Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mass Budget in Lowell

Colin Jones from MassBudget: "no way I would be where I am without amazing Massachusetts public schools and public school teachers"
running through some budgetary vocabulary to start: fiscal year,  Senate Ways and Means/House Ways and Means, line item, earmark, supplemental budget, 9C (he calls this "the opposite of a supplemental budget" which I hadn't thought of before)
there's a request for "subject to appropriation"

Chapter 70 "is where education lives" in the law.
(it's not just funding)
foundation budget "is our state's estimate of what it takes to educate kids every year"
funding is in the state Constitution; states where it's written well, "they fund better"
district local foundation budget made up of required local spending plus state Ch. 70 aid
local district have a minimum amount of spending but districts can (and most do) fund more
"a kid who lives in Lowell and goes to a charter school, that kid is still Lowell's responsibility to educate" and that kid shows up in the foundation budget

"the budget is a're always somewhere in the's just a bill sitting on Beacon Hill... with $41 billion dollars in it"
"due to the wisdom of John Adams, the governor doesn't have that much power; he proposes a budget but the House can pretty much ignore it"

Note from Colin that school building is funded BY THE SALES TAX. Cut the sales tax? You cut school building repair and rebuilding.

the 1993 ed reform law put the funding capacity in to make Massachusetts a national, even a world leader

What does this look like in districts?
If it only costs $9900 to educate a kid in Burlington, why are they spending more than that?"

reviewing the findings of the Foundation Budget Review Commission findings
"but for some reason, there hasn't been this rush to funding after the report came out"
"so Brockton and Worcester are talking about lawyering up"
 all at once it would be $49M for the Lowell Public Schools

realistically, it would not be done all at once
"there's numbers like this for every Gateway cities...the cities that need the most, get the most...but everyone benefits!"

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