Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Conference committee budget is out tonight, voted tomorrow

Because we're almost out of time...
You can find the just-released-tonight conference committee budget here. The headlines will be "preserves local aid," and indeed it does use the Senate's chapter 70 number. It also keeps the $61M for regional transportation reimbursement, the $8.3M for McKinney-Vento reimbursement, and uses $80M for charter reimbursement. Note (thank you, MassBudget) that due to the addition of 3100 charter school seats next year, this level funding will leave the charter reimbursement underfunded by approximately $54 million. 

A few things of concern:
  • I can't find the quality K grant in here at all; it's account 7030-1002, and I'd be thrilled to be corrected if I'm wrong.  Quality Kindergarten is entirely eliminated
  • this budget does not make the automatic transfers to Mass School Building Authority (or the MBTA; what a year to short them!); usually a penny of the sales tax goes to them. 
  • there is nothing on the foundation budget. Nothing, after the state itself has said that current funding is inadequate. More on this to come.
  • As Noah Berger of MassBudget commented, "This budget represents another year of just barely getting by without any clear path to addressing the big challenges our Commonwealth faces, such as rebuilding our transportation infrastructure, making college affordable, and expanding access to high-quality education for all of our children." 
Budgets are moral documents. What we fund is what we value. 

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