Thursday, September 29, 2016

DESE update from Jay Sullivan (school finance) at MASBO

reorg at DESE in finance: Roger Hatch's last day was September 1
"I'm the last man standing"
as soon as all the plans have been finalized, let everyone know what the situation is
has sent out emails to everyone who has requested an extension on end of year reports by today
had a conference call last week: a number of resources out about Erate
"pretty exciting situation"
you can get free consulting on if you have infrastructure capacity
Municipal modernization act
"help clarify and ease the burden on local officials to some degree"
some of it related to procurement: OSD going around the state doing check-ins
sped stabilization fund: helpful to schools
some issues regarding regions: a number of issues
DoR submitted a twenty page summary; will link on website
"a lot of this stuff is cleaning up language"
Section that requires OSD to create procedures for lessening cost of textbooks, through (among others) bulk purchasing
working on school data reports (acronym apparently is RADAR?)
meeting with districts over the summer whether we need to expand the chart of accounts, whether it's sufficient as it is
one of the things that came out of the FBRC was the need for more data
ELL and low income, in particular
Economically disadvantaged "a huge political football"
kinds of spending that is necessary to help serve that population
framing things such that if we ask you for more detail on this "is it feasible? how difficult is it to provide" but don't think we asked "how useful it is"
talked about expanding detail on Schedule 19, but essentially there's one line in the 2000 series (that's teaching) "that's got to be 70% of your expenditures"
"we're not asking districts to submit updates" "analysis by paralysis"
"we have to have rules for the 10% that cover the 100% of the districts" to protect those "who fund the minimum as maximum"
"when you build a house, you don't build a foundation and put a roof on it. The foundation is the base; it's the minimum that you need. Then you need to add to that."
updating chart of accounts in 2001
question on if the information would be published
Title I; to issue a report card for every school in the Commonwealth that calculates school spending, school by school
continuing looking to cleanse our data
"what should be charted where" by accounts
tells of a district that spoke of their one-to-one technology program, and they'd spent no money within their chart of accounts on technology for several years
if the data's no good, what good is it?

Legislature keeps hearing need for more services for low income kids: how do we determine what it gets spent on?
Is it just additional staff? How do we articulate that?
thinking of changing the chart of accounts, adding a program column to demonstrate where low income funding goes

9C cuts?
no pothole account
earmarks all in DESE's main admin account
sending anyone who had an earmark through the grants process, so they'll get paid monthly
"it's because they don't want to send all the money out the door"
every two months we get a 1/6th allotment of the yearly allocation
"they're not going to give all that money to us to send out to districts"
circuit breaker at 70% not due to 9C cuts; "totally underestimated indicator claims"
came in substantially higher this year than it did in the past
"we didn't get everything we asked for" in the budget
"still holding $5M for extraordinary relief"
"thinking that it might occur; I don't know. We're waiting to hear what happens with revenues."

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