Monday, March 23, 2015

Board of Ed briefing on Chapter 70 and the Foundation Budget

the PowerPoint does not appear to be online; posting as we go
Chester: to put Chapter 70 in a context of all funding that comes to public education in the Commonwealth
"we are a $16 1/2B endeavour...Chapter 70 is one component...majority of funds come from local revenue sources
turns it over to Wulfson
"not planning to go into all of the details" of Chapter 70 funding
$5,788B is local contribution and $4,301B is chapter 70
$1604B is local contribution ABOVE NSS
prior to 1993, school budgets determined locally with no minimun spending requirements from the state
per pupil spending varied widely in relation to the wealth of the community
"cherish...the public schools" not just aspirational
1993 Ed Reform "grand bargain"
nearly $2B increase in state aid: school committees retain budgetary discretion, staffing reforms, accountability system, charter schools and interdistrict school choice
to ensure that every district has sufficient resources to provide and adequate educational program, through an equitable combination of local and state funds
"at a high level, it's fairly easy to understand"
foundation budget, determination of local ability to contribution, remainder is state aid
foundation budget rates differ by category
Sagan interrupts to confirms that this sets a minimum; it does
asks for high need special education: Wulfson explains the purposeful undercalculating of special ed and the circuit breaker reimbursement
1997: target local share based on property values and resident incomes
"designed to be a progressive formula"
FBRC: has held six meetings, report due June 30
formula has not been majorly revised...ever, really
districts can and do spend more than foundation
"a clue that some foundation budget categories may be lagging behind here today"
Peyser asks about underfunding: Wulfson 95% carryover
are there some that are perpetually at the under? Yes, Wulfson
Willyard: if we're cutting funding for schools that don't fund fully, how does cutting aid help?
Wulfson: gets the attention of the appropriating authority
Roach: asks if anyone is going to these meetings? Yes. how much is local appropriation coming up?
Hatch: has come up but note that Chairs have noted that it is outside the purview of the commission
"people are not universally pleased, but mainly they are"
(uh, wow...okay...)
Hatch "by my calculation we're about $2B off on funding" statewide
"comments we've received have been generally positive"
Wulfson: cost drivers of out-of-district sped, health insurance, extended learning time (?)
notes Governor's call to move extended day out of grants and into Chapter 70
"very little corralation between" test scores and spending level
Sagan: "since this student growth, you could be very very high and see little growth"
Wulfson "when you see absolute achievement, it tends to correlate with socio-economic status"
McKenna: why is Boston's aid so low?
Wulfson: Boston's a very wealthy community; "has a lot of fiscal capacity compared to other urban areas"
Hatch: target is minimum state aid, "is receiving about 30% of its aid"
"the fact that it's getting 30% of its aid is function of the formula prior to this one"
does suprise people, foundation budget does reflect student population that it has
Hatch now reviewing aggregate wealth
Wulfson: are hearing that communities are finding it hard to keep up with funding increases under Prop 2 1/2
Willyard: set rate where the state determines who each student is worth?
Yes. and charter is the same? Yes.
and came from where: hypothetical budget based on actual costs (back in 93), raised by the inflation factor each year
Chester: sorting through funding of low income ELL students here
Wulfson: intended to pay for longer school days, longer classes
Chester: recognition that districts may have to go extra mile
no monitoring that those dollars are going to funding those children
Wulfson: in fairness to districts, increases in special ed and health care, "we'd have a lot more money to restore to the classroom"
Sagan: "regardless of the district in question, dollars follow child to charter school"
Wulfson: three components to charter school: foundation level, plus over NSS amount (by district), facilities aid to charters in lieu of MSBA
Sagan: charter reimbursement in any year?
Wulfson: increase in tuition in any given year in total
Doherty: special ed: does it vary by moderate or severe?
Wulfson: no
Hatch: points out that many have complained about rates and amounts
"but the fact is...the initial assumption was 14% of the kids would be in special ed 25% of the time...full time equivalency, not a head count"
has been one of the most consistent complaints "by people who don't quite get that point"
Peyser: inflation factor has run?
Hatch: 1.5, this year, fairly typical
Wulfson: doesn't track with CPI, but goes up and down
Peyser: do you think that covers the health insurance?
Wulfson: "that's one of the mysteries"
Peyser quips that if it does, he wants to know what they're buying
Peyser: tracking with aggregate wealth?
Wulfson: increase in local contribution keeping up with foundation budget (statewide)
Peyser fleshing out degree to which changes in inflation change dollar amount statewide
Wulfson: "can come down" within range
most years Legislature has chosen to hold harmless or have a net increase
"never go beyond foundation, but play around with above or at foundation"

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