By DeAnn Vaught

There a few updates this week from the Capitol.  Budget as hearings continue. A new revenue report was released.  We have new recommendations for funding education. And there are several important dates ahead leading to the next legislative session.

The latest General Revenue Report shows October revenue at $435.4 million.  That is 5 percent more than October 2017 and 5.9 percent above forecast.

Four months into the fiscal year, net available general revenue is now $114.6 million above year ago levels.

This week, the Education Committee presented the Speaker with recommendations for funding education in the next two fiscal years.

The committee spends more than a year reviewing every component of public education to determine what areas need increased funding.  This is referred to as the Educational Adequacy Study.

Currently, the state provides schools with $6,781 per student for the school year. The recommendation from the committee is to increase that to $6,880 per student next year.  The recommendation for Fiscal Year 2021 is $6,985 per student.

Included in report is a recommendation to increase the minimum teacher salary by $1,000 each year. 

This will bring the minimum salary for teachers with a BA to $33,800 and for teachers with an MA to $38,450 by Fiscal Year 2021.

There are several important dates ahead.  On the Friday after the election, Nov. 9, the newly elected and returning members will convene for a House Caucus.

The newly elected members will draw for seniority positions. Then all members, in order of their seniority, will chose their seat in the chamber for the duration of the 92nd General Assembly.  

Budget hearings began Oct. 16 and will continue through mid-November.  The Governor’s balanced budget proposal will be presented to members on November 14.

From Dec. 3-6, members will return to the chamber for the Legislative Institute.  This is a four day behind the scenes look at the law making process designed primarily for freshman members.

Members can begin filing bills on Nov. 15. The 2019 Regular Session begins January 14.

Be sure to check our website www.arkansashouse.orgfor updates after the election.

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