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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

House Ways & Means FY17 Budget Proposal

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
April 16, 2016


On Wednesday, the House Ways & Means Committee (HWM) released its recommendations for the upcoming FY17 state budget year. HWM recommends total state spending of $39.5 billion, representing a $1.5 billion (3.9%), increase over FY16 spending.

The Department's recommended appropriations total $5.210 billion, which represents an increase of $92.6 million (1.8%), over FY16 spending, and $9.3 million (.02%) above the Governor's FY17 request. Although, the HWM recommendations are $92.6 million above the Department's current spending authorization, the increases reflect $113.7 million increases to Ch. 70 and district reimbursement accounts along with reductions or level funding to the Department's other accounts.

HWM affirms a commitment to fund education aid for our districts, but does not include funding for the Governor's H2 proposals for consolidated early literacy and Career Technical Education and STEM programs. HWM also did not support the Governor's effort to change the funding methodologies for the Kindergarten Grant program or District Reimbursements for Charter School Tuitions.

The following summarizes HWM's education recommendations by program area.

  1. Education Local Aid & Reimbursements

    Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $95.8M (2.1%) over FY16. The increase is designed to provide a minimum aid increase for each district of $55 per student, and continuing progress to achieving equity in high-effort communities (70% effort reduction). HWM did support the Governor's approach to calculating the low-income factor and how low-income students are counted. The Ch. 70 Foundation Reserve (7061-0011) is funded at $10 million to provide relief to districts negatively impacted by the change in the low-income calculation in their foundation budget.

    HWM funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker account (7061-0012) is increased by $5 million over FY16. Regional School Transportation (7035-0006) is increased by $1 million over FY16. Non-Resident Vocational Student Transportation is not funded in the FY17 HWM budget. Transportation reimbursement for Homeless Students (7035-0008) is level funded, as is the METCO grant program (7010-0012. District Reimbursements for Charter School Tuitions (7061-9010) receives an increase of $5 million over its FY16 level of $80.5 million and has a change in formula that no longer reimburses for previous years. The Kindergarten Grant Program (7030-1002) is level funded at the FY16 level of $18.6 million with no change in the funding formula as recommended by the Governor's House 2 budget.

  2. Investment in Board Priority Areas

    HWM does not support the Governor's House 2 recommendations for the Department's work in several priority areas.

    Student Assessment (7061-9400)

    HWM does not fund 7061-9400 at the Governor's recommended level of $29.5 million. The appropriation level of $25.7 million in 7061-9400 incorporates the supplemental budget of $1.8 million.

    Early Literacy

    There is no consolidation of accounts in the HWM budget as recommended in the Governor's House 2 budget. Bay State Reading (7010-0020) is level funded. Consolidated Literacy (7010-0033) received a funding cut of $210,329 over FY16.

    Connecting Activities (7027-0019)

    HWM is recommending a decrease of $2 million in this account over FY16 budget of $3 million.

    Targeted Assistance to Schools & Districts (7061-9408)

    The HWM budget for Targeted Assistance is $515,000 less than the FY16 budget level, which reflects the level of earmarks in the account. The Governor's budget supports removal of the program earmarks, while retaining the account at a $7.9 million level.

    Expanded Learning Time (7061-9412)

    This line item has received a small increase of $14,343 over FY16 level.

    After-School Grant Program (7061-9611)

    There is a funding cut of $810,000 over the FY16 budget of $2.3 million. Only $310,000 of the cut is due to the removal of earmarks.

    Safe & Supportive Schools (7061-9612)

    HWM is decreasing the account by $300,000 over FY16 budget.

  3. DESE Administrative Resources

    The HWM budget continues the funding levels recommended in H2.

  4. Program Changes

    HWM has recommended funding elimination of ten accounts previously funded in FY16.

    Education Evaluation Grant Program - $300,000 (FY16 budget can PAC into FY17)
    Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor Grant Program - $4.3 million (FY16 budget can PAC into FY18)
    Public School Military Mitigation - $1.3 million
    Innovation Schools - $296,898
    MCAS Low Scoring Support - $4.3 million
    Alternative Education - $250,000
    Mathematics Professional Development - $200,000
    Regional Bonus Aid - $275,800
    Creative Challenge Index - $200,000
    Child Sexual Abuse Prevention - $150,000

  5. Other Accounts

    The HWM budget of $1.7 million for English Language Acquisition (7027-1004) is $156,000 less than the Governor's H2 recommendation. The Department plans to train approximately 3,500 educators through the FY17 RETELL program.

    Funding for Adult Basic Education (7035-0002) is reduced by $1.6 million from its FY16 level.

    HWM is increasing the College and Career Readiness Program by $200,000 for an earmark to JFY Network.

    Mentoring Matching Grant (7061-9634) is funded at $100,000 less than FY16.

    The attached chart spreadsheet displays the HWM FY17 budget recommendations in comparison to our current and prior years' appropriation history as well as to the Governor's House 2 budget proposal.

    The HWM recommendations will be debated in the full House starting on April 25, 2016. We expect Senate Ways and Means to release its version of the FY17 budget on May 11th.

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


Download Excel Document
FY17 DESE HWM Budget

Last Updated: April 19, 2016
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