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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Recommended Budget Priorities for FY13

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
November 18, 2011


This memorandum reflects the discussions of the Board's Budget Committee and presents recommended FY13 budget priorities for discussion and adoption by the Board.

FY13 State Budget Priorities

The Budget Committee, in a series of meetings and discussions with the Commissioner and Department staff, have developed the following funding priorities to be advanced with the Governor and Legislature as the state budget for FY13 is developed. The recommendations build upon the Board's priorities from prior fiscal years and the important work being carried out by the Department.

Overall Goal

Secure targeted increased funding to expand the Department's efforts to close the proficiency gap; ensure that students graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and citizenship; and maintain the Commonwealth's position as a leader in public education.

Priority Funding Areas

  1. Continued financial support for local districts.

    • Ch. 70 - Foundation Aid
    • SPED Circuit Breaker
    • Regional School Transportation

  2. Increased Assistance for District and School Turnaround
    • District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs) Resources - $2.6M in additional funding is needed to fully staff 6 DSACs to meet needs of Level 3 districts and schools. The additional funds will be used to provide the following:

      • Assistant Regional Assistance Directors
      • Support Facilitators
      • Regional Literacy Leads
      • Regional ELL Leads
      • Data Analysts
      • Professional Development Coordinators

    • Grant Funding for Support to Level 4 Districts - $3.1M in additional funding will increase the Department's ability to provide services to those districts and schools in the most need of state interventions to support district, school and student improvement. Funding would be used to provide educational consulting expertise to assist with turnaround activities.

    • District Accountability Reviews - $1.5M in additional funding will provide the Department with the staff and consulting resources to perform an additional 20 district reviews.

  3. Professional Development for English Language Learners Instruction
    • The Department is currently in discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice to address concerns with the instruction of English Language Learners. In September 2011 the Board adopted a timeline directing the Commissioner to continue to review the needs and options for preparation and training for teachers of academic content to English Language Learners in the Sheltered English Immersion program. We anticipate the ELL training curriculum and program would be implemented for approximately 40,000 teachers. While the specific course curriculum and delivery method are still under discussion, it is estimated this will be a multi-million dollar investment. The specific funding need for FY13 will be better known in the months ahead, and the Budget Committee recommends the Governor support the funding need in FY13.

  4. Literacy
    • The Department places a strong emphasis on helping all students become proficient readers, writers, and communicators. Department staff support the efforts of local districts and schools to ensure that students graduate from high school ready for the rigor of postsecondary education and 21st century careers. The Department needs an additional $650,000 for staff and consulting resources.

  5. Charter School Program Administration
    • The number of approved charter schools increases every year. In large part due to the cap lift in the Achievement Gap legislation, there are now 72 charter schools operating in the Commonwealth, with an additional 7 chartered and scheduled to open in September 2012. We expect to reach 100 charter schools sometime in the next few years. Given the increasing oversight and service demand, dedicated funding (of $900,000) will provide the means to ensure continued high-quality administration of the charter school program.

  6. Education Collaborative Oversight
    • Based on the current concerns with programmatic and financial operations of the education collaboratives in the Commonwealth, legislation has been filed that will likely increase the Department's level of oversight of the 30 collaboratives in the Commonwealth. The Department estimates that it will need $600,000 to fund the additional level of oversight projected in the current bills before the Legislature.

  7. Personnel Restrictions in Program Accounts
    • In addition to the staffing needs articulated in the above items, the Department continues to experience limited funding for programmatic oversight due to the prohibition of funding staff from a number of its state appropriation accounts. The Budget Committee recommends that the Board support the request to allow the Department to fund certain program staff from specific program accounts. These accounts include:

      • School-to-Career Connecting Activities
      • ELA Acquisition
      • Kindergarten Grants
      • Adult Basic Education
      • Achievement Gap Closure
      • Expanded Learning Time
      • Concurrent Enrollment
      • Alternative Education

The Budget Committee looks forward to presenting its recommendations to the full Board at the November 29, 2011 meeting.

Last Updated: November 21, 2011
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