Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DESE update at MASBO

Note juggle of positions here, due to retirement of Roger Hatch (who was the Ch. 70 guy):
Jay Sullivan, Associate Commissioner
Melissa King, Director School Finance
Rob O’Donnell, Director School Business Services

Sullivan: "most of the 9C cuts we had were for earmarks"
"there was no pothole account...certain legislators were effective at putting things into our main admin account...you know who are you, if you got one"
the Governor vetoed them when the budget was passed; the vetoes were overridden by the Legislature; now he did them through 9C cuts
"any districts affected should have heard from me"
ESSA "will have impact"
"be aware that that's coming"

O'Donnell: talk a bit today for the end of year report
collection of data by DESE
for districts: "how do we know we're getting the best outcomes for kids in an efficient way"
for state: "how do we know the investments make a difference/are they sufficient"
for public: "are our tax dollars being invested equitably"
"we all know the pie isn't getting any bigger"
may need to make some modifications to data collection for ESSA requirements
goal is to improve finance data to make it more detailed, more comparable, more actionable
met with SBO's to create plan to improve school finance data
clarifying and aligning data definitions and making modest EOY report changes
some for FY17 report, some for the FY18 report:
  • crosswalk between EPIMS and end of year categories
  • add survey-style schduel to collect key contract data
  • collect full expenditure data for Title I and IDEA (currently in one column; now disaggregate data)
  • definitions for technology, PD "these are two areas that have changed a lot since we last looked at the chart of accounts"
story of district that created a  one-to-one program with no "technology" increase; charged it all to "utilities"

King: "we have a really big vision of building a more comprehensive data set"
what it costs to educate certain kids of students
"how can we answer those questions...create data that will help you argue for more resources, or different kinds of resources"
"want to have all these far reaching improvements...to maybe make it easier to complete your report"
several years out
more detailed spending data focused on certain types of students, including ELLs, sped and at risk students
"certainly that was one of the wants of the Foundation Budget Review Commission"
"we didn't have the ability to quantify that for them"
extend school based reporting to some functions outside instruction
extend grant reporting to all grants
allocating employee benefits to schools (at state end)
aligning schedule 19 to schedule 1 (so there can be more actual budget analysis)
looking for MASBO feedback
work between now and spring; then long term planning
much more with the field during process
"wherever the MCAS scores go, the spending goes" in terms of reporting of spending (to question on special programs at particular schools)
to questions on impact: "We don't sit in an ivory tower and try to figure out how to make your jobs harder"
may be need for more staffing in finance offices as a result of this.

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