Saturday, January 28, 2012

More on the Governor's FY13 budget

Having now gotten the Worcester Public Schools administration's budget memo (updated with link) as well as one from the Mass Association of School Committees, here's a bit more on Governor Patrick's proposed FY13 budget as it relates to education (and, specifically, WPS):
  • The change in the WPS foundation budget, including the 3.65% inflation factor and the enrollment changes, is a $12 million increase. That's $10.4 million in the inflation factor and $1.5 million in enrollment changes and shifts. In total? About a 5% increase from the state.
  • Due to the increase in the city base funding plus the required growth factor, the total city contribution is up 3%, or $2.8 million.The city is expected this year to contribute--this would be minimum contribution plus the $660,000 the city has contributed the past few years over--$97 million. 
  • That means the city is expected to contribute about 34% of the budget.
  • This shakes out overall [city and state] to a 4.1% increase, or $11 million.
  • Charter school and choice tuition have increased $1.8 million, and the reimbursement amount has increased $940,000. Charter and choice tuition in total is projected to be $28 million for FY13, while reimbursement from the state is projected to be $4.7 million. (Yes, that does mean the state is funding only about 17% of the charter and choice tuition.)
  • HOWEVER, the Governor is level-funding charter reimbursements, AND the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has once again created new charter schools: THUS, once again, we have Beacon Hill giving the same amount of money and Malden dividing it even more ways. We will thus, unless someone fixes it, be underfunded on charter reimbursements for year two (Hint: here's a place the House and Senate could really be of assistance!). 
  • ALSO remember that part of last year's budget was $2.4 million of Education Jobs funds. There is no more. 
  • ...thus leaving us projecting a deficit of about $1.3 million. Not zero, but significantly smaller than in years past.
  • I haven't yet seen numbers on the Quality Kindergarten Grant.
  • The Special Education Circuit Breaker is level funded at last year's (increased) level.
  • The Governor has budgeted $10 million in "Gateway Cities" initiatives, including early literacy and kindergarten readiness, student support councilors and councils, ELL enrichment and academies, and a statewide innovation fund. That's all being done through the state office, which makes me assume we're looking at state grants (for which Worcester would be eligible). I don't know much more on these yet (and it will, of course, depend on the House and Senate's willingness to fund them).

That's what I have for now! Good time to get in touch with legislators about priorities!

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