Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No impact on WPS under Governor's proposed cuts

This evening, the Worcester School Committee received the following email from Mr. Allen:
Today, as you have probably heard, Governor Patrick announced a number of state budget cuts today needed to balance shortfalls in the state revenue for the fiscal year.  The purpose of this email is to provide information specifically relating to the impact of these cuts on education and specifically the Worcester Public Schools. 

I had the opportunity to be at a session today where DESE was presenting on the impacts of the federal sequestration cuts.  Within the session, we were provided specific information relative to the education cuts. 

·        First, there are no Chapter 70 cuts.  The Governor (and State Legislature) have consistently honored the Chapter 70 funding formula and the commitment is continued by holding this line item harmless in these current state reductions. 
·        Circuit Breaker is being reduced $11.5 million.  The DESE has published reimbursement this year at 70%.  Even with this reduction, DESE believes that this 70% reimbursement will still be met.  They have indicated that extraordinary relief (which we would not qualify for) would be the line item within circuit breaker that would be reduced.  Therefore, we are not expecting a reduction in our circuit breaker reimbursement this year. 
·        McKinney-Vento (homeless student) transportation is being reduced by $5.25 million.  McKinney-Vento was funded for the first time this year at $11.3 million and was based on a survey of costs of school districts last year.  As provided in the budget update memo yesterday, we submitted $509,000 in our DESE report for McKinney Vento reimbursement.  DESE is unable to estimate the impact on districts as they are still waiting for 40 school district to submit their financial reports that were due on October 1st.  At this time, this will have no impact on our budget because these funds have not been allocated to the WPS budget for the current fiscal year.  I also understand that these funds have not been included in the budget for the city as adopted this evening by the City Council. 
·        Charter School reimbursement is reduced by $1 million (of a $72 million line item).  In December, DESE does an update to enrollments and reimbursements.  We know that the reimbursement line item is already underfunded but DESE does not believe that this reduction will further reduce the amount provided to municipalizes once the quarterly enrollment updates are completed.
·        Foundation Reserve is reduced by $2.5 million.  We do not receive these funds.
·        Regional Transportation is reduced $1 million.  We do not receive these funds.

Overall, education is being reduced by $21.6 million, but we are not expecting that there will be any impact on our budget.  There are sometimes some of our funding (or programs) from other state agencies (such as Early Education and Care and Health and Human Services) will impact us.  At this time, we are unaware if there is any impact on us but we will provide any updates as necessary.

Obviously, the status of the state budget revenues presents more of a challenge as we plan for the FY14 budget.  Each of these line items are areas that we will need to monitor closely as the state budget process begins next month.

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