Thursday, May 15, 2014

Senate Ways and Means

While I await the analysis of the Mass Budget and Policy Center for more, a few notes on the Senate Ways and Means budget that came out yesterday.

  • Remember when the press talks about an increase in education funding, they usually mean relative to last year, not relative to Governor Patrick's proposed budget or to House Ways and Means. In this case, Chapter 70 is fully funded, the $25/pupil minimum increase is funded, so we're about where we were on basic funding for education.
  • The charter reimbursement is funded at the same level as it is in the passed House budget, at $80 million. That's still short of DESE's estimate of $104 million for full funding for FY15, but we're making progress.
  • The circuit breaker (which provides reimbursement funds for particularly expensive out-of-district tuition for students with special needs) is up a bit in funding from the House budget (hard to estimate what that means, as it's done on the basis of submitted tuition statements).
  • The big news, that you may well have caught yesterday, is that Senator Brewer is proposing 90% reimbursement for regional transportation. That's great news for the regionals--they regionalized based on the promise of transportation being fully reimbursed, which it never is--but note that it does not affect Worcester. We receive no state funding for transportation (unless they reimburse us for transportation for students who are homeless, under McKinney-Vento. But nothing on general transportation).
More when we hear from Mass Budget!

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