Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mass Budget on the Governor's Budget

The Mass Budget and Policy Center has posted their first look at the Governor's budget. Regarding education:
  • Chapter 70 is increasing $226.2 million above FY 2013 levels, however most of this will just cover cost growth: "MassBudget projects that maintenance costs for FY 2014 would total $167 million, leaving about $59 million of the Governor's proposed increase to fund expanded services."
  • The budget continues the so-called reforms of 2007, that increased the amount of money that quite a number of communities that may not be particularly high need get from the state.
  • Along with a substantial section on preschool (some of which may well affect Worcester), there's also a bit of a  list of other things: support for Gateway Cities (still unspecified what this is going to do, may be Worcester); adult basic ed for English language learners (again, could be us); extended learning time grants specifically for middle schools with a large population of low income students (again, sounds like Worcester); "targeted intervention in underperforming schools" which sounds (from that description) a lot like the School Improvement Grants, which came from the federal government. However good these causes, my main concern here is all of this sounds a lot like short term funds that go away after a few years, leaving us with new programs to find funding for.
  • Charter school reimbursement is going up by $9.8 million. The Board of Education, last February, approved four new schools, so that won't be enough to cover the difference. 
Last I heard, the Department of Revenue still hadn't posted the cherry sheet (Know why it's called a cherry sheet? The numbers were originally printed on cherry-colored paper...which would be pink? Maybe?) of the actual breakdown by municipality. Should they post that sooner rather than later, we should get an update specifically on Worcester. 

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