Thursday, September 29, 2016

Looming financial disaster (and why you should vote No on Question 2)

Let's start with this excellent and petrifying chart from the Boston Public Schools administration:

The Boston finance office notes that this is a 25% increase over time which they thought was "reasonable." So it could be even more severe than that.

School spending increases in Massachusetts isn't tracking at anything close to that steep line. It isn't even tracking at the 3 new schools a year line.
And that's just Boston.

There's been this tennis match on claims on school funding during this Question 2 debate: increase funding to district/pull money away from districts. If you're interested in how it works, I'd recommend MassBudget's post on that (and that probably needs a post, too), but here's what isn't entering into that assertion from the cap lift side:  

If in fact the cap lift proponents intend no change other than removing the cap on charter schools (which is what the ballot language actually says), the state is going to need money for up to twelve new charter schools a year. That's facilities money (charter schools aren't eligible for the Massachusetts School Building Authority, so they have an increment for that), and then, after they've redirected the per pupil amount to the charter, there's the state reimbursement, allowing the district time to make the coming budget cut.

The state already isn't funding that amount in full, and it hasn't for several years; the last calculation I saw estimated that we'd see 54% this year. That means that maybe they'll get to all the first year 100% reimbursements (after they do the facilities amount), but they won't get much, if any, farther. So, as others have pointed out, the reimbursement isn't some windfall of money, anyway, and it also isn't being funded.

If we already can't fund the reimbursement with the number of new and expanding charters we have, how are we going to fund 12 new ones a year?

Vote no on 2.

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