Bill Description: Senate Bill 1153 would create state-funded teacher spending accounts, which would give teachers funding they could use for a variety of classroom expenses, including instructional supplies, technological goods or services, organizational products, and professional development courses.
NOTE: The Senate amendment to Senate Bill 1153 does not change our rating or analysis of the bill.
Does the bill finance education based on the student rather than the institution? (+) Conversely, does the bill finance education based on an institution or system? (-)
Senate Bill 1153 would increase spending in the existing public education system. The bill text states that funding for the teacher spending accounts would be subject to legislative appropriations. It is unclear how much money will be appropriated to the program, but the amount could be substantial, depending on how much the Legislature chooses to appropriate.
Does the bill allow schools to be more flexible, improve feedback mechanisms, and decentralize decisions to the family or individual level? (+) Conversely, does the bill add to the existing education bureaucracy? (-)
Senate Bill 1153 would create teacher spending accounts that would promote teacher autonomy, choice, and flexibility in spending education dollars. These accounts would give teachers a certain amount of money they could use to purchase materials and supplies for their classroom or to obtain professional development. Teachers could use the accounts to buy instructional materials like books, posters and physical education supplies; supplies like paper towels and hand sanitizer; technological equipment like calculators or microscopes; organizational products; white boards or bulletin boards; and professional development courses.
Teacher spending accounts would ensure that some state education funding reaches the classroom, where it can be used to benefit students. They would allow teachers the flexibility to choose the professional development courses that work best for them and fit their unique needs and challenges.
Teachers would need to use the money during the fiscal year in which it is allocated. Otherwise, the money would revert to the state.
Does the bill create more transparency or accountability in public education institutions? (+) Conversely, does the bill reduce transparency and accountability in such institutions? (-)
Analyst’s Note: Senate Bill 1153 attempts to promote accountability in how teacher savings account funds would be spent. Money would be allocated to accounts via a digital platform, which would restrict “purchases to allowable classroom educational expenses from an electronic marketplace and allow teachers to submit receipts and request reimbursements.” The State Department of Education (SDE) would be responsible for keeping a roster of eligible district and charter school teachers and for allocating the funds. The SDE would also verify compliance with the program and report “on the use of funds for classroom purposes.” These provisions are minimal, and it is unclear how much accountability they would bring to proposed program.