Tuesday, February 28, 2017

March Board of Ed: budget and Chapter 70

Chester updates on FY18 (plus a spreadsheet) and on chapter 70

Governor's health insurance addition
"think he made a real strong effort" to begin to address FBRC
reconfigured targeted assistance account (comment is that it's in line with what Board wants; note that this proposal has previously failed in the Legislature)
increased state funding for next MCAS
more or less level funded
DESE at 440 full time; "down significantly from where we've been"
on federal side: funded through April 28 on continuing resolution
"less an issue for education grants" as they're essentially forward funded
remains to be seen about FY18
if Congress doesn't continue funding, issue on school nutrition accounts as they're funded quarterly
Wulfson: McKinney-Vento transportation back to districts; same requirement for children in foster care if it's deemed in best interest of child under ESSA
will be a requirement that children be transported back to their original district; will be an additional obligation on districts
Peyser: highlight consolidated grant "more flexibility...to make our intervention more effective"
Sagan: comment on fiscal situation
Peyser: 'that's a little above my paygrade"
"We're basically on track...which means that the 9C cuts that the Governor was forced to implement" are probably going to finish the year
projection "not robust" when you consider fixed costs that grow
Chester: MassHealth is the largest part of the state budget
"at least two moving parts here"
Governor's proposal on employers; federal level

Wulfson: Ch.70
up $90M
Melissa King introduced as replacing Roger Hatch
major drivers are low enrollment growth statewide (but there are districts growing), very low inflation, robust economic growth
increase the foundation budget, "which is virtually unchanged since 1993"
implementation of the foundation budget review commission
proposed a $66M increase in the foundation budget; though a $16M increase in state aid; most of the increase comes on the local funding side
how far we'll be able to go in future years "is absolutely a function" of the previous discussion
economically disadvantaged calculation: DESE report submitted to legislature at their request
amount of money that goes into the foundation as it's a combination of the head count and the rates we apply
boosted rates as head count fell
districts with high numbers of refugee and undocumented students were among the small number of districts hit
many decline to sign up, and those concerns have only been heightened
Sagan: what are we doing?
Wulfson: disagree on magnitude of problem, though don't disagree there is one
superintendents forming a working group
Wulfson (to Moriarity, who comments Holyoke saw ED lower than F&R lunch) that every community saw a drop
"have no surrogate to get back to that level"
programs that are around that 133% level
for most districts the increase in the amount per kid more than made up for the drop in the headcount
Craven: one theory is that districts would welcome not collecting data any more; it sounds like they don't
Wulfson: most districts participating in CEP, they're thrilled not to be collecting data and they have more kids participating in meals

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