Friday, May 27, 2016

So what did they pass on the foundation budget?

I know I lost a lot of you on Senator Chang-Diaz's amendment 120, which passed on a voice vote last night. Sorry about that! Here's what it means:
First, it means that this goes to conference committee, along with everything else passed by one house of the Legislature but not the other.
Then it would need to survive Governor Baker's veto (either by avoiding it or overriding it).

What's in it?
Every year as part of the budget, the state has to redraft the section of the Mass General Laws that deals with school funding, Chapter 70 (thus the shorthand we use for school funding in Massachusetts). It lays out how health insurance costs are calculated, the inflation rate, the assumption on special ed, how much districts will get for each category of student, and so forth.
Now, this follows a standard layout, and that hasn't been majorly changed since 1993.

What amendment 120 does is plug in the new numbers from the Foundation Budget Review Commission. For example, it makes the health insurance cost the average GIC rate. It adds retiree health insurance costs. It updates the special education assumption. And so forth.
It's intended to work hand in hand with the other piece that the Senate passed, which would make the implementation of the foundation budget part of the annual conversation both houses have with the Governor, laying out what the projections for revenue will be. Those would, if the Senate language carries, also include the gradual implementation of the recommendations of the FBRC.
The redrafted version that was passed last night implements this July 2017, which is the beginning of next year's fiscal year.
Just in time for the FY18 budget.

No comments: