Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Foundation Budget Review Commission: Board of Ed

Chester turns it over to Wulfson, Hatch, and King
Wulfson who explains FBRC, which I'm not going to take notes on
creating a constitutional obligation for the Commonwealth to support its public schools
cites $800M change of the foundation budget on sped and health insurance
change on local spending may not be an increase (they may already be funding at that level)
need to be phased in over time
"just recommendations at this point in time...go to Governor and the Legislature for this point in time"
step up our efforts to collect detailed and useful data on how districts are spending their dollars "from a program management standpoint"
wide differences in how districts spend their money
"potential additional funding is not unlimited"
Stewart: ELL and economically disadvantaged
"seems at least ELL seems relatively easy to figure it out, organizing it is going to be a challenge"
Wulfson: two areas that the commission highlighted as a priority
health insurance and special ed are mandatory: already getting budgeted
not looking to drive dollars into those categories, but dollars in budget for other activities can be freed
"sort of a domino effect"
Doherty: fair to say that we can always spend our money more wisely
pretty clear that the Commission feels the foundation budget ought to be increased
"bottom line is, if we are really going to fulfill our responsibility Constitutionally, we need more money"
would like to consider something:this board ought to be wrestling with funding issues
ballot inititative to raise the tax on millionaires
think the Board of Ed would be right to ENDORSE this
Chester: question of if it is appropriate, "which I guess would have a legal dimension to it and maybe a policy dimension"
will do some homework
"certainly the Board has in my tenure here has supported, encouraged, particular legislation"
Stewart: I know most of our budget is ch 70
Wulfson: like 95% of it is Ch 70
Stewart: "maintenance" in the budget going forward?
Wulfson: maintenance budget is part of the exercise that agencies go through with finance
"what are we required to do by law?"
level funding or built in increases (like circuit breaker)
collective bargaining increases would be built into maintenance
Stewart: there's some percentage going forward in next budget
Wulfson: ch 70 gets a lot of special attention
"inflation adjustment we always built into our preliminary estimate" though it is very low this year
(in fact it is negative this year)
per pupil minimum aid is not part of maintenance (as it isn't part of ch 70)
Wulfson: whether we have enough to move forward with any of these proposals remains to be seen
Chester: FBRC is not a report to this body; we can revisit it if the Board wants
Moriarty: would absolutely highlight the second paragraph in the conclusions: has to be more frequently reviewed

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