Tuesday, September 22, 2015

School Finance update for Board of Ed

Hatch: Foundation Budget
reminds that part of charge was "efficient and effective resource allocation"
"was a lot of good discussion" around that
preliminary report : actual spending on health care is $1.2 billion higher than foundation budget recognizes; recommendation to increase the benefits rate
benchmark active employee insruance to GIC municipal average
add in retiree health insurance
separate inflation factor
special ed assumption is 15% of students receiving services 25% of the time
raise to 16%
out-of-district increase to capture actual cost before circuit breaker is triggered
Hatch: expensive proposition
fixes don't fully fix the model ...though Hatch argues that this is because not enough districts are on GIC or GIC like plans
$800M to be phased in, but it isn't all state aid
Sagan: where is that money now? Aren't districts spending it now?
Wulfson: being pulled out of other district needs
the increase in required spending might not be equivalent to the amount of state aid
Peyser: primarily relevant to the districts spending at the foundation level
Sagan: but this would be pure relief to those
Peyser just used an illustration that only sorta worked
Craven: once the money goes through the formula, the state doesn't have the mechanism to say "gee your health care costs only went up by 2%"
Wulfson: that's part of what's up for consideration
"if there's going to be some large increase in chapter 70 aid, will there be some requirement that the aid is spent effectively, efficiently"
Hatch: doesn't have to be done all in one year
report has a list of potential areas for discussion

Wulfson: low income increment and community eligibility
measuring poverty in school district enrollment; free and reduced lunch numbers used in Ch 70 and in accountability measure
current year 48 districts participating; 200,000 students, 21% of students in the state
"I just read that Worcester has joined and their participation is up 9%"
using data from department of health
ongoing statistical analyses and discussion with stakeholders
monitoring other states' response "at this point the federal government has not stepped in. We think at some poin they will. I think they were as flummoxed by it as we were."
using new measure for entitlement grants (which largely use census data, anyway)
chapter 70 needed: going to need to go to Legislature
school and district accountability: hold harmless provision this year; may require adjustments future years

Peyser: if you don't know who the low income students are, how do you have a target for low income students?
Carried forward from last year; if the target doesn't increase
"can't do any worse"

Wulfson: no student will lose a free lunch as a result of this change
40% match to be eligible for CEP

Craven: don't forget MSBA!

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