Thursday, April 16, 2015

A few notes on the House budget

The FY16 Massachusetts House budget was posted yesterday, and it's (mostly) good news:
  • Chapter 70 is fully funded (we'd all hope that the state meets its legal obligation here, but it's good to check). It's also up $2.8M, as they're increasing minimum per pupil increases to $25/pupil.
  • Quality Kindergarten is back! The House has it set at $18,589,713 which is within a dollar of the projected spending (see [on all of these] "Historical Spending" tab) for FY15. That would mean that it's being restored to the level after the midyear cut; it would be helpful to have it all the way back.
  • Governor Baker's proposed grant merger isn't in here! Scroll your way down into the 7010 accounts and following, and you'll see that the Gateway Cities, ELL, literacy and so forth all have funding level restored, and the Partnership Schools Network account is cut by $9.5M. That's not only important to those programs--and thanks to the reps for listening!--but it also questions this centralizing of power at DESE that was clearly being anticipated by the Commissioner and Secretary. 
  • Circuit breaker funding for extraordinary special education spending is up another $8M, getting us closer to full funding (always tricky to declare, since it's a reimbursement based on submitted receipts). 
  • Regional school transportation is up $5M from the Governor's budget.

  • There's also some cuts from the Governor's budget (and if anyone can explain any of these, I'd be interested!): $3,355 from the Secretary's office (which is more than a rounding error, but not enough to do much). $188,245 from DESE as a whole. 
  • $1.7M from a $2.7M budget for School-to-Career Connecting Activities, which has had stable funding at that $2.7M level for a number of years
  • $879,826 from Adult Education, which is about a $30M account; that will knock it down below this year's projected spending
  • Student and School Assessment is brought down to FY14 levels, a cut of $5M statewide.
  • It also zeroes out two lines that were added by the Governor's budget: $500,000 for implementing educator evaluation and $200,000 for School Safety and Supports.
More to come if or when I have it!

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