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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

FY 2013 Budget Update: Board's Budget Submission to Secretary of Education

December 9, 2011

Paul Reville, Secretary of Education
Executive Office of Education
One Ashburton Place, Room 1403
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Secretary Reville:

This letter presents the Fiscal Year 2013 budget recommendations adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at its meeting on November 29, 20112. I am transmitting these budget recommendations to you in accordance with Mass. General Laws c. 69, § 1A, which reads in relevant part as follows:

The commissioner shall propose a budget to the board; said budget shall reflect the goals and objectives of the board and the secretary of education, in this chapter called the secretary. The board shall review and make recommendations regarding the budget to the secretary. The secretary shall then prepare and submit a budget request on behalf of the department to the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on education, and the secretary of administration and finance.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the following budget priorities for the FY 2013 education budget:

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 staff the 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 English Language Learner (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 FY 2013 will be better known in the months ahead, and the Budget Committee recommends the Governor support the funding need in FY 2013.

  4. Literacy

    The Department places a strong emphasis on helping all students become proficient readers, writers, and communicators by grade 3 and beyond. 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 over 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 state. 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
    • English Language Acquisition
    • Full-Day Kindergarten Grants
    • Adult Basic Education
    • Achievement Gap Closure
    • Expanded Learning Time
    • Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment
    • Alternative Education

  8. Support to Reduce Bias-Based Bullying

    The Board supports the efforts to improve school and district culture and reduce instances of bias-based bullying, including bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth. The Board requests that the Governor and Legislature continue their funding commitment for this work.

If you have questions about these recommendations, I would be pleased to discuss them with you.


Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D.
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education

C: Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Members

Last Updated: December 14, 2011
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