Friday, February 10, 2017

MASBO February meeting, in sum

as sent out over the MASC list-serv

I don’t think this rises to the level of a full “Novick Reports,” but I did want to pass along a few notes yesterday from MASBO’s February meeting, particularly as it focused heavily on state budget issues.
The Mass Taxpayers’ Foundation opened with an analysis of both FY17 and FY18 (my notes are here). There was a particular emphasis on the gap between revenue and expenditures, and in particular the increasing costs of MassHealth.
Jay Sullivan from DESE gave his update (notes). Along with reminders of due dates and reports, he did give some projections for FY18 based on the Governor’s budget (‘though he also reminded us that the Governor’s budget isn’t the end). Do note that the charter reimbursement percentage he gave of 73% bundles in the facilities funding, so that’s not really the number you’re looking for. He did also flag coming changes due to ESSA on how Title I works.
Melissa King of DESE gave an update on the Governor’s budget (notes). In addition to what you already know, she did note that this year 92 districts are getting foundation aid; the remainder of districts are getting hold harmless aid plus the (Governor’s) $20/pupil increase. That brings the amount of funding from the state over foundation aid to over $400 million.
They invited Roger Hatch (now retired) to reflect on state funding of education (notes). Overall, he pointed to the difference having a foundation budget has made from a state budgetary perspective: it pulled equity into the equation (when making additions or cuts), which had not previously been the case, and it established a floor beyond which the state can/does (?) not cut when it comes to education funding.
The school business officials continued their work on data management (in concert with DESE) in the afternoon; a peek at that is here.

Mistakes, as always, mine, and questions welcome.

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