Medfield’s #s in the budget proposal –
|Contact Your Legislator Today!|
|HOUSE W&M COMMITTEE OFFERS $47.65B FY22 BUDGET WITH KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL & SCHOOL AID • INCLUDES THE FULL $39.5M INCREASE IN UGGA • INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $21M ABOVE GOV’S BUDGET TO FUND THE STUDENT OPPORTUNITY ACT ON SCHEDULE • INCREASES CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS BY $37M • ADDS $55M FOR STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND SUMMER SCHOOL GRANTS • INCLUDES $367M TO FUND THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER • RESTORES $6M TO LEVEL FUND REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANS. AT FY21 LEVEL • ADDS $1M TO McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS OVER FY21 •ADDS $2M TO PILOT |
April 14, 2021
Dear Osler Peterson,
Earlier today, the House Ways & Means Committee advanced a $47.65 billion fiscal 2022 state budget plan to the full House for consideration later this month. The plan would increase overall state expenditures by 2.6 percent over the current year’s budget, and reflects a 3.9 percent increase over the Governor’s January budget proposal. The HW&M budget matches the 3.5% increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) in the Gov’s budget, adds a significant increase to Chapter 70 school aid and Charter School reimbursements, and includes $55 million in important new grant programs.
The full House will start debate on the FY22 budget on April 26, and House members must file all budget amendments by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16. The House usually considers over 1000 amendments during budget debate week.
H. 4000, the House Ways & Means budget, provides progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $39.5 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor proposed and communities are counting on. The House Ways & Means budget also mirrors the Governor’s proposed increase for Special Education Circuit Breaker, with an increase over FY 2021 of $22.5 million.
The HW&M budget would increase funding for other major aid programs, by adding $21 million to Chapter 70 aid above the House One recommendation, for a total increase of $219 million; $37 million in additional funds for Charter School Mitigation payments, and an additional $1 million for McKinney-Vento transportation for homeless students. To acknowledge student enrollment declines due to the public health emergency, H. 4000 would set aside $40 million in a one-time reserve account to assist districts impacted by the decline, as well as $15 million in one-time grant funding for summer school and student mental health support. The proposal would also provide an increase of $1 million for public libraries and $1 million for regional public libraries. H. 4000 also proposes a $2 million increase for the Payment-in-Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land account.
Later Today or By the End of the Week You Can Use this Link to See Your Community’s Local Aid and Preliminary Cherry Sheet Numbers in the House Ways & Means Budget, as Posted by the Division of Local Services You Can Link to the HW&M Committee’s Budget Here
$39.5 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In January, the Administration kept its commitment to cities and towns to tie the increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid to the projected rate of growth in state tax revenues. This year, that increase was 3.5%, representing an increase of $39.5 million. The House Ways and Means FY 2022 plan would provide $1.168 billion for UGGA, reflecting the same increase proposed by Governor Baker. In a statement released by the Chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee last week, the two chambers have reached an agreement on this amount and every city and town will see their UGGA funding increase by 3.5%. This is welcome news to provide stability and predictability in municipal budgeting.
CHAPTER 70 AID RETURNS TO ORIGINAL STUDENT OPPORTUNITY ACT SCHEDULE
The House budget committee is proposing a $219 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid ($21 million higher than the $197.7 million increase in H. 1), which would fund the “goal rates” originally set forth in the Student Opportunity Act. The SOA schedule set a 7-year schedule beginning in FY 2021, but that was sidelined last year due to the public health emergency. To get back on track, the MMA joined with other education advocates to ask the Legislature to fund Chapter 70 at an SOA implementation rate of 1/6th rather than 1/7th in order to return to the intended schedule. Last week, House and Senate leaders reached a local aid funding agreement, which included this commitment to fund the increases in the SOA at 1/6th, funding Chapter 70 at a total of $5.503 billion. While this is important progress for districts, most districts remain at minimum aid.
CHARTER SCHOOL MITIGATION PAYMENTS WOULD INCREASE BY $37 MILLION
House Ways & Means is proposing a total of $154 million for Charter School Mitigation Payments, which reflects an increase of $37 million over the current fiscal year. In keeping with the first year of a 3-year phase-in funding schedule outlined in the Student Opportunity Act, this investment meets the Legislature’s statutory obligation to fund charter school reimbursements at 75%. Charter school finance still presents a major challenge to many districts, in a number of cases negating the increases districts realize in Chapter 70 aid.
$367 MILLION FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In line with the Governor’s budget recommendation in January, the House Ways & Means Committee’s budget includes the Governor’s recommendation of $367 million for Special Education Circuit Breaker, a $22.5 million increase over FY 2021. The Student Opportunity Act expanded the circuit breaker by including out-of-district transportation, an important enhancement for cities and towns.
HW&M PROVIDES MIXED FUNDING FOR SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION ACCOUNTS
The House Ways & Means budget level funds regional transportation at $82 million. The budget would increase transportation for homeless students under McKinney-Vento by $1million to $14.4 million. There is no line item for out-of-district vocational transportation, which last year was funded at $250,000.
PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT) AND LIBRARY AID
Recognizing the importance of Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOTS) for state-owned land, the House Ways & Means Committee increased the line-item by $2 million to $33 million. The Governor’s budget had recommended level-funding at $31 million. Underfunding PILOT over the years has created a significant hardship for smaller communities with large amounts of state-owned property. The accounts for public libraries and regional public libraries would each see an increase of $1 million.
It is clear that House leaders are prioritizing K-12 funding and other increases for cities and towns, as they advance an agenda to ensure stability during a time of uncertainty. The local funding aid agreement reached by the Joint Ways and Means Committee last week, including commitments to UGGA, Chapter 70, and the acknowledgement of school enrollment challenges, will create a more stable budget-setting process for cities and towns in the weeks and months ahead. This progress is deeply appreciated. During the budget debate and legislative session, the MMA will work to build on this progress, and will continue to advocate for full funding of the education funding priorities outlined in the Student Opportunity Act, fixing the serious problems caused by the current charter school system, securing higher Chapter 70 minimum aid increases, achieving full funding for all municipal and school reimbursement programs, and providing higher PILOT funding.
Please Call Your Representatives Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the House Ways and Means Committee Budget Please Explain How the House Ways and Means Budget Would Impact Your Community, and Ask Your Representatives to Build on this Progress During the Budget Debate Thank You!