House Education Committee

November 1, 2022

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Rep Cozart: I don’t think they can hear me. All right, can you all hear me? We’re going to try to get started. I’m just getting everybody in their seats. Get everybody here. Again, good morning. Glad to have everyone here. We have a pretty short agenda today. I just got a couple of things. We need to tie some loose ends, and we’re here to do that. And so I think I’ve got one more that’s walking this way. I’ll let DeAnn get in her seat. There she is. And I think we’re ready to go, get back to our agenda. Mr. Vice Chair, you have everything to say?

 

Rep Evans: No sir.

 

Setting teacher pay target

Rep Cozart: All right, here we go. So we’re here to discuss the adjustments to the matrix recommendations. And so number one on our list today is to set a target salary for our teacher– set the average target salary that we did not do in October early when we were here, at $51,822 for purpose of distributing the enhanced teacher salary recommendation. So we need a motion to do that. I have a motion. Any discussion on the motion? If not, all in favor say aye. Any opposed? All right.

Partnership Funding Program

Rep Cozart: Our second one is a little more of what we really came to do is to talk about our partnership funding program. And you have four options that we sent out to you. And I’ll open the mic. Whoever wants to ask a question, talk about one, we’re kind of open on letting the committee talk about these and see what you want to do. Just punch in if you want to talk. Anybody. No, this would be a square foot footage for the facility. So I’ll just give you a little history. Right now, it’s set at 200. And so it’s the very first agenda– it’s exhibit D. It was just on the second page. But right now it’s at 200. So we know that cost– Brian and I have been checking costs across the state and probably the cheapest that I have found it is 272, 275-ish, and that’s in Hot Springs. And probably maybe down south it might be a hair cheaper, maybe not. Northwest Arkansas, way up. You can tell them what you heard.

 

Rep Evans: Yeah, building costs in Northwest of Arkansas are running upwards of $400 a square foot. And every contractor that we talked to, whether it was a general contractor specialized in school or whether it was an architect, said that every contract that they’re seeing is also building a 5 to 10 percent escalator into that over the next 12 to 18 months.

 

Rep Cozart: Representative Meeks.

 

Rep Meeks: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So if we did the 300 in this proposal, we’d be looking at a– so the new total would be, we’d be funding almost $300 million total into this fund. Am I reading that correctly? I want to make sure I’m reading that. So if we went to option 4, the increase, we would be– increase for the new total would be $289 million would be the total funding we would be providing. And then on that funding, it would use the current funding and grant models as far as setting priorities and so forth. Do we have any idea if we went with that one, which it sounds like that’s going to be maybe our only choice here given the inflation, what percentage of the total need does that help? Do we have any idea what the total need is or is that something we need to get from the department?

 

Rep Cozart: We’d have to ask Mr. Cane that. Tim, do you have some answers for us on that? You showed up, so you get to answer questions, right?

 

Rep Meeks: If the need was only $50 million, we wouldn’t have to do that. I suspect it’s a lot bigger.

 

Rep Cozart: Tim, if you’ll just state your name and who you with for the record, please?

 

Cane (Education): Yes, Mr. Chairman. Tim Cane, facilities and transportation.

 

Rep Cozart: Stephen, ask. Go ahead.

 

Rep Meeks: So my question is, what is the current anticipated need from this fund, or what is the current ask from this fund from school districts?

 

Cane (Education): Well, we’ve looked at the preliminary projections for 2023, 2025, and we don’t have all of our cost factors in yet. Those will be coming towards the end of the year. So a lot of it is going to depend on that, and that’s going to be the biggest adjustment we’ll need to make.

 

Rep Meeks: Right, but do you know what the current need is or have a ballpark figure what the current need is or ask?

 

Cane (Education): I can get that to you, but it will be an estimate at this point– projection.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay. At least for me, if the ask here is to increase this and double it to over $100 million or to $300 million, it would be good for us to know what the need is. Because if the need is only $100 million, then we don’t need to do this. Obviously, I suspect the need is much greater. And for us to make an informed decision, we need to know what the need is. If the need is, we only need to raise the $20 million, you kind of see what I’m getting at?

 

Cane (Education): Yes, sir.

 

Rep Meeks: So is there any way that we can get that number, what the need is?

 

Rep Cozart: Yes, Tim. You all have submitted a two-year plan already, haven’t you?

 

Cane (Education): Yes, sir. I believe it was in the spreadsheets that the Secretary Key sent you.

 

Rep Cozart: Okay. We don’t have that in front of us, so. Does anybody know what that is? I guess what my question is, do you all have a square footage price that you were planning for for the next two years? Have you all come up with that?

 

Cane (Education): We didn’t have one we were planning for. We looked at several different options.

 

Rep Cozart: Okay, so you’re waiting on us to set an option in for you, probably?

 

Cane (Education): Yes, sir.

 

Rep Cozart: There you go. So from what we understand and what we see, it doesn’t vary a lot across the state on the low end. So the low end being real close to $275 is going to be, and like I said, the contractor I talked to, $300 is going to be really quick coming up into 2023. So anyway, we’ll start– Lee, I believe, Representative Johnson. Well, I don’t have you on my screen. You’re in McKenzie’s seat. Okay, let’s start there.

 

Rep L Johnson: There we go. So the Educational Facilities Partnership Fund, it derives revenue from general revenue, right?

 

Cane (Education): Yes, sir.

 

Rep L Johnson: But it also derives revenue from the public school fund bond indebtedness.

 

Cane (Education): Bond indebtedness.

 

Rep L Johnson: Tell me about that. What’s that account? Do you know what the balance is in that account, or does anyone?

 

Cane (Education): I don’t know what the balance is. Greg would know that.

 

Rep L Johnson: My point is, if we’re going to put pressure on this fund, I’d like to know where the money is coming from. If it’s coming straight from general revenue, that’s one thing. But I’m curious about what that specific account is and what–

 

Rogers (Education): So you’re talking about the public school fund?

 

Rep L Johnson: Well, I mean, specifically what it references in the Adequacy report is not–

 

Rep Cozart: Greg, state your name and who you’re with.

 

Rogers (Education): Oh, sorry. Greg Rogers, Department of Education.

 

Rep L Johnson: Yeah. It actually calls it something different. And it may be the same thing, but it actually calls it the General Revenue and Public School Fund for Bond Debt Assistance program.

 

Rogers (Education): Correct. So there’s three programs that were in the public school fund. They were general facilities funding, bonded debt assistance, and supplemental funding. Those were created when the partnership fund first started to help those school districts that had those different funding debt close those out to continue going on with the partnership fund. So those are set. Those are closed. We have a timeline that we’re paying those off, and anything we do in the partnership fund won’t affect those three programs. In fact, they are paid off. I think bonded debt is $18 million, and that is transferred to a partnership fund every fiscal year.

 

Rep L Johnson: So there’s no unexpended balances–

 

Rogers (Education): Correct.

 

Rep L Johnson: –in the public school fund for bond debt assistance?

 

Rogers (Education): That program is paying off. There will be no increase in that.

 

Rep L Johnson: Okay. Or is there unfunded balances or– what would be the right word– unexpended balances in the public school fund?

 

Rogers (Education): The unexpended balances in public school fund? So I’m not sure I’m understanding your question.

 

Rep L Johnson: Well, I mean, again, I’m just referencing the document that was provided to us by BLR. It says that the Educational Facilities Partnership Fund gets funding sources from general revenue and unexpended balances of funds allocated in the public school fund.

 

Rogers (Education): Correct.

 

Rep L Johnson: So am asking if there are unexpended balances–

 

Rogers (Education): So that’s the bond and debt assistance in the general facilities funding. Those two programs, whatever, is not paid off to pay off those existing bonds before partnership started, that funding is transferred to the partnership fund at the end of the fiscal year. So that’s another funding stream besides general revenue that goes into the partnership program.

 

Rep L Johnson: Okay, so if we increase– and I’m not trying to be difficult, but if we increase funding to the partnership fund, is that increase going to put– the pressure from that increase going to be put specifically on general revenue?

 

Rogers (Education): Specifically general revenue.

 

Rep L Johnson: Okay, so there’s no other funding source that this increase would be–

 

Rogers (Education): Correct.

 

Rep L Johnson: It would just be general revenue.

 

Rogers (Education): Correct.

 

Rep L Johnson: Okay, that was the question I had. That’s all. Thank you.

 

Rogers (Education): And Representative Meeks, earlier, the total cost for the plans for 2023, 2025, the total state participation cost right now at $200 per square foot was $193 and change million dollars. So any increase that– so what she’s trying to say is any increase above that would be the total state participation cost in it.

 

Rep Cozart: Representative Vaught.

 

Rep Vaught: Okay, I still kind of want to piggyback off of Representative Meeks. How many schools are we talking about? I think that’s what– the number of schools that’s in construction right now that needs money to finish out a project.

 

Rogers (Education): So like Tim said, that’s a difficult question to ask because when the partnership plan was approved, it was approved at $200 per square foot with that state participation amount established in the needs list and in their wealth index list. If you change that for 2023, 2025, I can’t say how many would need the money and who doesn’t, because we have had some school districts who have either delayed starting the construction of the program due to cost or rescinded programs due to cost. So to say a list of who all needs the money right now is a really good and hard question, and we’d have to look at that.

 

Rep Vaught: How many projects do we have going on right now?

 

Cane (Education): For the next cycle, ma’am?

 

Rep Vaught: Is that the money that we’re talking about for the next cycle?

 

Cane (Education): Well, for the next cycle, approximately 79 right now. But again, like Greg said, that can change if there are projects rescinded.

 

Rep Cozart: Okay, you all have to remember that this does not affect the cycle we’re in right now. This is for the future that we’re setting this.

 

Rep Vaught: Yeah, I get that.

 

Rep Cozart: It goes into the 2024, 2025 cycle.

 

Rep Vaught: Are there schools though, that we’re going to have to help that they didn’t ask for enough money to finish the project?

 

Rep Cozart: That’s something we’ll have to take up during the session and try to do an appropriation. We do that. And I think if I understand right, and something in the paper today, they’re doing turnback– the ones that are turning their money back are going to be able to turn around and help those that maybe are. I don’t know. We’ll have to see. I’d have to sit down with Tim and Greg and Secretary Key to see exactly what we’re talking about on that. But I know we’ve had a call, I think everybody across the state has had a call from somebody that they need help with their funding because they don’t have enough to do what they want to do. So I think it’s an address need that we need to do it. We just can’t do it here. We can do it in the session for an appropriation or work with the department to do that in some form or fashion, so. But what we’re trying to do today is set an amount for the next funding cycles, which would be the 2024-2025 cycle. So it’s up to you all. Y’all make a recommendation, and we’ll vote on it.

 

Rep Vaught: To me, it’s just kind of hard to do, Mr. Chair, when we don’t know– there’s so many variables to understand.

 

Rep Cozart: Well, the real variable is that if you’re building a building, you can’t do it for $200 right now. So we don’t know who’s going to be building a building in 2024, but we know it’s at least going to cost more money. So whoever it is, they’re going to need money. The problem I think we’ve had is we just don’t have enough for the amount of people that are applying for each cycle. And there’s some other legislation we need to change on the rolling off of that cycle and then going to the very tail end. So we know we need to go back to the old formula that used to be that way. So it’s hard to say, but we have to just come up with a number that we can think that the schools can be able to do the things they need to do. Now, Northwest Arkansas, the buildings they build is a lot different than we build down here. Some of those are– but they do a lot of partnership. They have a lot of millage that they use along with what they get. So we just have to figure it out. It is a hard question. That’s why I said I’m leaving it up to y’all.

 

Rep Meeks: Yeah, I’m back. So based upon what I’m hearing, my question is this. If we approve this $300 million, is all of it going to be spent because the need is going to be at least $300 million plus, or is it possible that a lot of this is going to be turned back to us because that’s beyond what the need is? Does that question make sense? Are we fairly confident we’re going to need at least $300 million to fill this need?

 

Cane (Education): Representative, I believe the answer to your question is the $300 of need will help meet– that cap of $300, will help those projects that are your big space projects. But like Greg said earlier, it’s just hard to tell where you’re going to be when you have projects that can be rescinded. Because, for example, if the voters don’t approve the millage, so there are so many factors there that go into that.

 

Rep Meeks: So we may not need the $300 million. I’m not talking about the square footage. I’m not talking about the total dollar amounts, the $300 million– the square footage, we’ll set that aside. I’m looking at the total cost to the Arkansas taxpayers right now is going to be close to $300 million. Is that $300 million– are we confident that we need $300 million-plus or could we get away with only– is it possible we won’t need $300 million? And if we don’t need the $300 million, what happens? Say we only need $200 million, what happens to that $100 million difference?

 

Rogers (Education): So excellent questions. So when you’re looking at the partnership program projects, they start putting in those project need requests. And now November is our first review for the facilities division to start looking at those projects. Once they go through that, then they develop the needs list. They develop the warm, safe, dry list. They look at the wealth index participation by the school districts. So we have a list of school districts that we know what they need, what they put in there. Then once we put the wealth index on it, then we know how much is going to be the state share of that until Tim’s teams had a time for the 2023-2025 process to go– no, yeah– 2025-2027 process to go through them. I can’t say that that would not cover on it. All we know is that now at the $200 we funded 79 projects– I just came back and got them– at the $193 million because that’s what the state has established as the state participation right now. Obviously, if y’all elect to increase that state participation, the cost to the state will go up. Will it meet the needs of those 25-27 projects? I mean, I would say yes, but are we going to have any leftover? Probably. This is really hard to know until we go through that review and know how many projects and what kind of projects are out there.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay. And if there was any leftover, that would be turned back to state general revenue, is that how that would work, or what would–?

 

Rogers (Education): So partnership fund has carry forward authority. So once those funds were allocated to the partnership fund, they would stay there to be used for future projects.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay. All right. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

 

Rep Cozart: It just rolls over. All right. Representative Beck.

 

Inflation and costs

Rep Beck: Thank you. Mr. Chair. Over here. So I’m having a little bit of trouble here because it seems like we’re saying, okay, we don’t really know how big this thing is. We know that probably cost are going to go higher in 2024, 2025. But I would somewhat challenge that to say hopefully we’ll get this supply chain straightened out maybe in 2024 and prices will go back down to where they were, a little bit lower. So my question is, when we do this, it’s a pretty substantial increase. And we’re saying– I’m for increasing the funds if they’re needed. I truly am. But it doesn’t seem like we know what we need. And then you’re saying, well, but once you give them to us, they’re not coming back, they’re going to be projected forward. So I have some concerns with that. How would you address that?

 

Cane (Education): Yeah, the inflation rate– and Representative Beck, I appreciate your question. When we look at cost, I’m hearing some of the same numbers that the Chair and Vice Chair shared. I know at this time last year– at the end of last year, it had showed that it went up anywhere from 15 to 30 percent, and it’s continued to climb. So to answer your question best, I would say that although we don’t know exactly what the need is right now, we’re projecting. But the decision before y’all today is decide how much you’re going to fund per square foot. So, for example, right now it’s at $200 a square foot. And the school districts have to absorb the rest of that cost. The local district does. So depending on how much y’all approve, the districts will have to fund the rest of that. So if the cost average appears to be, statewide, $300 or north of $300 dollars a square foot, then that should meet projected need at this time. But it’s just so hard to tell. I will say this, that every dollar we get, we’ll use efficiently and effectively to help districts and their construction.

 

Rep Beck: All right. So follow up, please. All right, so it seems to me like a good place to start would have been then– I’m sure there are national agencies out there that are saying this is kind of where we’re at now, and this is what we think will happen. Have we done any of that? The thing is, what is driving the $300,000, so– excuse me, the $300 per square foot? So the question is this, all right, are we saying that– and I’m just going to throw some numbers out here for some discussion. So we’re going to increase it, let’s say $50 per square foot. Is the calculation that we’re looking at saying that, “Okay, the cost of increased construction is going to be $50 per square foot,” so you guys speaking to the legislators– you guys are saying we need to throw in that extra $50 a square foot and then we’re going to make everybody right again? Or is it a case where the cost is going to increase X percentage and we’re splitting that somehow or– I don’t know where inflation’s going to go. I certainly hope the inflation rate drops now, considering where it’s at. I’m really concerned about throwing money out there because what’s going to happen is contractors, pretty much we’ll use all this $300 per square foot. There’s no doubt about that. But in whatever increase we put– and in my example, $50 per square foot– will immediately be absorbed. So I have some concern about that. Unless we have some data that says that this is really what nationally we’re saying, this is what we think will happen, and then I’d feel a lot more comfortable using those numbers, and also maybe a little bit more. And I understand that you guys can’t determine exactly how many projects would go forward if we did this, but at least the numbers, what other states are doing as far as this, because apparently other states must have the same situation that we have.

 

Cane (Education): Yes, Representative Beck, I would say the last national data I’ve seen from the contractors’ group was they had estimated between 15 and 30 percent of an increase in inflation from the previous year. And that came out, I believe, back in March. So it was between 15 and 30. It was closer to 30%. The 30% number at the time when we were talking with districts and hearing from districts and had a lot of discussions with them, it was close to 30% increase at that time. And I think one of the options ya’ll have been talking about more today is the $300 a square foot, and that’s talking about the increase it would be if you raise the cap from $200. So basically the latest data I’ve seen is that it’s around that 30%. And I’ve had conversations with districts all over this state in the last year, and that’s about right, average. Obviously, it fluctuates around the state, the cost.

 

Rep Beck: So the national contractors– because I’m glad you brought that forward. But you’re saying the national contractors’ organizations are saying that building cost is going to go up 15% annually?

 

Cane (Education): No, sir, they had said that it went up between 15 and 30 percent in the previous year. So as of December 2021, going back to the December 2020, in that one year, they had seen an increase between 15 and 30 percent. And at that time, I was talking with districts, and that was some of the same figures I was seeing in the spring was around 30%. And that’s why you were given several options to look at.

 

Rep Beck: So we’re looking at 30% here, and the projections are, we went up 15%. But there’s no projections– they didn’t make any projections for the future or they just said, “This is what it was,” type of deal?

 

Cane (Education): Yes, sir, they were looking back.

 

Rep Beck: I think we’re in a mode of hyperinflation right now, and hopefully, that will calm down, but–

 

Cane (Education): We do have cost factors. We will get those in December, and we have those actual cost factors that we pay a vendor to get, and we will get those, and those will be for every region of the state. All 12 regions with different size and classifications of schools. And that’s what we use for our cost factors. Yes, sir.

 

Rep Cozart: All right. So I have a question. We’ve been up here brainstorming a little bit, but. So this really has no effect on how many schools you let build a building because that’s just how much per square foot it is. What is the number of money that we set aside for facilities to build with every year?

 

Rogers (Education): General revenue is $90 million, and then we transfer $20 million from public school fund.

 

Rep Cozart: Okay, so $110 million. And that won’t change?

 

Rogers (Education): No.

 

Rep Cozart: Okay. All this would do is just allow more building on a building to do. So actually, all we’re doing is changing the number for the school, but we’re not changing the number of schools that can build– or number of buildings that can be built.

 

Rogers (Education): Yes. Unless there was a change in the RSA and change in funding, there wouldn’t be an increase in the funding for it unless that’s something that General Assembly elected to do based on the increasing square footage amount.

 

Rep Cozart: Okay, so does everybody understand that? We do not change the amount that they’re going to spend on school projects? It’s just the amount that the school would be able to apply for more square footage price-wise. We still may have a partnership for part of it or not, so. Okay, I’m going to move on to the next one. Representative McKenzie’s stand-in.

 

Rep L Johnson: That’s me.

 

Rep Cozart: Representative Johnson.

 

Purpose of the program

Rep L Johnson: And I’m still trying to make sure I understand the program so that I understand what we’re talking about. The Academic Facilities Partnership Program is a program designed to subsidize school districts to the state’s portion of the funding for facilities that are being built, and that portion is decided based upon the Academic Facilities Wealth Index, which is a calculation designed to offset the district’s ability to raise its own money.

 

Cane (Education): Yes, sir.

 

Rep L Johnson: And so, this is a long question, but I’ll get there. So regardless of what it costs in the district to build– so let’s say in Northwest Arkansas, it costs $450 per square foot. After we do the calculations, our contribution may be 0 for a particular school district, because that school district can raise enough money to build the building on its own.

 

Rogers (Education): There is a minimum calculation per square foot. I don’t know what that is. And also, I’m going to go way deeper than I’m stepping off, but it depends on the type of project, too, because there’s a different wealth index– I mean, a different cost analysis for each project, if you’re just replacing fire alarms as opposed to building a total new school.

 

Rep L Johnson: But conceptually, whether a project in a particular part of Arkansas costs more or less per square foot to build, that really is factored out through–

 

Rogers (Education): We try to, yes.

 

Rep L Johnson: There’s an attempt to factor that out through the wealth index.

 

Rogers (Education): That’s what the programs intend to do, correct.

 

Rep L Johnson: Right. Whatever we set this at– this is a totally different question– whatever we set this at, I’m assuming that’s not set in stone. I mean, I’m assuming that if we set this today at $300 a square foot and we get into fiscal year 2024-2025 and we’re as a state in fiscal distress, we’ve got an opportunity to pull this back. This is not a once and forever decision. I’m good, then, with whatever the committee proposes.

 

Rogers (Education): I would– up to you put it into legislation or change the recommendation because then we need to know what we’re going to be telling schools they can apply for. So we don’t need to– and none of these are our recommendations. That’s just with the cost of what we have accounted. But if you go out and say, “We’re going to do that,” then try to pull it back, it would make it harder on the districts who already plan on trying to do partnership programs, trying to analyze to figure out how much cost they need.

 

Rep Cozart: Representative Meeks.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay, so I want to make sure I’m getting my head wrapped around this. So we set– so in this case, $289 million if we go with this fourth option. $289 million is what the state is going to put in. Y’all then say to the school district, “Based upon this formula, we can help provide up to $300 per square foot on the cost of whatever that is.” And then fund accordingly. So we’re not necessarily– this body, is there some sort of law or some sort of policy decision that we have to make that sets that $300 threshold? So in other words, we could keep the funding the same and move the threshold up to $300 a square foot. We’re just going to be helping fewer people. So do we set that $300 per square foot threshold? Because there’s not a formula that says– or there’s nothing in the law that says as a state we’re going to help fund 10,000 square feet. So 10,000 square feet, we’re going to move this up to 300. So we need X amount of dollars. We actually have two different numbers we’re working with here, if I’m understanding correctly. We’re setting a total amount and then we’re setting a square foot amount that we’re going to allow the schools. Are those two separate numbers that we’re doing?

 

Rogers (Education): They are two separate numbers.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay.

 

Rogers (Education): The cost of the project is– like this, looking at Northwest Arkansas, $400. But they probably wouldn’t get the $300 based off the wealth index. So you do have two different numbers you’re looking at.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay. And so do we set that $300?

 

Rogers (Education): Yes.

 

Rep Meeks: So we set that maximum number. So we could set the $300 and leave the funding flat if we wanted to?

 

Rogers (Education): If that’s the will of the General Assembly, yes, sir.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay. So I just want to make sure everyone understands what we’re doing here. So it’s not one affecting the other. We got two independent numbers. In reality, we have two decisions we need to make here, not just one. We need to set a total funding amount, and we need to set a square footage amount.

 

Rogers (Education): The total funding amount, you wouldn’t be able to set because that’s going to depend on local factors, what they’re doing, that area. What the General Assembly has the ability to set is how much the state participation in that project is going to be and how much general revenue funding you’re going to associate with that cost, that $300 per square.

 

Rep Cozart: Today we’re just setting the square footage.

 

Rep Meeks: We’re just setting the square footage cost. But later we’ll set the actual dollar numbers to go with that square footage.

 

Rogers (Education): Yes. If I’m understanding you correctly. So if your recommendation is to increase it to $225, $250, whatever y’all decide on that, then when we go through the budget process, go through ALC and y’all will have our budget on the 9th. The appropriation and the funding will be reviewed in Budget at that time. So if you wanted to increase both of them, you could. If you want to increase the state participation to $225, $250, whatever that is, and then leave the funding in ALC the same, then you could. That is something the General Assembly can do, if I’m understanding if that’s what you’re asking?

 

Rep Meeks: Right. Yeah, and that’s kind of the question I’m getting at. The two are not tied to each other. So it’s not like we increase it to $300–

 

Rogers (Education): Correct.

 

Rep Meeks: –we’ve got a multiplier, and suddenly we get X amount of number out here. It’s just, we’re setting the $300 recommendation, and then the Budget committee will decide how much they want to fund–

 

Rogers (Education): Partnership.

 

Rep Meeks: –how much they want to go in the partnership to fund that $300, say if we go $300 per square foot.

 

Rogers (Education): Correct.

 

Rep Meeks: Okay, so I just want to make sure everyone’s got a handle on what’s going on here.

 

Rep Cozart: Representative Vaught.

 

Rep Vaught: Mr. Chair, I’d like to make a motion.

 

Rep Cozart: Let’s hear your motion.

 

Setting square foot costs to $275

Rep Vaught: I would like for us to move the square footage from $200 to $275, which would make it an option five.

 

Rep Cozart: Option five. I think I asked for that, we just didn’t get it. But that’s all right. I probably have it somewhere. It’s all right. We could figure the number out on that. Okay, so there’s been a motion made to make that $275 instead of $300 or $250, kind of move into the middle of that. Are there any questions on the motion? I know you have a question, but you already talked, so any questions on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. Any opposed, no. All right.

Employee benefits contributions

Rep Cozart: The next item, we’re going to set the rate for the contribution of the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education to EBD for public schools employee health insurance at $147,254,000 in FY 2024 and $152,702,398 in FY 2025 to reflect the Segal recommendations of adjusting by the medical CPI. That is to move the contribution rate for the schools. Any questions before we go any further? If not, I need a motion. I have a motion. Any discussion on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. Any opposed? Seeing none, the last thing on the agenda that I have is set the rate of contribution for the school district participating employee EBD for public schools employee health insurance at $3,667. So that’s $3,667 for FY 2024 and $3,802 for FY 2025, reflecting the Segal recommendations of medical CPI. Any questions? Motion? I have a motion. Any questions on the motion? Seeing none, all in favor say aye. Any opposed? That is all I have today. Anything else? Megan, we’ll recognize you. Yes, ma’am.

 

Rep Godfrey: Thank you. Mr. Chair. Just kind of procedurally, I know that this is just the House Committee. Is the Senate planning on meeting to do these same recommendations or are these just going to be in the House?

 

Rep Cozart: They put their recommendations out and we did ours, so yeah.

 

Rep Godfrey: Okay, thank you.

 

Rep Cozart: Thank you. All right, seeing no more questions. Thank you all for coming. We are adjourned.