The House budget is out this afternoon, and from my look I compute that it is about $25K more in Chap. 70 aid for Medfield that the Governor’s budget. This is the Massachusetts Municipal Association alert –
HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE OFFERS $40.98B FY 2019 STATE BUDGET THAT MAKES KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL AID
• INCLUDES THE FULL $37.2M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA)
• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $125M TO FUND MINIMUM AID AT $30 PER STUDENT
• ADDS $18.8M TO THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
• ADDS $1M MORE FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
• LEVEL-FUNDS MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS
April 11, 2018
Dear Osler Peterson,
Earlier this afternoon, the House Ways & Means Committee reported out a $40.98 billion fiscal 2019 state budget plan to increase overall state expenditures by 3.1 percent. The House Ways and Means budget is $83 million more than the budget filed by the Governor in January, increasing Chapter 70 aid by $21 million above the Governor’s recommendation by increasing minimum aid from $20 per student to $30 per student. The full House will debate the fiscal 2019 state budget during the week of April 23.
- 4400, the House Ways and Means budget, provides progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $37.2 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor proposed and communities are counting on. The House W&M Committee would increase funding for other major aid programs, by adding $18.8 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker, adding $1 million to Regional School Transportation, $1 million to McKinney-Vento reimbursements, and increasing Chapter 70 aid by $125 million more than fiscal 2018 levels.
$37.2 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In a major victory for cities and towns, the HW&M fiscal 2019 budget plan would provide $1.1 billion for UGGA, a $37.2 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Governor Baker. The $37.2 million would increase UGGA funding by 3.5 percent, which matches the projected growth in state tax collections next year. Every city and town would see their UGGA funding increase by 3.5 percent.
CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID WOULD INCREASE TO $30 PER STUDENT
The House budget committee is proposing a $125 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid (this is $21 million higher than the $103.6 million increase in House Two), with a provision that every city, town and school district receive an increase of at least $30 per student (compared to the $20-per-student amount in the Governor’s budget). The House budget would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007. Further, the House Ways & Means Committee proposal would build on the Governor’s initial proposal to start addressing shortfalls in the foundation budget framework, by increasing the cost factors for employee health insurance by $39 million more than in fiscal 2018.
In the context of a tight budget year, the House budget committee’s increase in Chapter 70 funding is progress over the Governor’s proposal that was filed in January. The MMA continues to give top priority to full funding for the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations, and over the long-term will work to build on this increase.
Please ask your Legislators to support a funding increase for Chapter 70 school aid that ensures that all schools receive a suitable and appropriate increase in fiscal 2019, which the MMA targets at $100 per student. The MMA also strongly supports implementation of all of the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission to update the Chapter 70 “foundation budget” minimum spending standards for special education and employee health insurance, and to add to the spending standard a measure of recognition for the cost of services for low-income, English Language Learner (ELL) and other students who would benefit from more intensive services. The Commission recommended phasing in the changes over a four-year period, a position the MMA supports as well. Increasing minimum aid and fixing the inadequacies in the foundation formula are essential.
$18.8 MILLION INCREASE GETS CLOSER TO FULL FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In H. 4400, House leaders have announced that they support increased funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program. The House budget plan would provide $300 million, an $8.9 million increase above the Governor’s proposed fiscal 2019 level of $291.1 million, and $18.8 million more than the $281.2 million fiscal 2018 level. However, the House budget would still be about $23 million short of full funding in fiscal 2019. This is a vital program that every city, town and school district relies on to fund state-mandated services. The MMA and local leaders will work to build on this increase to get to full funding during the Legislature’s budget deliberations.
ADDS $1 MILLION TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
House Ways and Means Committee budget would add $1 million to bring regional transportation reimbursements up to $62.5 million, compared to the Governor’s proposal to level fund the program at $61.5 million. The MMA will work to continue building on this increase to get to full funding.
CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS WOULD BE FUNDED AT $90 MILLION
Both budgets filed by the Governor and the House Ways & Means Committee would underfund charter school reimbursements in fiscal 2019. The HW&M budget would provide $90 million, compared to the Governor’s recommendation to level fund the program at $80.5 million. Both proposals are far below the amount necessary to fully fund the statutory formula that was originally established to offset a portion of the funding that communities are required to transfer to charter schools. The fiscal 2018 funding level is $73.4 million below what is necessary to fund the reimbursement formula that is written into state law. If the HW&M amount is enacted, the shortfall will grow to an estimated $76.8 million in fiscal 2019. This would lead to the continued and growing diversion of Chapter 70 funds away from municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve 96% of public school children. Solving the charter school funding problem must be a major priority during the budget debate.
PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT), LIBRARY AID ACCOUNTS, METCO, McKINNEY-VENTO, AND SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANTS
The House budget committee’s proposal would level-fund PILOT payments at $26.77 million, provide $91K less to library grant programs, add $1.5 million to METCO, and add $1 million to McKinney-Vento reimbursements at $9.1 million. The HW&M budget would level fund Shannon Anti-Gang Grants at $6 million.
Please Call Your Representatives Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the House Ways and Means Committee Budget – Which Increases Direct Municipal and School Aid Accounts by $41 Million More Than the Governor’s Budget
Please Explain How the House Ways and Means Budget Impacts Your Community, and Ask Your Representatives to Build on this Progress During Budget Debate in the House