Monday, July 13, 2009

State Budget

Here's a link to the Mass Budget analysis of the FY10 budget. The education section is here.

Education spending at the state level is down 4.2% from FY09 (and do remember that next year's prices usually are higher; one generally needs a bit more money to keep the same level of services). Here's the important point on K-12 spending from the state:

The most notable aspect of the Legislature’s budget in the area of elementary and secondary education is the use of $167.6 million in federal Fiscal Stabilization Funds to ensure that each district receives sufficient aid to meet their Chapter 70 Foundation Budget, as defined in the budget. In FY 2010, combined state and federal Chapter 70 spending totals $4.037 billion, an increase of 2.2 percent over the FY 2009 level.

Aside from reliance on federal funds, the approach to Chapter 70 includes other important policy decisions. For one, the Legislature’s budget uses a new method for calculating the inflation adjustment for the Foundation Budget than used previously. Specifically, it excludes price data from the first quarter of the last fiscal year when making the inflation calculation, because the Legislature felt that the high cost growth of that quarter was anomalous. However, this method results in an inflation calculation that is substantially lower than the traditional measure (3.04 vs. 6.75 percent) and ignores cost growth experienced by school districts during the omitted quarter. To avoid Foundation Budgets permanently failing to reflect the effects of cost increases during the quarter that was not included, the FY 2011 budget will have to use a calculation of inflation that, in some manner, corrects for the quarter omitted in FY 2010.

Add that to your list of reasons to be concerned about the FY11 budget.

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