and the successful implementation of the higher standards.”

The final resolution outlining the formula approved by BESE was sent to the Louisiana Legislature for consideration, and is schedule to be voted on April.