Monday, March 23, 2015

Board of Ed overview of Governor's budget

I've got a few alarming notes to share on this, first, from DESE's memo to the Board, which I've sent out to Worcester and the statewide School Committees:
  • ​regarding chapter 70, the two things touted are "a minimum aid increase for each district of $20 per student" and "continuing progress to achieving equity in high-effort communities"
  • regarding the elimination of Quality K: "recognizing that more than 85% of districts offer full day Kindergarten and that enrollment is reimbursed through Chapter 70"
  • regarding the grant merger: "a broader approach to improving outcomes for designed to provide the Department with the authority to exercise discretion and innovative approaches to combat systemic underperformance"
  • regarding student assessment: the $28.9M "provides the funding necessary to manage the potential transition of PARCC"
  • regarding aligned programs (this is school-to-work, AP math & science, expanded learning time, and after school grants): they "include the authorization to allow ESE to use a portion of these resources to align with the work of the Partnership Schools Network initiative
And, on to the notes at the Board; I didn't catch who is doing this presentation:
"through the recommendations this Board made to the Secretary last November"
'though I was at that meeting and I'd dispute that this is the Board's priorities
spending level with the consistent with spending this year
chapter 70 pretty much given
$20/pupil minimum aid, effort reduction 45% factor both contribute to $105M
licensing effective educators
"to look at our grant programs from the perspective of leveraging effectiveness"
traditional targeted assistance program with a number of other grants 
"discretion to the Commissioner" to work with those districts in a number of ways
PARCC transitional assessement program
educator effectiveness work
dollars for student safety work
Fy16 "transitional year for us" due to the end of Race to the Top
 "primarilally funded" by federal funds
federal grant funding "not looking robust"
"we're excited about the Governor's budget in a number of ways, actually"
Peyser: chapter 70 "a core priority"
"nonetheless is a lot of money in terms of the incremental resources that were available to allocate overall"
"concentrate resources into a pool of flexible funds to invest strategically in order to drive" change
"it's not clear that they're moving the needle on student performance"
"concentrate resources" to make "meaningful change"
"that was the thesis behind the budget"
"savings that were achieved in the budget": full day K
initiated in 1990's when 30% or less had full day K; now more than 90% have full day K
"intended to be primary funding vehicle" of full day K
"has been tremendously successful"
"not that it won't cause tremendously dislocating to local communities"
Willyard: $50M that we're losing: where and what programs are going to be eliminated?
RTTT loss: fundamentally is work that with those funds we've achieved what we've looked to do
Commissioner: like the consolidation around the Partnership Schools Network
"very, very imporant investments that I hope the Legislature will stick to"
concerned with state oversight: not just RTTT 
Race to the Top "allowed us to be much more deliberative as a state agency"
"going to be challenging for us" is early retirement incentive
Roach: when is it gone? June 30
Chester: half of the $50M is distributed to local school districts...a lot smaller amount that we're relying on
Roach: "is it going to be a challenge for you? I can't imagine you have as many folks on deck as this plays out"
Chester: general curriculum support "will be hardest hit" from RTTT loss
Calderon-Rosado: monitoring school districts and progress across the state
Chester: substantially more potential support for accountability and turnaround work
"in that respect, it's very exciting"
Noyce: will we see some high need districts seeing loss of funds as result of not being able to write compelling grants?
Peyser: idea is not to spread money around to everyone who may have strong need, but places "where they have both strong need and sustantial cases for improvement"
"how do we manage that transition" this year
"may be some further work we have to do in the course of this coming in the hopes that when we get into FY17 we may have a substantial backlog"
"I don't think it would be entirely bad if we said 'no' to a number of districts this year" as we set the bar high
Chester argues that this is an extension of turnaround grants, RTTT, etc
Roach: how does it compare to current funding of grants? $5M less
"we're short five as a practical matter"

Just please make sure you read the comments above. And then get in touch with your legislators.

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