With one day left in the current 2015 fiscal year, state lawmakers reached a stop-gap spending deal today that would avoid a shutdown and keep state programs and services operating until August 14. The House approved the deal—known formally as a Continuing Resolution—tonight, with the Senate poised to follow suit tomorrow morning. The deal is required because the state House and Senate leadership will not be able to iron out the differences between their respective budgets by time the new fiscal year begins on Wednesday, July 1.
State legislative leadership opted for a 45-day continuing resolution to fund state government. It would fund current programs and services at existing levels, with three major exceptions that are listed below.
- Budget cuts to programs, services, and vacant positions would not receive funding under the temporary deal if the House and Senate included identical cuts (i.e. items that are not in controversy). Filled positions that are cut and not in controversy would receive a 30-day notice before termination. It is unclear how many positions would be cut under the temporary deal.
- Public schools would receive additional money to cover the costs of student enrollment growth. There is no additional money for Teacher Assistants, driver’s education, or reduced classroom sizes—which are major points of contention between the House and Senate approved budgets. As such, local school districts are left waiting for a complete budget picture for the upcoming school year.
- Beginning teachers would receive another boost in pay, to $35,000 from $33,000. But the deal freezes pay for the remaining teachers and all state employees. Raises will be negotiated upon going forward.