School Finance: ESE Budget
Update on FY13 State Aid Programs for Elementary and Secondary Education
July 10, 2012
The Governor signed the fiscal year 2013 budget on July 8. Here is a summary of the major provisions relating to state aid for elementary and secondary education.
The Chapter 70 program has been funded at $4,171,070,892, an increase of approximately $180 million over FY12. This increase ensures that all districts will continue to be at or above their foundation budgets. One component brings lower and moderate wealth districts 25 percent closer to their target aid share if they are below that level. Another provision guarantees every school district an increase of at least $40 per pupil. A complete description of the Chapter 70 program, including the calculations for each district, has been posted on the ESE website at FY13 Chapter 70 Aid and Net School Spending Requirements.
Special education circuit breaker
The circuit breaker program has been funded at $241,932,288, an increase of $28.8 million from last year's funding. Claim forms for FY12 expenses were due July 6th. Claims will be reviewed as they are received, and initial payments will be made this fall. We expect the reimbursement rate for the initial payments will be between 70% and 72%. We plan to post reimbursement information by mid-September. After we have posted the reimbursement information, we will announce the districts that will be audited this year as required by statute.
In addition to the reimbursement of FY12 expenses, $5 million will be available for payments to districts experiencing extraordinary increases in their eligible FY13 expenses. Instructions and application forms for extraordinary relief will be distributed in February 2013.
Charter school tuition reimbursement
The appropriation for charter school tuition reimbursement was funded at $71,454,914. Sending districts will receive 100% reimbursement for the facilities component of their charter tuition costs. The current appropriation falls short of the entitlement for the transitional reimbursements (the so-called "100/25/25/25/25/25" aid) and those amounts reflect a proration of 74 percent. Projected district-by-district calculations have been posted on the ESE website at FY13 Charter School Tuition and Enrollment Projections. Please remember that charter tuition costs and reimbursements will change throughout the year as enrollment and tuition rates are finalized.
Regional and vocational transportation
Funding for regional school transportation funding was increased to $45,521,000, and non-resident vocational transportation was level funded at $250,000. Payments will be made to districts based on reported expenses on the FY12 end of year financial returns. Final reimbursement percentages in FY12 were 60.42% for regional transportation and 12.31% for vocational transportation. This year's reimbursement percentage for regional transportation will likely be about the same as in FY12, while the reimbursement percentage for vocational transportation will decrease. Final percentages will be calculated after we have received and processed all districts' end of year returns.
This is a new appropriation that will fund the cost of providing transportation to homeless pupils transported out of district. The basis of the reimbursement will be determined by reported amounts on districts' FY12 end of year returns. The line item was funded at $11,300,000 which we believe constitutes full funding but we will not know until we have received and processed all districts' end of year returns. As end of year return audits are to be completed by March 31, we expect reimbursements to be paid in the spring.