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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

FY18 General Appropriations Act (GAA)

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner
Bill Bell, Senior Associate Commissioner for Administration & Finance
Julia Jou, Budget Director
Date:
July 18, 2017

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Yesterday Governor Baker signed into law the FY18 General Appropriations Act (GAA). The GAA includes total state spending of $39.4 billion, representing a $652 million (1.7%), increase over FY17 spending. This spending recommendation is based on a projected 3.4% increase in tax revenue for FY18.

The Department's recommended appropriations total $5.324 billion, which represents an increase of $113.5 million (2.2%), over FY17 spending. The GAA affirms a commitment to fund education aid for our districts but does include reduced spending to a number of DESE accounts due to the lowered revenue forecast for FY18. In signing the budget, the Governor vetoed spending of $5.6 million in our accounts, most of which represented legislative earmarks for specific local projects.

The following summarizes the Department's FY18 appropriations. Our budget tracking spreadsheet is attached, showing detail for all line items.

  1. Education Local Aid & Reimbursements

    Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $118.9M (2.6%) over FY17. The increase is designed to allow for a minimum aid increase of $30 per pupil over FY17 for every school district and provides $25 million to begin addressing the increased costs of employee and retiree health care.

    GAA funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker account (7061-0012) is increased by $4 million over FY17. Regional School Transportation (7035-0006) has a $500,000 increase. The METCO grant program (7010-0012), and Charter School Tuition Reimbursements (7061-9010) are level funded. We estimate the latter will cover 100% reimbursement for the capital facility component of charter tuition ($893 per student) and 69.3% of first-year tuition increases.

    Non-Resident Vocational Student Transportation (7035-0007) and Transportation Reimbursement for Homeless Students (7035-0008) were reduced by $7,500 and $250,500, respectively, from FY17 levels.

  2. Student Assessment

    The GAA funding for the Student Assessment account (7061-9400) is insufficient to meet our planned program spending for the upcoming school year. The appropriation level of $27 million is $4.1 million below the $31.1 million recommended by the Governor.

    Funding for the Alternative Student Assessment Pilot Program Consortium (7061-9401), which had been eliminated in FY17 as part of the mid-year 9C cuts, is not funded in the FY18 GAA.

  3. Departmental Grant & Targeted Support Programs

    The majority of our grant and targeted support programs were either level funded or reduced.

    • The GAA reduces Targeted Assistance (7061-9408) by $583,955 from FY17.

    • Adult Basic Education (7035-0002) is level funded at $28.8 million.

    • The Expanded Learning Time Grant Program (7061-9412) is reduced by $197,685 from FY17.

    • The After-School Grant Program (7061-9611) is funded at $2.2 million, similar to FY17.

    • The Consolidated Literacy Program (7010-0033) is funded at $223,093 less than FY17 spending, while Bay State Reading received an increase of $206,167.

    • The Special Education in Institutional Settings account (7028-0031) is funded at $241,793 below the Governor's recommended funding level.

    • The Safe and Supportive Schools Grant program (7061-9612) is funded similar to the FY17 level.

    • The GAA transfers of the WPI Schools of Excellence (7061-9624) account from the Department of Higher Education to ESE, funded at $1.4 million.

  4. DESE Administrative & Operational Resources

    The GAA reduces DESE's administrative funding below our maintenance level for FY18. This reduced funding totals $756,764 in the following three accounts that fund agency staff.

    • 7010-0005 Main Administration
      $256,096
    • 7028-0031 Special Education in Institutional Settings
      $233,061
    • 7061-9200 Education Data Services
      $267,607

The Department will now begin implementing the GAA spending authority, while monitoring any potential override votes in the State Legislature. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Attachment

Download Excel Document
FY18 DESE GAA Budget Summary with Vetoes


Last Updated: August 7, 2017
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