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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Amendments to School Finance and Accountability Regulations, 603 CMR 10.00

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
June 14, 2013

line

At the April 23, 2013 meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to solicit public comment on proposed amendments to the School Finance and Accountability Regulations, 603 CMR 10.00. I will ask for a final vote on the proposed amendments to the regulations at the June 25, 2013 Board meeting.

Backround

The Board last amended these regulations in September 2012, increasing the threshold for extraordinary maintenance projects, clarifying certain statutory provisions addressing pre-payments of special education expenses, and made certain technical corrections. The amendments here are required due to a new line item in the state budget reimbursing districts for expenses related to transporting homeless students as required by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. This is the first time that state funds have been appropriated for this purpose and the reimbursement line item language requires the Board to promulgate regulations for the determination of reimbursements. The proposed amendments would also clarify the municipal expenditures that can be claimed as supporting education. In addition, I am also proposing that the reference to accountability in the title of the regulations be deleted so that they will not be confused with the Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools Regulations, 603 CMR 2.00.

Public Comments

We received six comments on 603 CMR10.00, all of which supported the changes. However, most of them were under the mistaken impression that reimbursements for homeless transportation would be treated like reimbursements for school choice and charter school transportation, which go directly to school departments for their use. This may have occurred due to a renumbering of a couple of subsections in section 10.09 which made it appear that the provision regarding reimbursements was new language. We responded to each commenter that this reimbursement would be treated locally as general fund revenue that would need to be appropriated to the school department. The changes proposed by these comments would require statutory changes. We also received comments from the Office of the State Auditor, Division of Local Mandates which were not related to the changes in the regulations, but suggested that we adopt a policy that reimbursements would be made to cities/towns/districts/charters earlier in the fiscal year. We will follow up with the Division of Local Mandates on their suggestions.

Enclosed are the recommended final regulations with the changes indicated by underline. Also enclosed is a clean copy of the final regulations as they would appear if approved.

Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Final Regulations - 603 CMR 10.00 - Clean Version
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Final Regulations - 603 CMR 10.00 - Tracked Version


Last Updated: June 19, 2013
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