Sunday, September 29, 2019

Senate amendments on the funding bill

...which was reported out of Senate Ways and Means as S.2350, An Act Relative to Educational Opportunity for Students (AREOS?); the amendment are online here.
Note that a significant number of these, including the first ten, are from Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, a prolific writer of amendments.

I'll include the numbers, but I'll cluster these by topic, as there are overlaps:

Regional Transportation reimbursement:
  • 1 reimburses regional transportation at "not less than 85%"
  • 2 creates a commission to study 100% reimbursement for regional school transportation
  • 11 sets regional transportation reimbursement to 85% but takes out "subject to appropriation"
  • 36 removes the "subject to appropriation"
  • 43 would add any municipality over 95 square miles to transportation reimbursement; they must be using a different list than I, because I have Barnstable as the largest and it's less than 60...if you check the sponsor, you'll be shocked to find this would, it appears, apply only to the town of Plymounth, which still encompasses much of the original Plimouth Plantation. 

Minimum per pupil increases:
  • 3 increases mimimum per pupil aid to $35/pupil
  • $40/pupil
  • $50/pupil
  • $100/pupil

Reviews of the foundation budget:
  • 7 amends to review every five years (the bill proposes 10)
  • 8 does the same but with different language
  • 14 bumps labor representation to two
  • 35 also sets the foundation budget review commission to every 5 years
  • 36 requires a foundation budget adequacy study

Circuit breaker:
  • 9 boosts circuit breaker reimbursement to 80%
  • 10 sets the approved reimbursement threshhold to $34,345 from $45,793. 
  • 15 requires school level reporting on mental health supports
  • 17 makes more specific the reporting out on use of funds and specifically bars the Commissioner from decreasing them
  • 24 requires than any new reporting be considered in light of other reporting the state already requires
  • 31 requires sort of "workforce preparedness" reports
  • 34 ties the district's improvement plans much more closely to declarations of underperformance 
  • 38 makes it clear that the district (not the state) is to determine what changes are necessary
  • 39 would add "college completion" to the report the Secretary would give each year
  • 52 adds student growth to what is being considered in the plan of how funds are used
  • 65 requires that the report from districts including reducing disparities (rather than student achievement) 

Phase in:
  • 16 provides for the annual consensus revenue agreement on implementation that was in the Promise Act and earlier bills
  • 25 requires phase-in be equitable but also allows for a phase-in extention to 2030
  • 53 requires proportional phase in of the recommendations
  • 59 requires an annual report on phase-in as well as an annual hearing 

Special education:
  • 28 bumps the low income assumption to 5% across the board

  • 12 mandates 100 minutes of recess a week for K-5 and forbids making it shorter

Charter schools:
  • 19 requires that the financial impact of charter schools be considered when considering their applications
  • 29 creates a charter school policy commission 
  • 51 deducts charter reimbursement from net school spending calculations (huh?)
  • 60 creates a working group on charter school funding and reimbursement 
  • 61 would take any charter reimbursement not funded out of the charter school's allocation 
  • 62 includes minimum aid in the provision of Ch. 70 (so a district can be funded over foundation due to state requirements) and locks the out-of-district transportation reimbursement in as part of the full provision of the act (I don't think I entirely understand that one)

  • 13 requires that each district with an athletic program have a licensed athletic trainer
Other commissions:
  • 18 specifically DROPS "expanding use of technology to deliver instruction and enable operating efficiences" and switches " encouraging ways to reduce costs and improve educational outcomes" to "encouraging ways to improve fiscal health and educational outcomes" and "reorganizing" to "optimizing" from the recommendations to come from the rural schools study
  • 20 creates an Unfunded Mandates Task Force
  • 22 would have the report on Rural Schools only report out on low-income districts unless warranted by the study
  • 23 would add an appointee of the minority leader of the House to the 21st century advisory committee
  • 27 requires that the commission reporting out on municipal wealth specifically consider the impact of Prop 2 1/2
  • 33 would require a study of the circuit breaker and out-of-district special education provision
  • 63 creates a commission on debt-free higher ed
  • 64 adds some members and some new reporting requirements to the Rural Schools Commission
  • 66 would create a special education commission to study provision of services 
  • 21 prioritizes "school safety" funding in MSBA considerations
  • 44 would further bump the MSBA funding cap to $800M
Parent engagement
  • 26 requires that such parental engagement required by the bill specifically considers specific subgroups in doing so and report out on it
  • 30 requires reimbursement of homeless student transportation, less federal reimbursements by November 20
Municipal calculation:
  • 31 is intended as a sort of smoothing of municipal wealth calculations, requiring that in towns of less than 6000 people, the bottom and top 5% of residents be dropped from both the income and property values 
Recovery high school:
  • 40 would allow for creation of a reserve fund locally for recovery high schools
  • 41 would add reimbursement for recovery high school transportation
  • 42 would study the costs of sending students to a recovery high school 
Early college high school:
  • 46 would recognize early college programs for the same level of funding as vocational programs
  • 47 would add early college to the spreadsheet at an increment above high school but below vocational (that was the Governor's plan)
Random other things:
  • 45 requires a "school-based threat assessment team" at each secondary school that would create a threat assessment policy
  • 48 creates an innovative health partnership
  • 50 would add Easton to the Cambridge labor market adjuster 
  • 54 allows 71B (out of district special education) schools to apply for the grants in the bill
  • 55 mandates that each high school student must meet with a guidance counselor at least one each year
  • 56 would create a certification for autism services
  • 57 would bring back a full-day K grant specifically to get it everywhere in the state
  • 58 creates a certification bonus for districts running programs leading to vocational certification
  • 67 would set "(a)strong institutional leadership, (b) active student engagement in their education; and (c) differentiated instruction" as what is considered in awarding 21st century grants
  • 68 would require financial literacy instruction
  • 69 would creating a "Learning Innovation for Tomorrow" (LIFT) fund for funding innovation in education in districts 
The Senate takes this up for debate Thursday! 

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