Don't get too excited, though, as the money is less than the districts had avaliable last year. As spelled out by the always-excellent Mass Budget and Policy Center:
•House 1 proposes to fund Chapter 70 education aid to local and regional school districts at $3.99 billion, a decrease of $81.8 million from current FY 2011 funding levels (which include $221 million in federal recovery money that was available to districts in FY 2011). Not counting this federal money, state funding for Chapter 70 was $3.85 billion in FY 2011. Therefore, while the House 1 proposal is $81 million below the total amount available in FY 2011, it is $140 million above the state’s FY 2011 appropriation, narrowly defined, which is how the House 1 budget describes this proposal.
How to play with numbers, folks!
There's some comparable news on the circuit breaker:
•House 1 proposes to fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker program at $213 million, an $80 million increase from the current FY 2011 budget. This proposal essentially restores the circuit breaker program to the FY 2009 funding level of $215.5 million. While the circuit breaker was reduced during FY 2010 and FY 2011, a comparable amount of additional one-time federal recovery money was available during these years through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which also funds special education servicesThere are some increases proposed (important to keep that word in mind at this time of year!) for the school breakfast program, for MCAS student support, and for underperforming schools.
And it's definitely lousy news on local aid.