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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Governor's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Recommendations

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 24, 2014

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The Governor released his Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) Budget recommendations to the Legislature this past Wednesday. The FY15 budgetary spending recommendations across all of state government total $38.2 billion (including the annual pension contribution of $1.8 billion); a 5.1% increase from FY 2014 (FY14) estimated spending. The budget is predicated on 4.9% growth in state revenues for FY15.

The Governor's FY15 total budget recommendation for the Department of $4.978 billion represents an increase of $102.6 million above the $4.875 billion FY14 budget. The Governor's budget reflects a number of the priorities identified by the Board. Among the highlights of the budget proposal are:

Expanded Instruction Time & Student Supports

  • The Governor has recommended $4.401 billion for Chapter 70 state aid (7061-0008), representing an increase of $99.5 million over FY14. This increase builds upon our FY14 funding which was a new high-water mark for Chapter 70 funding. This proposal will fully fund all schools at foundation levels, will include all students that currently receive pre-kindergarten services and will provide a minimum $25 per pupil increase. This funding is intended to increase equity and access among all school districts and allow local educational authorities the flexibility to fund initiatives most needed in their communities.

  • Expanded Learning Time grants (7061-9412) are increased by $4 million from FY14, for a total appropriation of $18,168,067.

  • Special Education Circuit Breaker (7061-0012) is level funded at $252.5 million.

  • FY15 funding for Regional School Transportation Costs (7035-0006) is level funded at $51.5 million.

  • FY15 funding for Transportation Reimbursement for Homeless Children (7035-0005) is level funded at $7.350 million.

  • The Governor's budget fully funds the Department's Year 3 RETELL initiative (7027-1004) at $3.4 million. This funding level will allow the Department to continue its training and professional development work with educators of ELL students.

  • The Governor's recommendation of $27 million for the Full Day Kindergarten Grant program (7030-1002) increases the program by $3.1 million over this year's funding level

Target Assistance and Flexibility for Underperforming Schools

  • The Governor has recommended that the Targeted Assistance to Schools and Districts account (7061-9408) be funded at $7.7 million, which is $183,971 below our FY14 funding level. With the elimination of a $250k earmark for a Parent Engagement Program that was included in the FY14 final budget, this represents a $66,029 increase in funding.

The Office of School and District Accountability (7061-0029) is level funded at $985,749.

Expanded Opportunities for Career Education

  • The Governor's recommendation of $2.75 million for the Connecting Activities account program (7027-0019) level funds the account at this year's appropriation level.

Renewed Focus on Early Literacy

  • The Governor has recommended the consolidation of our three literacy accounts into one Consolidated Literacy Program (7010-0033). Accounting for the line item consolidation, the consolidated account is level funded at $3.1 million.

21st Century Technology

  • The Governor's budget language does not include any new state operating funds for district technology needs. The Department is working with the Executive Office and Governor to gain legislative support for an IT bond (capital funds) to provide a funding pool to support district technology needs.

State Assessments to Reflect Higher Curriculum Standards

  • The Governor's recommendation includes an additional $5.1 million in the Student Assessment account (7061-9400), to fund the FY15 costs of our assessment system as we continue the planned migration from MCAS to PARCC.

  • The Governor's recommended funding level for our Achievement Gap Support account (7061-9404) is funded at $5.8 million, which is $3.3M below our FY14 funding level. This account provides grants for academic intervention services.

Improved Service Delivery through Regional Collaboration

  • The Governor's budget language does not include any new state funds for regional collaboration efforts. The Department, however, is actively working with the Commonwealth's Education Collaboratives, District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs), and Readiness Centers to pilot new regional collaboration and service delivery.

ESE Resources for Program Delivery

  • The Governor's budget language in certain program accounts does not prohibit the funding of program staff. The Department will continue its efforts with the Legislature to maintain the flexibility provided by H2.

Education HR and IT Consolidation

  • $1.17 million of ESE's Administration account (7010-0005) was moved to EOE's Administration account. This transfer reflects the Governor's recommended consolidation of human resource functions for the Education Secretariat.

  • The Governor's budget recommends moving the funding for the Education Data Services account (7061-9200/$795,548) into EOE's 7009-1700 IT account. The Education Data Services unit performs data analytic services for ESE.

In addition to the Board areas of priority, the Governor included an increase of $3.6 million in the Department's Innovation School grant program. The account (7061-9011) is funded at $4.6 million.

The following accounts are unfunded in the Governor's House 2 budget:

  • 7035-0007 Non-Resident Vocational Student Transportation for $3 million
  • 7061-0033 Foundation Reserve for $1.3 million
  • 7061-9612 Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program for $200,000
  • 7061-9811 Creative Challenge Index for $125,000

The balance of the Department's accounts is either level funded at current appropriation levels, have small increases included to cover traditional program maintenance costs, or have small decreases:

  • The Governor removed the $150k earmark and level-funded Adult Basic Education (7035-0002) at $30 million for FY15.

  • The Governor has recommended an increase of $258k increase to Special Education in Institutional Settings for both agency staff pay raise as well as expected union raise for CES contract.

  • The AP Math and Science Program (7035-0035) is being reduced by $600k under Governor's House 2 budget.

  • The Governor has removed an earmark of $75k in School Breakfast Program (7053-1925) and level-funded this account.

  • The Teacher Certification Retained Revenue account (7061-9601) receives a small reduction of $35k over the FY14 budget. Because the FY14 appropriation was increased due to the 5-year renewal cycle, the FY15 budget remains a $400k increase over the FY13 budget to help the agency make systemic changes to reduce the current licensure backlog.

The attached chart Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document compares the Governor's FY15 budget recommendations to projected FY14 spending and identifies any variances.

The Governor's H2 budget recommendations begin the FY15 budget development process that will culminate in late June when the Legislature approves the FY15 budget and forwards it to the Governor for his final review and approval.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. We will discuss the budget at our January 28 Board meeting.

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Last Updated: January 27, 2014
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