SECTION 26. Said chapter 29 is further hereby amended by inserting after section 5B the following section:-Also, there's this on the low income calculation:
Section 5B½. (a) Annually, not later than January 15, the secretary of administration and finance shall meet with the house and senate committees on ways and means to jointly determine an implementation schedule to fulfill the recommendations filed on November 2, 2015 by the foundation budget review commission established in section 4 of chapter 70. The implementation schedule shall establish a foundation budget as defined in section 2 of said chapter 70 incorporating the categories of tuitioned-out special education rate, assumed in-school special education enrollment, low-income increment, low-income enrollment, foundation benefits, retired employee health insurance and English language learner increment; provided, however, that in the first year of the term of office of a governor who has not served in the preceding year, the parties shall determine an implementation schedule not later than January 31 of that year.
In determining the implementation schedule, the secretary of administration and finance and the house and senate committees on ways and means shall hold a public hearing and receive testimony from the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and other interested parties. The schedule may be amended by agreement of the house and senate committees on ways and means in any fiscal year to reflect changes in enrollment, inflation, student populations or other factors that would affect the remaining costs in the schedule. The implementation schedule shall be included in a joint resolution and placed before the members of the general court for their consideration along with any proposed legislation necessary to execute and implement the schedule. The implementation schedule shall be subject to appropriation.
SECTION 76. There shall be an interagency task force to make recommendations on the commonwealth’s ability to accurately and efficiently count low-income students in public school districts. The task force shall develop recommendations on topics including, but not limited to: (i) accounting for low-income students who are not present in commonwealth databases serving low-income populations, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and transitional assistance for families with dependent children, or TAFDC; (ii) overcoming existing obstacles and improving the ability of the commonwealth’s data systems to successfully identify matches between school enrollment rosters and enrollment in SNAP, TAFDC, the department of children and families' foster care program and the MassHealth program; and (iii) ensuring that there is no loss of federal Title I or other funds from school districts as a result of undercounting of low-income students.
The task force shall include 1 designee from each of the following: the Massachusetts office of information technology; the executive office of education; the department of elementary and secondary education; the department of transitional assistance; the department of children and families; the office of Medicaid; the executive office of health and human services; the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; Project Bread; Health Care for All; and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The designees from the department of elementary and secondary education and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents shall serve as co-chairs.
The task force shall:
(i) identify best practices in the counting of low-income student populations in other states, including assessing whether using probabilistic matching algorithms would improve direct certification rates in the commonwealth and assessing whether there are other changes to the matching algorithm that would improve direct certification rates in the commonwealth;
(ii) identify all relevant data fields currently collected within each of the applicable databases in the commonwealth and determine additional data needed in each of the databases that would improve the ability of the systems to generate successful direct certification matches including, but not limited to, expanded use of the State Assigned Student Identifier and additional name fields and recommendations for implementing any necessary changes to data fields included in the databases;
(iii) determine and implement necessary steps to identify partial matches within the Medicaid database;
(iv) recommend methods to ensure that direct certification includes all applicable commonwealth programs;
(v) recommend methods to ensure the commonwealth is able to accurately identify students eligible for free meals and students in households with incomes up to 185 per cent of the federal poverty level; and
(vi) analyze the format in which data are received and reviewed by schools and school districts and the procedures used by schools and school districts to review the data in order to determine ways to simplify procedures for direct certification and the resolution of partial matches at the local level.
The task force shall submit its preliminary report with recommendations by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on education and the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than August 31, 2016. The agencies on the task force shall implement appropriate and feasible reforms to achieve the most accurate possible count of low-income students by October 1, 2016. The task force shall submit its final report with recommendations by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on education and the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than March 1, 2017.
tweeting now; more to come as I have it