Category Archives: Financial

Cherry sheet budget #s – Senate’s #s yet to come

FY2023 Preliminary Cherry Sheet Estimates
All Municipalities

State budget – Gov.’s version – town share up $96K

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –





 

GOV. BAKER FILES $48.5 BILLION FY23 SPENDING PLAN
FILES A COMPANION $693M TAX RELIEF BILL
• $31.5M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (2.7%)
• CH. 70 PLAN WOULD INCREASE FY23 SCHOOL AID BY $485M (8.8%)
• 43% OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS WOULD RECEIVE NEW AID OF ONLY $30/STUDENT
• CHARTER SCHOOL & SPECIAL ED REIMBURSEMENTS INCREASE
• MIXED RESULTS FOR OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS
 
At 2 p.m. today, Gov. Charlie Baker submitted a $48.5 billion fiscal 2023 state budget plan, House 2, with the Legislature.
 
UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID WOULD INCREASE BY $31.5 MILLION
Gov. Baker’s budget includes a $31.5 million increase in the Unrestricted General Government Aid account, a 2.7% increase over fiscal 2022 levels. As the MMA stated during our Annual Meeting this past weekend, a 2.7% increase is too low, and we will be working with local leaders and lawmakers to advocate for an increase that reflects the actual growth in revenues that the state is receiving. With capped property taxes and inflation running higher than 2.7%, cities and towns need a much higher level of UGGA aid to maintain essential services.
 
The Administration is calculating revenue growth using a methodology that omits a large portion of the record-setting revenue collections that the state has experienced during the past year. This way of benchmarking growth works to the disadvantage of cities and towns, and minimizes revenue sharing amounts. Fiscal 2023 state tax collections will be $2.5 billion higher (7.3%) than the tax base that was used to pass the fiscal 2022 budget last July, and $6.8 billion higher (22%) than the original FY22 projection from a year ago. The Administration is using the highest possible revenue estimate for fiscal 2022 ($35.95 billion, set less than two weeks ago), which would tie UGGA to an artificially low growth projection, even though actual growth will be much higher.
 
Click here to see the Division of Local Services preliminary fiscal 2023 Cherry Sheet aid amounts for your city or town
 
Click here to see the Division of Local Services preliminary fiscal 2023 Cherry Sheet aid amounts for regional school districts
 
OVERALL CHAPTER 70 SCHOOL AID WOULD GO UP BY $485 MILLION, AN 8.8% INCREASE – ALTHOUGH 43% OF DISTRICTS WOUD REMAIN AT MINIMUM AID ONLY
The Governor’s budget recommendation continues implementation of the funding schedules in the 2019 Student Opportunity Act (SOA) that were delayed in fiscal 2021 and then funded at a rate of one-sixth, rather than one-seventh, in fiscal 2022 to stay on track with the law’s intended implementation schedule. House 2 represents funding the Student Opportunity Act at a rate of two-sixths.
 
Fulfilling the commitments in the Student Opportunity Act, the Governor’s fiscal 2023 budget submission would bring Chapter 70 school aid up to $5.98 billion, a $485 million increase in school aid. The majority of the funds would implement the improvements to the foundation budget, adding weight for low-income students, English Language Learners, special education costs, and school employee health benefits. While this is important progress, an initial examination of the budget indicates that 136 of 318 operating districts (43%) would remain minimum-aid-only, and receive the minimum $30 per-student increase in the Act. These 136 districts would receive a total increase of $9.3 million, and the remaining districts would receive $475.8 million more. The MMA will continue to strongly advocate for minimum aid of $100 per student to ensure that all districts can at least keep pace with inflation and maintain their school services.
 
Click here to see DESE’s calculation of fiscal 2023 Chapter 70 aid and Net School Spending requirements for your city, town, or regional school district,
based on the Governor’s proposed budget and legislation.
 
This landing page will also include the preliminary fiscal 2023 charter school assessments and reimbursements.
 
CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS WOULD INCREASE TO $219M – CHARTER FUNDING REMAINS A SERIOUS PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED
The Governor’s budget would increase the charter school reimbursement account up to $219 million, intended to meet the commitment in the Student Opportunity Act to fund 90% of the state’s 100-60-40 statutory obligation to mitigate Chapter 70 losses to charter schools. A portion of this $64.8 million increase would simply be a pass-through to charter schools by funding an increase in the per-student facilities amount that charter schools receive.
 
The Student Opportunity Act pledges to phase in full funding of the statutory reimbursement formula over three years, and while this plan may continue to meet that requirement, it would not fix the serious flaws in the charter school finance system. Charter schools will continue to divert a high percentage of Chapter 70 funds away from many municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve the vast majority of public school children. Major problems will continue unless a true resolution of the charter school funding problem is achieved, which is a top MMA priority.
 
SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER INCREASED TO $414M
The Governor’s budget would add $41.2 million to fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker program at $414 million, an increase of 11%. The Student Opportunity Act expanded the special education circuit breaker by including out-of-district transportation, an important enhancement for cities and towns.
 
REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENTS CUT BY 5.3%
Gov. Baker’s budget submission would reduce funding for regional transportation reimbursements from $82.1 million this fiscal year to $77.8 million. This would be a hardship for virtually all communities in regional districts. Reimbursements for transportation of out-of-district vocational students remains significantly underfunded at $250,000. Increasing these accounts is a priority for cities and towns and the MMA.
 
McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS INCREASED
The Governor’s budget would increase reimbursements for the transportation of homeless students from $14.4 million this year to $22.9 million in fiscal 2023. The impact of this funding level will vary from community-to-community depending on the number of homeless families that remain sheltered in local hotels and motels. The Administration has been successful in reducing the number of homeless students who are dislocated from their original district, but those communities that continue to provide transportation to many students rely on this account.
 
PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT) LEVEL-FUNDED
The Governor’s budget would level-fund PILOT payments at $35 million, which would be a significant hardship for many smaller, rural communities with large amounts of state-owned land. This is a key account due to the major impact that PILOT payments have on budgets in very small communities, and level-funding falls short of the Legislature’s goal of phasing in full funding by fiscal 2024.
 
THE GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING APPROXIMATELY $700 MILLION TO FUND TAX CUTS
As Gov. Baker announced at his State of the Commonwealth address last night, and when he released his budget proposal today, he is proposing a series of tax cuts, many targeted for struggling residents, and others targeted toward wealthier individuals. These provisions would permanently reduce state revenues, essentially opting for tax reductions over funding for existing or new state programs. The Legislature is expected to examine these closely before making commitments. These are the main items (cost estimates are very preliminary):
 
– Doubling the tax credits for dependent care ($167 million)
– Increasing the cap on the income tax deduction for rent from $3,000 to $5,000 ($77 million)
– Doubling the maximum Senior Property Tax Circuit Breaker tax credit ($60 million)
– Reducing the estate tax ($277 million)
– Reducing the short-term capital gains tax rate to 5% ($117 million)
– Increasing the no-tax threshold for lower-wage taxpayers ($41 million)
 
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY AND LET THEM KNOW THAT CITIES AND TOWNS NEED UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID TO INCREASE BY MORE THAN 2.7%. WITH RECORD STATE REVENUE COLLECTIONS, LOCAL AID NEEDS A HIGHER INCREASE TO FUND ESSENTIAL SERVICES IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
 
WHEN TALKING WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS, EXPLAIN THE NEED FOR ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR KEY ACCOUNTS, INCLUDING HIGHER MINIMUM EDUCATION AID AND FULL FUNDING FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION, PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES, AND CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS
 
THANK YOU!

 













 
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State local aid to go up 2.7%

The Lt. Gov. was giving her last speech to the municipal leaders this morning at the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting. She got emotionally choked up at the end as she said goodbye to us for the last time. Tomorrow we hear from Gov. Baker, Sen. Markey, and Sen. Warren. The MMA annual meeting went from being in person to virtual (and free) in about a week. Both Polito and Baker are former Select Board members, so they are especially liked.

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association –

  Breaking News from the MMA  


At MMA Annual Meeting, Lt. Gov. Polito announces 2.7% local aid increase in FY23 budget proposal

Speaking to 500 local leaders from across the state this morning during the virtual MMA Annual Meeting, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced that the fiscal 2023 state budget the administration plans to file next week proposes to increase Unrestricted General Government Aid by $35.1 million, or 2.7%.

The increase would match the consensus state revenue growth forecast announced last week, but the MMA is pointing out that the forecast fails to account for record-breaking tax collections in fiscal 2021 and so far in fiscal 2022. …

SBC Community Forum 10/28 at 7PM

From Susan Maritan for the School Building Committee –

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here is the Zoom info:

To join this meeting remotely use this link:

https://medfield-net.zoom.us/j/81811271412?pwd=eWhwekR4NmYrTWtKd1BqUThqR0I5UT09

Enter Password: 169765

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES $3.65B SPENDING PLAN FOR ARPA AND STATE SURPLUS  

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES $3.65B SPENDING PLAN FOR ARPA AND STATE SURPLUS  

October 25, 2021  

Dear Osler Peterson,  

Today, the House Committee on Ways and Means announced a $3.65 billion spending plan that draws from two revenue sources: the state’s multi-billion dollar fiscal 2021 surplus and its allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund.  

The House proposal (H. 4219) targets seven major categories: housing, environment and climate change mitigation, economic development, workforce, health and human services, education, and food insecurity.   House members have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to file amendments, and debate is scheduled to begin on Thursday. After the House approves its proposal, the Senate is expected to offer its own bill in the coming weeks.  

The following are the highlights of H. 4219:  

Housing The $600 million proposed for housing programs includes targeted investments in supportive housing production, public housing maintenance, homeownership assistance, the CommonWealth Building Program, and affordable housing production.  

Environment and climate The bill includes $350 million for environmental infrastructure and development spending, with a focus on environmental justice communities. Targeted investments include Marine Port Development and Offshore Wind, environmental infrastructure projects aimed at bolstering communities’ climate resiliency, water and sewer infrastructure improvements, greening the Gateway Cities, and upgrades to state parks and recreational facilities.   Of the $350 million, $100 million would go to low-income, environmental justice and urban communities to improve climate resiliency. A $100 million water and sewer infrastructure component also prioritizes projects that support environmental justice populations and those disproportionately impacted by the public health emergency.  

Economic development With $777 million allocated for economic development, the House proposal includes a $500 million investment in the Unemployment Trust Fund, aid for the recovery of the cultural sector of the economy through the Massachusetts Cultural Council, funding for the YouthWorks summer jobs program, tax relief for small businesses, and money to help close the digital divide and assist in the resettlement of Afghan refugees.  

Workforce The bill would focus $750 million on workforce issues, including $500 million for premium pay bonuses for essential workers who worked in-person during the state of emergency, as well as funds for the Workforce Competitive Trust Fund and career technical institutes and vocational schools.  

Health and human services The bill targets relief for financially strained providers, such as hospital and nursing facilities, and investments in workforce initiatives, behavioral health programs, technical infrastructure for community health center improvements, prison reentry grants, and community-based violence prevention.  

Education The House proposal seeks to address disparities in public school facilities, including $100 million for HVAC grants to be distributed through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education under the guidance of the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council. Additional education investments include higher education capital projects, the endowment incentive program, special education needs, and pathways to educator licensure for Black, indigenous, and people of color.  

Food insecurity The bill includes $78 million to address food insecurity, focusing on infrastructure grants.  

In June, Gov. Charlie Baker proposed his plan to spend roughly half of the Commonwealth’s State and Local Coronavirus Relief Funds, and in August, the governor filed a separate supplemental budget bill to spend a large portion of the fiscal 2021 state surplus. The Legislature passed a scaled-back supplemental budget — signed by the governor on Oct. 21 — that delayed decisions on how to spend much of the state surplus.
twitter linkedin   Massachusetts Municipal Association 3 Center Plaza Suite 610 Boston, MA 02108 (617) 426-7272 | Email Us | View our website       Unsubscribe from MMA Legislative Alert Emails  
Higher Logic

State $ support to Medfield up $127K next year

Email received today from the Division of Local Services (DLS), a part of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FY2022 Preliminary Cherry Sheets Estimates 

The FY2022  Conference Committee Report was released on Thursday July 8th and approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate Friday July 9th.  As a result, DLS has updated the preliminary cherry sheet estimates to reflect these new funding levels. The preliminary cherry sheets can be found on the DLS website.

Click here for Preliminary Municipal Cherry Sheet Estimates or here for Preliminary Regional Cherry Sheet Estimates.

If you have any questions about the preliminary estimates, please contact the Data Analytics and Resources Bureau at databank@dor.state.ma.us.

County on our ARPA monies

This from the County Commissioners. It is not clear to me how much they intend to administer our ARPA monies, versus just paying us our ARPA monies. Reading the 2024 and 2026 dates causes me some concern about their planned level and length of involvement.

The County of Presidents
CLERK:
WALTER F. TIMILTY
July 12, 2021
COMMONWEAL TH OF MASSACHUSETTS
COUNTY OF NORFOLK
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JOSEPH P. SHEA, CHAIRMAN, QUINCY
PETER H. COLLINS, MIL TON
RICHARD R. STAITI, CANTON
Dear Norfolk County Executive,
TRUSTEES OF
NORFOLK COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL
We are pleased to announce that on July 7, 2021, the Norfolk County Commissioners voted
unanimously to accept the funds associated with the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).
This action effectively allows the County Treasurer to apply for these federal funds and to have
the County Commissioners administer the funds on behalf of the Norfolk County Communities.
Norfolk County is expected to receive a total of approximately $13 7 Million over the life of this
grant. The County Director is working to develop a program for communities to make
application and receive awards from this grant.
The Norfolk County Commissioners firmly believe that working with other counties will benefit
our shared mission to provide direct support to the communities we service. On July 1, 2021, the
County Commissioners participated in a tri-county meeting with the Plymouth and Bristol
County Commissioners to exchange ideas and gain a common knowledge of grant administration
to provide more efficient and cost effective grant management for the betterment of our
respective counties. During this meeting, Plymouth County offered detai ls of the plan they
developed to manage distribution of CARES act funds.
The Plymouth County model proposes to fund the administration costs of the ARP A program via
interest gained from the federal grant funds held by the County Treasurer until released to the
respective cities and towns. The goal of this plan is to have all available grant funds flow
directly to the communities.
As the County Treasurer prepares to make application for funds to the United States Treasury,
we will commence our program development to prepare a similar plan to administer these funds
according to the Interim Final Rule guidelines. This process will take time. We ask each
community to patiently work with us toward building a successful program. Our approach will
include the following planned steps;
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES 614 HIGH STREET SUITE 201 P.O. BOX 310 DEDHAM, MA 02027-0310
TEL: (781) 461-6105 FAX: (781) 326-6480 EMAIL: info@norfolkcounty.org WEBSITE: www.norfolkcounty.org
SERVING THE COMMUNITIES OF: AVON, BELLINGHAM, BRAINTREE, BROOKLINE, CANTON, COHASSET, DEDHAM. DOVER, FOXBOROUGH, FRANKLIN, HOLBROOK, MEDFIELD.
MEDWAY, MILLIS, MILTON, NEEDHAM, NORFOLK, NORWOOD, PLAINVILLE, QUINCY, RANDOLPH, SHARON, STOUGHTON, WALPOLE, WELLESLEY, WESTWOOD, WEYMOUTH, WRENTHAM
~75C
A. Within the next 30 days
Conduct a virtual meeting with Town executives and Advisory Board members. The agenda will
include hearing from community leaders about specific needs, ideas, and any questions
concerning program management.
B. Within the next 45 days
Conduct a separate virtual meeting with Norfolk County Finance Committee members to
similarly address plan management and fund management.
We understand the County communities desire to secure these funds as soon as possible. This
need, however, should be coupled with the understanding that deliberate program development
and sound management will allow us to handle our communities grant needs until December 31,
2024 when this grant ends (period of performance through December 31, 2026).
Our main goal is to provide the Norfolk County communities with exceptional service to manage
these funds with a program designed to optimize resources and expedite payments while
adhering to the grant guidelines.
We are very excited for this opportunity to share these resources and collaborate with each
community to help make all our Norfolk County communities stronger for years to come.
Peter H. Collins
County Commissioner
Joseph P. Shea
Chairman
Richard R. Staiti
County Commissioner

Medfield’s FY2022 Preliminary Cherry Sheet Estimates show a $130K increase over last year

These state aide estimates are from the Division of Local Services (DLS) at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Next a conference committee has to reconcile the different amounts proposed by the legislature and the senate. –

Senate W&M budget released

SENATE W&M COMMITTEE OFFERS $47.6B FY22 BUDGET WITH KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL & SCHOOL AID 

• INCLUDES THE FULL $39.5M INCREASE IN UGGA
• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $220M ABOVE FY21,FUNDING THE STUDENT OPPORTUNITY ACT ON SCHEDULE
• INCREASES CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS BY $31.7M• ADDS $46M FOR STUDENT ENROLLMENT AND SUMMER SCHOOL GRANTS
• INCLUDES $389M TO FUND THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER• ADDS $1M TO McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS OVER FY21
•ADDS $4M TO PILOT 

May 11, 2021 

Dear Osler Peterson, 

Earlier today, the Senate Ways & Means Committee advanced a $47.6 billion fiscal 2022 state budget plan to the full Senate for consideration later this month. The plan would increase overall state expenditures by 2.6% over the current year’s budget, and reflects a 4.3% increase over the Governor’s January budget proposal. The SW&M budget matches the 3.5% increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) in the Governor’s and House budgets, would significantly increase Chapter 70 school aid, and includes $40 million in a one-time grant program targeting student enrollment decline. 

The full Senate will start debate on the FY22 budget on Tuesday, May 25, and Senate members must file all budget amendments by 2 p.m. on Friday, May 14. The Senate usually considers over 1,000 amendments during budget debate week. 

The SW&M budget would increase funding for other major aid programs by adding $220 million to Chapter 70 aid over FY21; $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, S. 3 would set aside $40 million in a one-time reserve account to assist districts impacted by the decline, as well as $6 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. S.3 also proposes a $4 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 Senate Ways & Means Budget, as Posted by the Division of Local Services 

You Can Link to the SW&M Committee’s Budget Here 

Chapter 70

The Senate Ways & Means budget would increase Chapter 70 aid by $220 million over FY21, bringing the total to $5.503 billion. S. 3 would fund the “goal rates” originally set forth in the Student Opportunity Act, which set a seven-year schedule that was to begin in FY21 but 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 one-sixth rather than one-seventh in order to return to the intended schedule. The House-Senate local aid agreement included a commitment to fund the Student Opportunity Act increases at one-sixth. S. 3 includes a one-time provision, introduced in the Governor’s budget and supported by the MMA, that would allow municipalities to use a portion of their school district’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) federal grant award toward the increase from last year in their required local contribution. The House did not include this language. 

Rural School Aid
Rural School Aid is funded at $3 million, reinserting an important account for rural school districts, especially those struggling with declining enrollment. The Governor funded this account at $1.5 million, half of the FY21 appropriation, and the House did not include the line item. 

Special Education Circuit Breaker
S. 3 provides $387.9 million, including approximately $15 million funds carried over from the previous year, for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the high cost of educating students with disabilities at the statutorily required 75% reimbursement rate. This reimbursement rate, as well as the inclusion of costs associated with out-of-district transportation, reflect obligations outlined in the Student Opportunity Act. The total appropriation is higher than the budgets offered by the Governor and the House. 

Charter Schools
To address charter school mitigation payments, S. 3 includes $149.1 million to reimburse school districts at 75%, the rate set forth in year one of the Student Opportunity Act implementation schedule, for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools, which is $5 million below the House budget. The MMA points out that charter school finance presents a major challenge to many districts, in a number of cases negating the increases districts realize in Chapter 70 aid. 

School Transportation
The Senate Ways and Means budget decreases regional school transportation to $78.6 million. The House budget was higher at $82 million. The Senate Ways and Means budget would increase transportation for homeless students under McKinney-Vento by $1 million over FY21, to $14.4 million. Out-of-district vocational transportation is level-funded at $250,000. 

PILOT Funding Increased
Recognizing the importance of Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOTS) for state-owned land, the Senate Ways & Means Committee increased the line item to $35 million (a $4 million increase over FY21). The Governor’s budget had recommended level-funding at $31 million; the House increased the account to $33 million. Underfunding PILOT over the years has created a significant hardship for smaller communities with large amounts of state-owned property. 

Shannon Grants, Cybersecurity, and Library Aid
S. 3 includes level-funding for the Shannon grants for gang violence prevention and intervention, and includes critical funding for the Mass Cybersecurity Innovation Fund, which provides important outreach and training programs for municipalities. The accounts for public libraries and regional public libraries would each see an increase of $1 million, matching the House proposal. 

SUMMARY
It is clear that Senate leaders are prioritizing K-12 funding, unrestricted municipal aid 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 month, including commitments to UGGA, Chapter 70, and the acknowledgement of school enrollment challenges, creates 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 including transportation accounts, and providing higher PILOT funding. 

Please Call Your Senators Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the Senate Ways and Means Committee Budget. 

Please Explain How the Senate Ways and Means Budget Would Impact Your Community, and Ask Your Senators to Build on this Progress During the Budget Debate. 

State budget clears House

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.  

SUMMARY

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!