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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Senate FY17 Budget Recommendations

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
May 28, 2016


This week the full Senate finalized its recommendations for the upcoming FY17 state budget year. The final Senate bill contains total state spending of $39.56 billion; with $60 million of increased spending being added during the floor debate. A total of $6.4 million in additional spending authority was added to DESE accounts. These increases, with many being legislative earmarks for specific program, are in the following accounts.

District Reimbursement for Charter School Tuition7061-9010$2,500,000
DESE Administration (earmarks)7010-0005$855,294
Connecting Activities (earmarks)7027-0019$750,000
Special Education Circuit Breaker (earmarks)7061-0012$650,000
After-School Grants (earmarks)7061-9611$610,000
Adult Basic Education (earmarks)7035-0002$550,000
Consolidated Literacy (earmarks)7010-0033$200,000
Innovation Schools7061-9011$200,000
Targeted Assistance (earmarks)7061-9408$50,000

The Department's recommended appropriations total $5.224 billion, which represents an increase of 2.1% over FY16 spending. The Senate affirms a commitment to fund education aid for our districts. The Senate budget recommendations are $107.4 million above the Department's current spending authorization, resulting from $116 million in increases to Ch. 70 and district reimbursement accounts in conjunction with reductions or level funding of the Department's other accounts.

The following summarizes the Senates education recommendations by program area.

  1. Education Local Aid & Reimbursements

    Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $116.1M (2.6%) 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 (85% effort reduction). The Senate increases Chapter 70 funding rates for economically disadvantaged students and protects districts whose new economically disadvantaged metric would produce less aid than the old low-income measure. This budget also establishes a new interagency task force to explore ways to improve the identification of economically disadvantaged students. In addition, this budget requires the Secretary of Administration and Finance and the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means to set an implementation schedule to fulfill the Foundation Budget Review Committee's other recommendations to increase funding for all school districts.

    The Ch. 70 Foundation Reserve (7061-0011) is not funded in the FY17 Senate budget, a reduction of $3.1 million from FY16. The Kindergarten Grant program (7030-1002) is reduced by $16.6 million to $2 million and funds expansion and quality enhancement grants only.

    The Senate budget funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker account (7061-0012) is increased by $10.1 million over FY16. District Reimbursements for Charter School Tuitions (7061-9010) receives an increase of $ 9.5 million over its FY16 level of $80.5 million.

    Regional School Transportation (7035-0006), Non-Resident Vocational Student Transportation, Transportation reimbursement for Homeless Students (7035-0008), and METCO grant program (7010-0012) are all level funded.

  2. Investment in Board Priority Areas

    The Senate budget does not support the Governor's recommendations for the Department's work in a number of priority areas.

    Student Assessment (7061-9400)

    The Senate 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 FY16 supplemental budget of $1.8 million. DESE will likely need additional funding in FY17 to fund its next generation assessment program, which will be determined once a contract is finalized with the new vendor.


    The Senate budget has incorporated Bay State Reading and Reading Recovery as earmarks within Consolidated Literacy (7010-0033), and has increased funding by $600,000 over current spending to account for the earmarked programs.

    Connecting Activities (7027-0019)

    The Senate increased funding by $525,000 over current spending, with the funding being earmarked for certain legislative priority programs including a vocational high school STEM grant program.

    School Breakfast Program (7053-1925)

    This line item is level funded in the FY17 Senate budget with the removal of FY16 earmarks. The Committee's budget added language for a new partnership with Eos Foundation to bring school breakfasts to more low-income children across the state to help children begin the school day ready to learn.

    Targeted Assistance to Schools & Districts (7061-9408)

    The Senate budget for Targeted Assistance is $7.7 million, which includes $300,000 in legislative earmarks. The Governor has supported removal of the program earmarks while funding the account at a $7.9 million level.

    Expanded Learning Time (7061-9412)

    This line item has received a small decrease from FY16 level and is funded at $14.17 million.

    After-School Grant Program (7061-9611)

    The Senate increased funding by $400,000 over the FY16 budget level of $2.3 million, but has included $690,000 in specific program earmarks.

    Safe & Supportive Schools (7061-9612)

    The Senate budget is level funded at $500,000 and includes language to fund 1 FTE.

  3. DESE Administrative Resources

    The Senate budget of $13.675M includes $1.4M in specific earmarks for specific municipal education priorities.

  4. Program Changes

    The Senate has recommended elimination of five 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)
    MCAS Low Scoring Support — $4.3 million
    College and Career Readiness Program — $500,000
    Mathematics Professional Development — $200,000

  5. Other Accounts

    The Senate has recommended a new line item (7061-9401) for the Center for Collaborative Education to manage an alternative assessment pilot program that is funded at $350,000.

    The Senate budget of $1.86 million for English Language Acquisition (7027-1004) is $44,442 less than the Governor's H2 recommendation. The Department expects to train approximately 3,500 educators in the final year (FY17) of the RETELL initiative.

    Funding for Adult Basic Education (7035-0002) is increased by $414,587 from its FY16 level with $300,000 in earmarks.

    The Senate has recommended an increase of $403,102 in Innovation Schools (7061-9011) over FY16 budget, with $200,000 earmarked for Medway Public Schools.

    Mentoring Matching Grants (7061-9634) received an increase of $250,000 over FY16 budget to serve an additional 500 children in empowering youth-adult relationships.

    Regional Bonus Aid (7061-9810) is being decreased by $165,800 from FY16 level.


The attached chart summarizes the Senate FY17 budget recommendations in comparison to our current and prior years' appropriation history as well as to the FY17 budget proposals from the Governor and House.

We are awaiting the appointment of the Legislature's Conference Committee and will be working with the Committee to promote the Board's budget priorities.

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


Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
FY17 DESE Senate Budget Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Excel Document
FY17 House-Senate Budget Comparison

Last Updated: June 22, 2016
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