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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

FY2020 Senate Budget Recommendations

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:June 14, 2019

Last week, the Senate concluded its version of the FY2020 budget recommendations. The debate process on the Senate floor added $11.9 million in additional spending beyond what the Senate Ways and Means Committee recommended. Most of the additional spending was targeted to Regional Transportation ($2M), Public School Military Mitigation ($1.4M), Assessment Consortium ($.55M) and Rural School Aid ($1M). The balance of the funding increases were for specific legislative earmarks and for the new Civics Project Trust Fund ($1.5M) and the new Financial Literacy Grants Program ($.25M) accounts.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (Department) recommended appropriations total $5.894 billion, which represents an increase of $296 million (5.3 percent) over FY2019 spending, an increase of $101.2 million (1.75 percent) above the Governor's FY2020 request (House 1) and an increase of $38.18 million above the House's recommendations.

The following summarizes the Senate education recommendations by program area. Our budget tracking spreadsheet is attached, showing detail for all Department appropriations.

I. Education Local Aid & Reimbursements

Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $268.4M (5.5 percent) over FY2019 to $5.176B. The FY2020 Senate proposal implements foundation budget rate changes, above inflation, in the areas identified by the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC).

  • For benefits and fixed charges, the Senate budget proposes to close one-seventh of the gap toward the H.70 goal rates, the same as the Governor's House 1 budget and compared to one-sixth proposed by HWM.

  • Senate also establishes new goal rates for economically disadvantaged students in deciles 6–10, so that decile 6 is increased to 77 percent of the statewide average foundation budget per pupil base rate and decile 10 is increased to 100 percent. It closes one-seventh of the gap toward the new economically disadvantaged goal rates for deciles 6–10 and proposes to increase deciles 1–5 by annual inflation. Similar to HWM, Senate does not fund the high needs concentration increment proposed in House 1 and H.70.

  • Regarding English learners (ELs), the Senate budget includes all reported English learners in foundation enrollment and establishes new goal rates for each EL grade category so that at full implementation all ELs will receive an increment equal to $2,537 per pupil in FY2020 dollars, closing one-seventh of the gap toward the new goal rate in FY2020. House 1 and HWM both fully phase-in the EL rate increase in FY2020 and provide higher rates for middle school and high school ELs. Senate also closes one-seventh of the gap toward the out-of-district special education goal rate proposed in H.70, the same as House 1 and compared to one-sixth in the HWM budget.

  • Senate also initiates an increase to the in-district assumed special education percentages, closing one-seventh of the gap between 3.75 percent and 4 percent for non-vocational students and one-seventh of the gap between 4.75 percent and 5 percent for vocational students. The assumed rates in the Senate proposal are 3.79 percent and 4.79 respectively.

  • Finally, Senate removes the early college and career pathways rate proposed in House 1 and includes all pathways students at the regular high school rate.

Special Education Circuit Breaker reimbursement (7061-0012) is increased by $25.8M over the FY2019 level to $345M, with $17.7M to support district claims growth and $4M to increase support for the voluntary residential placement prevention program at the Department of Developmental Services.

Senate proposes an increase of $10M for Charter School Tuition District Reimbursements (7061-9010) to $100M, $6M less than the Governor had proposed in House 1. The Senate budget supports the Governor's House 1 proposal to move to a three-year reimbursement schedule (100/60/40) and bases reimbursement on year-over-year tuition growth instead of 5-year enrollment growth, as was proposed in House 1 and HWM. Senate also proposes prorating the first year of tuition reimbursement instead of all three years. Like House 1 and HWM, Senate also increases the facilities tuition rate to $938 per student.

The Senate budget has increased Regional School Transportation (7035-0006) by $6.98M over the FY19 GAA. Foundation Reserve (7061-0011) is not funded in FY2020 since students who came here due to Hurricanes Maria and Irma are now included as part of the Chapter 70 formula. FY2020 Senate budget also eliminates funding for Regional Bonus Aid (7061-9810) but increases funding for the Rural Aid account (7061-9813) by $1M to $2.5M.

The Senate budget did not include the Governor's House 1 proposed education investment trust funds that would be used to seed education investments, including $50 million for a new trust fund to help drive quality improvements in low-performing schools (7010-5010 Public School Improvement Trust Fund) and $30 million to help local school districts address their school safety needs (7010-5020 School Safety Trust Fund).

I. Targeted District Support

The Senate did not support the House 1 (H1) proposed consolidation of Expanded Learning Time Grants (7061-9412) with the Targeted Assistance account (7061-9408). The accounts remain as separate appropriations at similar levels as FY19.

II. Literacy and English Language Acquisition

Senate did not support the H1 proposed consolidation of the Literacy and English Language Acquisition accounts into a newly renamed English Acquisition and Literacy Programs account. The accounts remain as separate appropriations with small increases for payroll costs and a $1M earmark for Gateway Cities.

III. Program Changes

The Senate budget also has eliminated FY2020 funding for the 7061-0010 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Grants. However, it is likely that some of the FY2019 funding will continue into FY2020 once a PAC (prior appropriation continued) provision is approved through a supplemental budget.

The FY2020 Senate budget increases Adult Basic Education (7035-0002) by $5.2 million over FY2019 GAA.

The Senate budget has eliminated spending for two other accounts previously funded in FY2019: 7061-9011 Innovation Schools, and 7061-9406 College and Career Readiness Program.

The Senate has increased FY2020 funding for the 7061-0033 Public School Military Mitigation account at $1.425M and 7061-9401 Assessment Consortium account at $550,000.

The Senate budget recommends 2 new appropriations for FY20: $1.5M for the 1595-0015 Civics Project Trust Fund and $250,000 for the 7010-1193 Financial Literacy Grants account.

Senate supports the Governor's H1 request to increase FY2020 funding in the Teacher Certification Retained Revenue (7061-9601) account to a total of $2.3 million to fund staff in the Office of Professional Practice Investigations to reduce the current backlog of cases.

In the FY20 Senate budget recommendations, Recovery High School Program (7061-9607) is funded at $2.5 million, a reduction of $600,000 from FY2019 GAA.

The Department's other accounts are level funded in the Senate budget with either the removal/addition of legislative earmarks and/or changes in FY2020 payroll costs.

The attached chart summarizes the FY2020 Senate budget recommendations in comparison to our current year's appropriation history and identifies variances.

The budget process now moves to the Legislature's Conference Committee for the reconciliation of a final FY2020 budget recommendation for presentation to the Governor for review and signature. I will have a further update on the FY2020 budget at the June 25, 2019 Board meeting.

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

Attachment:

Download Excel Document
FY2020 Senate Budget Summary


Last Updated: June 18, 2019
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