Wednesday, February 8, 2017

MASBO February meeting: Roger Hatch "Deep Thoughts and Idle Musings"

slide projecting CH.70 back into 1980's
"when you go that far back, the inflation adjustment carries a lot of weight"
deep cuts between 1989 and 1992
then 1990's til 2002
time since 2002: third section
the 1980's "the Massachusetts miracle"
"it was an excellent time for education"
focused on the "right state share" of a district cost to local districts
when there were cuts "there was no equity component to those cuts"
Legislature didn't have any perspective for making those cuts
"when the Legislature is making those cuts, they don't care about equity"
90's: foundation budget put in place
NSS required districts to meet certain spending levels
state's share kept rising
great progress towards reaching foundation budgets: "They planned to do it in seven years, and they did do it in seven years. That's an example of a planned social change."
"You don't see many social programs where they're bold enough...they put it in the law."
2002 drops: "because we had the foundation budget, there was not a huge cut"
2004, half the districts lost aid, but didn't go below foundation aid
in 2007, change in municipal wealth formula
FY09-FY11 federal stimulus money
"foundation budget protects school districts from deep cuts"
as kids make up a smaller share of the population, will there be less spending on them?
"a cause for concern"
since '07 have made progress on getting districts to a fair local contribution
$460M above what the formula says districts are to be getting; no interest in Legislature or Governor
"there's a lot of money there"
local officials: formula is driven by factors outside of local officials' control
"there's very little you do in this formula to get more funding"
can't control enrollment, can't control inflation, can't control municipal growth
"don't beat yourself up about it"
comparisons with other districts is thus not useful
foundation aid keeps districts at foundation: foundation aid supersedes minimum aid
pupil equity "more prominent" than taxpayer equity of the goals of the formula
because enrollment is so important, don't wait to look at until Governor's budget
Why do we do foundation aid? Commonwealth called on to "cherish" education, "that beautiful word put into place by John Adams."
Property tax is regressive (though consistent)
"Common wealth" Sharing the wealth
"And if that sounds socialist, than so be it. We have pockets of great wealth in this state, and we have pockets of poverty."

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