School Finance: ESE Budget
FY14 Update on State Aid Programs for Elementary and Secondary Education
July 15, 2013
The Governor signed the fiscal year 2014 budget on July 12. 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 $4,301,214,591, an increase of approximately $140 million over FY13. 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 $25 per pupil. A complete description of the Chapter 70 program, including the calculations for each district, has been posted on the ESE website at FY14 Chapter 70 Aid and Net School Spending Requirements.
Special education circuit breaker
The circuit breaker program has been funded at $252,489,224, an increase of $10.5 million from last year's funding. Claim forms for FY13 expenses were due July 8th. 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 71 and 73 percent. 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 FY13 expenses, $5 million will be available for payments to districts experiencing extraordinary increases in their eligible FY14 expenses. Instructions and application forms for extraordinary relief will be distributed in February 2014.
Charter school tuition reimbursement
The appropriation for charter school tuition reimbursement was funded at $75,000,000. 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 62 percent. Projected district-by-district calculations have been posted on the ESE website at FY14 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 $51,521,000, a $6m increase and non-resident vocational transportation was increased to $3,000,000 from $250,000 last year. Payments will be made to districts based on reported expenses on the FY13 end of year financial returns. Final reimbursement percentages in FY13 were 60.42 percent for regional transportation and 6.08 percent for vocational transportation. Reimbursements for regional transportation in FY14 will likely be between 63 percent and 66 percent, while the reimbursement percentage for non-resident vocational transportation will increase to approximately 75 percent. Final percentages will be calculated after we have received and processed all districts' end of year returns.
The appropriation for homeless transportation reimbursement was funded at $7,350,000, a decrease of $3.95m. Payments will be made to districts based on reported expenses on the FY13 end of year financial returns. The final reimbursement percentage in FY13 was 94.07 percent for homeless transportation. The FY14 line item funding will enable us to reimburse districts between 55-58 percent.