The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
House Ways & Means FY18 Budget Recommendations
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner
Bill Bell, Senior Associate Commissioner for Administration & Finance
Julia Jou, Budget Director
April 10, 2017
Today, the House Ways & Means Committee (HWM) released its recommendations for the upcoming FY18 state budget year. HWM recommends total state spending of $40.33 billion, representing a $1.47 billion (3.8%) increase over FY17 spending.
The Department's recommended appropriations total $5.327 billion, which represents an increase of $116.5 million (2.2%), over FY17 spending, and an increase of $27.4 million (0.5%) above the Governor's FY18 request (House 1). HWM proposes increases of $124.5 million in Chapter 70 and other school district reimbursement accounts; the Department's other accounts were either reduced or level funded.
The following summarizes the HWM education recommendations. Our budget tracking spreadsheet is attached, showing detail for all Department appropriations.
Education Aid & Reimbursements
Chapter 70 aid (7061-0008) is increased by $106.4M (2.3%) over FY17. The increase maintains the long-standing commitment to foundation level spending in all districts; recognizes higher numbers of economically disadvantaged students; and provides a minimum aid increase of $30 per pupil increase to all districts (up from $20 in House 1). The HWM proposal also addresses the rising cost of employee and retiree health insurance by including in foundation budgets 15% of the increase recommended in 2015 by the Foundation Budget Review Commission; House 1 had proposed 10%. HWM also includes $12.5 million in the Foundation Reserve ("pothole") account (7061-0011) to provide transitional relief related to the change from low-income to economically disadvantaged.
HWM funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker account (7061-0012) is increased by $4 million over FY17, and Regional School Transportation (7035-0006) is increased by $1 million over FY17. The METCO grant program (7010-0012) sees a $500,000 increase. Non-Resident Vocational Student Transportation and Transportation Reimbursement for Homeless Students (7035-0008) are both level funded. Charter School Tuition Reimbursements (7061-9010) is also level funded. We estimate this will cover 100% reimbursement for the capital facility component of charter tuition ($893 per student) and approximately 73% of first-year tuition increases.
HWM does not support the Governor's proposal to create a consolidated Targeted Assistance and Innovation account. HWM recommends a $150,611 reduction to Literacy Programs (7010-0033) and a $500,000 reduction to the After-School Grant Program (7061-9611).
HWM proposes a reduction of $1.7 million to the School to Career Connecting Activities account (7027-0019). House 1 had proposed a nearly half million dollar increase.
HWM proposes the elimination of three accounts: 7061-0033 Public School Military Mitigation, 7061-9810 Regional Bonus Aid, and 7061-9812 Child Sexual Abuse Prevention.
HWM restores part of the FY17 9c cut to 7010-0020 Bay State Reading and fully restores the pre-9c funding level for 7061-9406 College and Career Readiness Program.
7061-9612 Safe and Supportive Schools Grant is reduced by $200,000. HWM also concurs with the House 1 recommendation to reduce 7035-0002 Adult Basic Education by $611,000.
ESE Administrative Resources
Last year's Voluntary Separation Incentive Program resulted in a total FY18 payroll reduction of $752,812 in the following 3 accounts that fund agency staff.
- 7010-0005 Main Administration $380,540
- 7028-0031 Special Education in Institutional Settings $267,810
- 7061-9408 Targeted Assistance to Schools & Districts $104,462
FY18 marks the first full fiscal year for the next generation MCAS assessment program. HWM funds 7061-9400 Student Assessment at the $31.1 million level proposed by the Governor. The reduction from FY17 reflects the expiration of the old MCAS contract.
HWM also transfers the WPI Schools of Excellence account from the Department of Higher Education to DESE.
The HWM recommendations will be debated in the full House starting on April 24, 2017. As always, we expect a significant number of floor amendments to be introduced dealing with K-12 funding. Senate Ways and Means is expected to release its version of the FY18 budget on May 17, 2017.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.