Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Foundation Budget Review Commission

Peisch begins by saying that they are "relatively confident" that they'll be able to hire a staff person to support and do analysis for the Foundation Budget Review Commission
Verdolino asks if this means that the Commission is extended
Peisch: we don't know that yet; budget "does not seem to be imminent"
"I have no reason to believe the conference committee will not include an extension"
Jehlen: a lot more opportunity to proceed that we'll be able to analyze these items

Discussion beginning on part A (note that copies of this are again not available)
Q: out-of-district changes now or later on?
Peisch: recommendation of Commission are general; legislation is necessary
if and when legislation is necessary, will be opportunity to tweak those
would like to communicate those tweaks to legislators
MBAE: looking to add some commentary for some of the discussion
"it's in that spirit that I'd like to approach edits"
what will be in the preliminary report and what will not
discussion of alternatives for proposals to consider how to effectively and efficiently use of resources; proposal that we get back to that today
Jehlen: we'll see where we are, and we'll see
begin discussion of Part A 1, health insurance
MBAE: discussion of language of coverage of retiree health insurance: is it required in foundation budget or required to be covered
Moreau: note here that it isn't necessarily districts; could be communities
MBAE: talked last time about "the average"
gets to district measures; where do we put annotations?
"there are other GIC rates we could use"...looking to give legislators a little more guidance
Jehlen suggests clarifying footnotes
Peisch: sugggests "while Commission recommends use of average rate, the Commission recognizes there may be equally valid measures"
Francomano: add language of actual number of disaparity between actual space between funding and measure
Jehlen: think that referencing number directly...?
Francomano: think need to send message of how off we actually are
Moreau: "far exceeds" language covers that; difficult to have methodology measuring it
Jehlen: waiting for suggestion
MBAE: "it is something that has been estimated"
another: "it's going to be more than that, because we're going to put inflation on it"
Verdolino suggests that it's a moving target
Francomano: "don't know that 'far surpasses' necessarily sends the message"
Moscovitch: "estimated to be in excess of $1.5B"
motion passes...oops, call for vote by hands
8 in favor, 7 opposed
discussion of if 2/3rds is needed...for any vote or for full report?
Jehlen suggests putting particular number in footnote with dates
discussion of indicator of health insurance inflation
Moreau: leaves open question if they're running on a two year lag or whatever, but should be based on GIC measure
"to me that makes sense, as you're trying to peg it to GIC"
"based on change in growth of GIC" for final point
add word "rate"
motion passes

Special ed:
proposal that low income addition be taken out of new special ed calculation for out of district
Hatch: makes very little difference long term
there are some additions in some special ed students
argument: you're no longer talking about an assumed kid, you're talking about an actual kid
can't look at actual child, have to deal with proxy, in general, there is no low income attached to that kid
"I suggest getting it out, closer to the true cost"
Hatch: don't make it overly complicated
Moscovitch thinks there is another way to do this
Jehlen: statement of principle is the first sentence
Moscovitch wants to take out the calculation
motion is to strike the formula that explains how the new out of district would be calcuated

That's this:
 2. Increase the out-of-district special education cost rate to capture the total costs that districts bear before circuit breaker reimbursement is triggered. In other words, increase the out-of-district special education cost rate by an amount equal to the following:

[4 x statewide foundation budget per-pupil amount] – [statewide foundation budget per-pupil amount** + out-of-district special education cost rate]***

Peish: find the limitation helpful, first sentence is extremely broad
Moscovitch: elegant answer to peg out of district to what the allotment is
would suggest that the formula is an example
motion to strike the motion on the table
then motion to add "an example might be" to second sentence
or "there are many ways that this could be done; here's one example"

Francomano: seemed to be clear that 3.75 going to 4 was a "guess and not a best guess"
have a choice to acknowledge that it's not an accurate number or make language clear 'to make
Moscovitch: "the foundation budget parameters are not meant to be accurate numbers"
aspiration that more children could be served in regular education numbers
MBAE: moving in direction that's acknowledge
this gives me the most pain "as it doesn't address the structural issues"
"I see it as directional...just an assumption...quite on purpose to keep it somewhat" constrained
"are we making judgments about adquacy that aren't founded in data...the only data we have is that actuals are a lot higher"
Francomano: understand what you're saying in terms of aspirational
"I know very few..that would purposefully overidentify special education numbers in order to get the money; we just don't operate that way"
if you're going to say that it's aspirational, say that
"that it doesn't bear any reflection of reality"
Jehlen: motion based on aspiration not on actual numbers
MBAE: arguing that current language
Reville: don't think we need to make clear our rationale, incremental movement in this direction
Moreau: think it's transparent, puts the number out there
"will faciliate informed discussion"
put assumption of calculation in the report
Q: I thought those were the actual numbers
Moreau: the Department doesn't actually collect enough data to know this
Hatch's report went back to the last time we had those numbers and extrapolated out
Q: so if I were reading this, I'd wonder why you didn't move it to a different number
"here's the assumption...is it an accurate assumption? Is it short?"
"don't we have to say something...of why we're saying this"
Peisch: think this is the best we can do with the data we have
MASS: based on the data we do have
"best educated guess that this time"
the whole thing about establishing a better data collection system "to get better data to inform funding"
Verdolino: 3.75 or 4% 'of what?"
do we address that this only addresses the target, but doesn't address the underlying costs of services
Q would change in definition of low income of children change this?
MASS: doesn't want to include aspirational, like the word target
Weber: could we indiate that this is a preliminary step?
direction along those lines, don't know what the target is, don't really know what our aspirations should be
"regardless of what information we have, this is the number we have or we agree on"
Moscovitch: we're all debating something I never said
Moreau: clear the direction we're going in, add clarifying language on how calcuation happens, think that's enough
that passes
Q: would people be interested in using a population based special ed number rather than this?
"big discussion and we have not had it" says Jehlen

impact summary
Moreau: difference summary assumes a one year implimentation: is that deceptive?
Peisch: think that it being over a longer period is very clear and right ont he page
clearer just to give people the order of magnitude we're talking about
Verdolino agrees it's very clear in the paragraph "though that assumes that people actually read it"
impact summary passes

additional topics those are:
* In-District SPED cost rate
* Low-income increment
* ELL increment
* Mental Health/Wraparound services
* PD/Common Planning Time/Instructional coaches
* Extended learning time
* Technology
* Full Day Preschool
motion to add a ninth topic
Moscovitch doesn't want to include these topics at all
look at actual spending by foundation budget allotment, "and based on that we'll look at priorities when we have actual numbers in front of us"
"it makes us look like we haven't done our homework"
Reville: saw this as suggestion why we are looking for more time
had discussions
Moscovitch "and we've never even voted on them"
"you've got all these people, mainly from schools, who are looking for more money, and the Speaker has said he doesn't want to raise taxes, and the Governor has said that he doesn't want to raise taxes"
"and we've never even said anything about improving instruction"
Peisch: would you like it better if we took out the "time permitting" clause
Moscovitch agrees he'd feel more comfortable
AFT rep saying found survey "very difficult"
"do you like your older son, your younger son, or your daughter better"
think we should leave this open
MassBudget: did have discussion about these that included those things
Superintendent: all of these are interwoven into instruction
part of a good school system and a good state school system
Weber: going to have to have that discussion (around priorities) at some point
so motion is to make it a single list
Moscovitch: "informed by the analysis"
motion on the table to add K-3 numbers: not saying too high or too low, but needs addressing
Moscovitch: heard something about physical conditions of schools, should look into that
missed one year of inflation adjustment, and another year was arbitarily cut
MASS also shared teacher salary adjustment
Jehlen, why don't we add those to the list and see what we have time to do
MassBudget notes MSBA is buildings
Moscovitch: maintenance is in there
Peisch: extension is based on two to three more meetings
concerned that as this list extends, will get little information about these items rather than enough about any
Moscovitch pointing out that there is money in the budget going to special ed and health care that could be going elsewhere; once that money is freed up
what is then needed is what accounts are still short or missing
now passing around a chart on staffing would look like under changes (I think?)

on to strings
MBAE proposes a competitive fund as part of it
Francomano: have had to cut for twenty years due to undercalculation; we need to make restorations of those cuts
"what is it about public education that has to be competitive?"
"don't make me dance for my supper"
MBAE: "has to be accompanied by is it going to go to the classroom?"
"has to be improvement, innovation..something that looks like the money we're adding is going to the classroom"
Moscovitch: really difficult topic, "and I understand why Pat gets mad about it"
a lot of micromanagment, and it doesn't follow that eliminating it is the answer (?)
"aren't going to have a competitive case in the legislature"
"can't be more of the same"
"unless that's there, you aren't going to have the support"
Jehlen: says we are going to consider these, doesn't say we're recommending any of them
Moscovitch: recognize that much of the funding is going to restore past cuts, but we're going to discuss additional funds tying to innovation
Moreau: language is articulating what Ed just described
"to me it reads broad enough to come out the other end"
Francomano: agree with that
any effort from trying to move this from B to A is doing the discussion a disservice
MASS: fear of MBAE suggestion is "not sustaining...need sustainable, predicable funding moving forward"
AFT: teachers feel that business is being imposed on schools, not enough to expand the education of the whole person, "whether that's correct enough, that's the perception people have"
Reville: sympathetic to the motion in innovation and "rapid cycle improvement"
"I don't think we're going to get to agreement on this section today"
would urge us to think about this as not just a conversation about accountability
"we're asking for an enormous increase in investment"
MBAE: suggested fifth bullet: establish an innovation fund, distributed competitively and supporting specific goals
Franomano: point of order: is this foundation budget? outside purview
MBAE agrees that he's talking about making part of the foundation budget competitive
Peisch: is it a suggestion that a new part of the foundation budget be competitive
Jehlen notes that this is just "topics to consider" don't have to agree to approve it being in
Francomano: "we're talking about changing the entire concept of the foundation budget here" by making it competitive
Moreau "we can't discuss this proposal? I find that inconcruent"
Q: "you're not going to get a portion of your foundation budget? I don't see how you do this"
that being on the list for discussion: vote of 10-6 passes
report as passed today passes

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