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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

House FY16 Budget Recommendations

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
May 1, 2015


This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its recommendations for the upcoming FY16 state budget year. The Department's recommended appropriations total $5.085 billion, which represents an increase of $121.5 million (2.4%), over FY15 spending. The House budget affirms a commitment to fund education aid for our districts, but does not include the consolidated grant funding initiatives proposed by the Governor in House 1.

The following summarizes House education recommendations by program area.

I. Education Local Aid & Reimbursements

Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $108.2M (2.5%) over FY15. The increase is designed to provide a minimum aid increase for each district of $25 per student, and continuing progress to achieving equity in high-effort communities. Funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker account (7061-0012) is increase by $8.3 million over FY15. Regional School Transportation (7035-0006) is increased by $5 million over FY15. Transportation reimbursement for Homeless Students (7035-0008) is also $1M over FY15. The METCO grant program (7010-0012) is increased by $2.23 million above FY15 spending. All other district reimbursement accounts are level funded at FY15 spending levels, including: District Reimbursements for Charter School Tuitions (7061-9010) is level funded at its FY15 level of $76.9 million and funding for the Kindergarten Grant Program (7030-1002) is funded at the FY15 level of $18.6 million. The final House budget added $250,000 to the 7061-0011 Foundation Reserve account.

II. Assistance to Low Performing Schools & Districts

The House did not support the Governor's recommendation for a consolidated approach to DESE's investment and work with districts and schools that are at risk of being or who have been determined to be underperforming. Instead, the House has continued our traditional Targeted Assistance account (7061-9408), funded at its FY15 level. Additionally, all the other accounts that had been consolidated under the Governor's Partnership Schools Network are returned to their FY15 structure and received either level funding or reduced funding levels. There is no increased investment for this program area.

III. Investment in Board Priority Areas

The House did not support the Governor's recommendations for the Department's work in a number of priority areas - although our work supporting instruction for ELL students is funded.

Student Assessment

The House budget does not provide the Governor's recommended funding needed to support the Board's decision timeline for PARCC implementation. The appropriation level of $23.9 million in 7061-9400 is $5 million less than both the account's FY15 funding level and the Governor's House 1 budget.

English Language Acquisition

The House funding of $2.8 million for 7027-1004 provides the funding necessary to deliver the fourth year of the RETELL initiative in FY16. DESE will have trained approximately 34,000 educators to support the instructional needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) by the end of FY16.

Educator Development & Effectiveness

The House did not support the Governor's recommended establishment of a new appropriation, 7061-2200, at $500,000 to support the Department's leadership in the work of promoting educator development & effectiveness. This work to date has been entirely supported with federal grant funding.

Student Safety & Support

The House did not recommend the establishment of a new appropriation, 7061-2300, at $200,000 to support the Department's leadership in the work of promoting increased student social, emotional, psychological, and physical safety and support. The House budget also did not increase the spending ceiling by $200,000 in the Educator Licensure account (7061-9601) as recommended by the Governor, to fund the increased demands being placed on DESE's Office of Professional Licensure & Investigation. The House bill did fund the existing Safe and Supporting Schools Grant account, 7061-9612, at $300,000. This account traditionally has been funded at $200,000, but had been reduced to $0 this year due to 9c spending reductions.

IV. Aligned Programs / Coordinated Grants

The House did not support the Governor's recommendation to align a number of individual grant programs with the goals of the Governor's Partnership Schools Network initiative. The proposed accounts for alignment received various funding levels from the House budget.

7027-0091School-to-Work Connecting Activities -
7035-0035AP Math & Science Programs - funded at $.147 million above FY15 level
7061-9412Expanded Learning Time Grants - funded $.445 million below FY15
7061-9611After-School Grant Programs - funded $.430 million above FY15

V. ESE Administrative Resources

The House recommended either level funding or slightly reduced funding to accounts that fund the Department's personnel and program delivery.

VI. Program Changes

The House budget restored or provided increases for these accounts over the HWM recommendations.

7010-0033Consolidated Literacy Program
7061-0033Reserve for Shortfall in Federal Impact Aid
7061-9406College and Career Readiness
7061-9614Alternative Education
7061-9634Mentoring Matching Grants
7061-9810Regional Bonus Aid

The House budget eliminates spending for four accounts previously funded in FY15.

7061-0928Financial Literacy Grants
7061-9011Innovation Schools
7061-9804Mathematics Professional Development
7061-9811Creative Challenge Index

Funding for Adult Education, 7035-0002, received a $.763 million increase over FY15 level. YouthBuild, 7061-9626, received a $.330 million increase in the House budget.

The attached chart summarizes the House FY16 budget recommendations in comparison to our current and prior years' appropriation history as well as to the Governor's House 1 budget proposal.

We expect Senate Ways and Means Committee to release its version of the FY16 budget on May 13th, and full debate on the Senate floor to occur the week of May 18th.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. We will discuss the budget at our May 19th Board meeting.


Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
Analysis of the FY16 House Budget

Last Updated: May 12, 2015
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