Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Foundation budget calculations

Special education based on actual enrollment figures
priorities on state's reconsideration of foundation formula
Allen: state underfunded special education from the beginning
ten years in, circuit breaker for particularly expensive students
special education is the only category that uses an assumed enrollment rather than actual enrollment (as is done with others)
what would the funding model look like if the state were funding special education appropriately?
calculated the full-time equivalent of the students who receive special ed
using those numbers alone is a combined gap of $29M that the foundation budget is underfunding the number of students that are being served
the per student value of the foundation budget is also underfunded
WPS spent more than 50% more on special education together for the past several years
of that $29M is the underestimation of the number of students
plus the rate is not adequate

adding up to $35M of special education costs that are not funded

"this is not particularly unique to Worcester"
Foley: reflects the problem the state is facing
begin to pit one set of students against other sets, which is never good
Allen: particularly true in the lowest quintile districts, which are spending right AT foundation

reconsideration of the foundation formula:
Allen: timely, as the committee has just met for the first time
"important...to suggest that there really needs to be a fundamental change in the foundation budget"
doesn't mean much to communities spending 117 or 120%
others aren't looking at this level of detail
all of the urban districts need to coalese around this issue
"this is not a discussion about how much the state funds the foundation budget...this is a fundamental reconsideration of the foundation budget"
change to assumption of the formula which is urban districts

  1. full time preschool funding (is not currently counted in foundation budget)
  2. health insurance assumption: estimate that WPS is underfunded by $25 million (note that this is after reforms that have been made that state has pressed)
  3. special education not based on assumption
  4. use actual inflation; need to better capture actual cost increases: state ignored inflation factor in 1994 and 2010 (that one year put every district back; cost WPS $4M); rate used is prior year spending state and local government; catch 22
  5. adjust low income increment (extended day or extended year): 
  6. assumed teacher salary: assumed at $65,482; actual $71,620; with assumed growth $74,513
  7. assumed class size average: particularly for preK-3; assumes 22 students to 1; should be lower, particularly at primary grade 
FINAL REPORT DUE JUNE 30 from the state

Foley: easier to see in concrete terms
$60M difference in special education and health insurance alone
"to see what's happening because of 21 years of underfunding the budget"
are you presenting this to the committee? 
Allen: if there is a hearing, certainly can be shared 

Ramirez: how close are we to other districts in these gaps?
Allen: most other urban districts are in that lower quintile
very similar numbers for their comparable size
urban school business managers: number one agenda item

Novick: should make delegation aware of other changes that will be suggested and impact on Worcestser

renumber items 2,3,4,1,5a,5b,5c
send to delegation (and meet with them) and send to commission
host commission meeting

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