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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Senate FY16 Budget Recommendations

Members of the Board of Elementary & Secondary Education
Mitchell D, Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
May 23, 2015


Late Thursday night, the Senate concluded its floor debate and approved its recommendations for the upcoming FY16 state budget year. There was $13.5 million in spending added on the Senate floor, with amendments for METCO ($2M), Regional School Transportation ($3M), Homeless Student Transportation ($1M), District Reimbursement for Charter School Tuitions ($4.5M), Adult Basic Education ($.850M), Ch.70 Foundation Reserve ($.5M) and Safe and Supportive Schools Grants ($.5M), comprising the majority ($12.4M), of the total increase. There is another $1.1M in spending associated with legislative earmarks across six appropriation accounts, including a new Child Sexual Abuse Prevention account funded at $150,000.

The Senate continues to prioritize municipal education reimbursement. The Department's recommended spending totals $5.103 billion, which represents an increase of 2.8% over FY15 spending.

The following summarizes the Senate's education recommendations by program area.

I. Education Local Aid & Reimbursements

Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $111.2M (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 with a 50% effort reduction. Funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker account (7061-0012) is increased by $18.3 million over FY15. The Foundation Reserve account (7061-0011) is funded at $2.5 million, which is $2 million over FY15. Regional School Transportation (7035-0006) is increased by $8 million over FY15. The Senate restored the 9c cut to the Non-Resident Vocational Students Transportation (7035-0007) account of $2.2 million. District Reimbursements for Charter School Tuitions (7061-9010) is increased by $7.6 million over FY15. Transportation reimbursement for Homeless Students (7035-0008) received a $1 million increase over FY15 level. The Senate reduced the funding for the Kindergarten Grant Program (7030-1002) to $1 million which is $17.6 million less than FY15 with the focus on funding new transition grants. 7061-0033 Public School Military Mitigation account received the restored 9c cut amount of $1.3 million. The METCO Program (7010-0012) is funded at $2 million above FY15 budget of $17.9 million.

II. Assistance to Low Performing Schools & Districts

The Senate 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 Senate has continued our traditional Targeted Assistance account (7061-9408), which received an increase of $134, 078 over its FY15 level but contains $510,000 in earmarks. Additionally, all the other accounts that had been consolidated under the Governor's Partnership Schools Network are returned to their FY15 structure. There is no increased investment for this program area.

III. Investment in Board Priority Areas

The Senate did support the House 1 recommendations for the Department's work in a two priority areas:

Student Assessment

The Senate does provide the funding needed to support the Board's decision timeline for PARCC implementation. The appropriation level of $28.5 million in 7061-9400 is $0.4 million less than both the account's FY15 funding level and the Governor's House 1 budget.

English Language Acquisition

Senate 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.

Other Board priority areas were not supported in the Senate bill:

Educator Development & Effectiveness

The Senate 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 Senate 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. However, the Senate has funded the multi-year Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor Grant (7010-0060) at $1.5 million as well as $500,000 for Safe and Supportive Schools Grant (7061-9612). In addition, the Senate provided $150,000 for a new Child Sexual Abuse Prevention account. The Senate budget 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 Senate budget consolidated the three Literacy accounts. 7010-0020 Bay State Reading and 7030-1005 Early Intervention Tutorial Literacy have been merged with the 7010-0033 Consolidated Literacy Program for $2.8 million which is $215,484 higher than the combined funding in the FY15 GAA.

IV. Aligned Programs / Coordinated Grants

The Senate 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. These proposed accounts for alignment received various funding from the Senate budget.

7027-0019School-to-Work Connecting Activities - funded at $316,250 above FY15 with $225,000 in earmarks
7035-0035AP Math & Science Programs - level funded at FY15 level
7061-9412Expanded Learning Time Grants - funded at $1 million below FY15
7061-9611After-School Grant Programs - increase of $210,000 above FY15 dedicated to earmarks

V. ESE Administrative Resources

The Senate recommended either level funding or slightly reduced funding to most accounts that fund the Department's personnel and program delivery. The exception is the 7061-9200 Education Data Services account which has been eliminated from the department's budget and consolidated into EOE's 7009-1700 Technology account at a reduced funding amount of $276,125. The agency's main administration account (7010-0005) received an increase of $785,871 to cover fixed cost increases, as well as $220,000 earmark for technology in the Weymouth school system.

VI. Other Programs Changes

7010-0050Education Evaluation Grant Program received the restored 9c cut of $500,000.
7035-0002Adult Basic Education received a $1.56 million increase above FY15 with $350,000 in earmarks
7061-0928Financial Literacy Grants is funded at $24,250 below FY15
7061-9400Supports to Close the Achievement Gap is funded at $68,000 below FY15
7061-9406College and Career Readiness is not funded in the Senate budget
7061-9634Mentoring Matching Grants is funded at $106,000 above FY15
7061-9804P.D. for Mathematics received the restored 9c cut of $200,000

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

The Conference Committee will now begin its work and present a final FY16 budget proposal to the Governor in late June for his review and signature. We will be working to emphasize the Board and Department priorities to the Conference Committee over the next few weeks.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


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Budget Summary

Last Updated: June 19, 2015
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