Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The House is leaving the most vulnerable kids out: UPDATED WITH WHAT'S IN

Sure enough, per State House News (paywalled):

The bill, which is being polled by the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday afternoon, would specifically make adjustments to the formula in how it accounts for special education and health insurance costs.
The five-page bill also directs the Department of Education to conduct a study on how the formula meets the needs of low-income and English language learner students with the goal of making recommendations to the legislature on ways to serve those populations.

We did a study. Three years ago.

Time to call your reps and tell them leaving poor kids and kids learning English out is not fair, equitable, just, or okay in any way with you.


I've put the bill in my Dropbox here for your perusal. I also just did a Twitter thread starting here on what's in it and what's not. Here's what it looks like:

  • On in-district special education, the House bill bumps the assumed enrollment to 4% for most districts, 5% for vocationals. That's more than the Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendation of 3.75% of regular districts, 4.75% for vocationals. Better than recommendation.
  • On out-of-district special educaton, the House bill multiplies the statewide average per pupil foundation budget by THREE before subtracting the average plus the out-of-district cost rate. The Foundation Budget Review Commission multiplied by FOUR before the subtraction. Worse than recommendation.
  • There is then a very, very long (longer than the funding section) section on data collection. This was part of the FBRC recommendations, but is also already being partly dealt with through MASBO working with DESE. The final section allows for a researcher "subject to appropriation" to do this. Meh.
  • On ELL and low income, the House bill sends them to DESE for study, calling for an independent reseacher (which the bill does not fund), to report back in December of 2018. The House bill calls for precisely what the Foundation Budget Review Commission researched and responded to, plus work DESE has already been doing on capturing all low income students in the count. THIS STUDY HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE THREE YEARS AGO (check page 9 and following) and continues to kick the can on our most vulnerable student populations. Much worse than recommendation

What should you do now?

  • Call your reps.
  • Tell them you appreciate the House taking action.
  • Note that this bill DOES NOT implement the recommendations of the Commission.
  • Ask them to propose and support amendments to IMPLEMENT the already-studied-and-vetted-and approved recommendations on English learners and low income students. 

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