Friday, January 25, 2019

What changed in the foundation budget in Governor Baker's proposal?

Let me note again here that I'm tracking FY20 over in the spreadsheet here, and I have attempted to summarize the information below in the "notes" section next to the Governor's budget for Chapter 70 (as the foundation budget, of course, directly impacts Ch. 70 aid).

As always, if anything I write there or anywhere doesn't make sense to you or needs more explanation, let me know!

The foundation budget, you might remember, usually only changes by enrollment (more kids, or kids changing grade or status) and the inflation rate. Last year, we saw English learners shifted to an increment and a bump in the health insurance line beyond the inflation rate. This year, there's a lot more. To wit:
  • The inflation rate for this year is 3.6%; HOWEVER, it is not being applied to health insurance, which is instead being increased by 7%. This latter increase is intended to put the health insurance line in sync with GIC increases (not rates, of course, as there is lots of ground to make up there). 
  • The OTHER category to which the regular inflation rate does not apply is out-of-district special education. You might remember that the Foundation Budget Review Commission intended to bring this rate up to that which triggers the circuit breaker (for particularly expensive student services). The increase in this category steps towards that (it's a 6.9% increase over last year).
  • The Governor's budget adds a new category of student: early college high school. This year, the base rate for that is $10,575/pupil, which is $100 more than the high school rate proposed this year. Statewide, 1300 students are enrolled in these programs. 
  • English learners are being divided into only three sections (PK-5; 6-8; 9-12) from seven, and the funding is progressively weighted towards older learners ($2,177.17; $2,721.46; $3,265.74, respectively). This is still an increment (it's on top of the base funding for a student at that grade level). IMPORTANT POINT: DESE has SHIFTED the cutoff for an English learner (to 4.2 overall and 3.9 on literacy on the ACCESS test of last January), which means that 6000 FEWER students count as English learners (that's a drop of about 6%). 
  • Economically disadvantaged students remain in ten deciles, with more funding with a higher concentration of such students; this year, those deciles are also weighted progressively towards greater need (the steps are about $50/pupil on the lower end, going up over $60/pupil on the higher end).
  • There is a new addition of high needs, which is $25.94/pupil for every economically disadvantaged student in a district in economically disadvantaged decile 9 and 10 in a district that also has 20% or higher English learner students over two years. 
  • There is a $20/pupil minimum increase and 100% effort reduction.
More as I have it! 

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