State funding to public schools generally will be frozen for the third straight year under legislation that won final approval Monday.
The aid package is authorized in House Concurrent Resolution 130, which cleared the Senate 38-0.
It won House approval last week 87-4.
Under the plan, public schools will get $3.4 billion in state aid for the 2011-12 school year.
That includes $3,855 per student in state assistance.
The freeze was requested by Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Jindal and BESE leaders said financial problems — state services face a $1.6 billion drop in aid amid revenue drops — explained the standstill budget.
They also said that, compared with higher education and health care, public schools have fared relatively well in recent years by avoiding major budget reductions.
But the associate executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Donald Songy, said public schools are hurting amid a wide array of money problems.
“Just about every district that I have had contact with is at least eliminating positions if not actually laying off people,” Songy said after the Senate vote.
He said school districts are saddled with rising retirement and health-care costs while many see declines in local tax revenue, another key funding source for public schools.
At the same time, Songy said, schools are expected to show improved student performance even as classroom sizes grow and key programs are eliminated.
Before state financial problems began appearing three years ago, school aid traditionally rose by at least 2.75 percent.
“It was pretty obvious from the beginning that we were not going to get that 2.75 percent increase,” Songy said.
The Legislature can only accept or reject BESE’s funding request but cannot change it.
The state aid helps pay for teacher salaries, school supplies and other costs through a formula called the Minimum Foundation Program.
The aid package paves the way for an increase of about $70 million over current spending but that is primarily for student enrollment gains.
The state has an estimated 668,000 public school students.