Lawmakers to meet on Monday to finalize details of budget, including vouchers and school funding

A small group of lawmakers will meet on Monday, June 14, to work out the final details of House Bill (HB) 2, the state budget’s “trailer bill,” which includes sweeping policy proposals like the statewide voucher bill, school funding provisions, the “divisive concepts” bill, and more. The committee of conference is small, but mighty: Its eight members can have a significant influence over the final version of the bill. 

The committee of conference is scheduled to meet on Monday, June 14, at 11 am. The public can listen in via Zoom:

It’s also the last chance for the public to weigh in on the bill. After it leaves the committee of conference, it will head to both chambers for a final vote. 

One of the most contentious parts of the budget has been the inclusion of the statewide voucher bill (SB 130), which would allow taxpayer funds to pay for private and homeschooling expenses through “Education Freedom Accounts,” or vouchers. It has been overwhelmingly opposed by the public in hearings, polling, and in the news due to concerns over the absence of accountability or transparency provisions, the cost to the state and to local school districts, and objections over using public tax dollars to fund private education. 

There are also significant concerns over the technical aspects of the bill (Sb 130). In 2018, lawmakers met more than 13 times to iron out the technicalities of a similar bill, but ultimately decided that the bill wasn’t ready for prime time. This version of the bill, SB 130, has evaded the same kind of scrutiny and has had zero sessions to iron out those technicalities. 

The budget also includes a $35 million “relief fund” and provisions to maintain funding for public schools as they face a 4% drop in student enrollment this year, largely due to the pandemic and widely expected to be temporary. Despite these changes, the state’s public schools are still facing a $25 million drop in state funding next year, which will disproportionately affect towns with lower property tax bases (“property-poor” school districts). 

Members welcome public input via phone and/or email: 

House Members: