Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)

FY21 Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Budget Priorities

To:Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:Board Budget Committee
Date:November 19, 2019

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) Budget Committee met twice over the past two months to discuss the priority areas of focus for the Board's FY21 state budget request and presented an initial report at the Board's meeting on October 29. The Committee's discussions recognized the fiscal reality that all executive branch agencies face in working to produce a budget plan for the next fiscal year. As such, the Committee focused its attention on advancing resources to support the Commissioner's priorities and strategic vision for the Department, as articulated in the June 2019 Our Way Forward report, to further the advancement of all students in our public education system.

The Budget Committee recognizes that significant increases in state funding will be required to implement the provisions of the Student Opportunity Act, which awaits finalization by the Legislature and Governor. Understanding the funding for the Department's education aid accounts (Ch. 70 and other district reimbursement accounts), will be finalized by the Governor and Legislature, the Budget Committee focused on prioritizing funding the Department has direct control of to improve upon the quality teaching and learning in our public-school system.

The Committee recommends that the full Board votes to authorize the Commissioner to work with the Secretary of Education, Governor and Legislature to provide additional state funding in the FY21 budget to prioritize the following key areas.

  • Implementation of the Commissioner's deeper learning initiative, the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning,

  • Targeted intervention strategies to improve instructional practice to accelerate learning, culturally responsive teaching, increased student engagement, enrichment activities, and effective school leadership

  • DESE programmatic administrative resources to oversee to expected additional responsibilities likely to be called for in the Student Opportunity Act. Resources would be prioritized for data analytics and school finance work designed to support the oversight of district plans as discussed in the Student Opportunity Act.

  • Innovative assessment resources. The Department has several initiatives underway to explore and pilot new, innovative models for student assessment, focusing on deeper learning, broader measures of student skills, and better integration into the classroom. These include a new 8th grade civics assessment to accompany the recently adopted changes to the history and social sciences curriculum standards and a new science assessment to be piloted as part of the Kaleidoscope collective. Funding is needed to support continued development and piloting in FY21.

  • Increased literacy resources focused on early grader readers, with the goal of funding additional grant opportunities for schools and districts.

  • Professional development resources to implement the new Arts frameworks and Health frameworks (when finalized). The provision of professional development resources is consistent with past new framework implementation, providing resources to assist school and district personnel with implementation of the new standards.

Last Updated: November 19, 2019

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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