On April 11th the House Ways and Means Committee released its recommendations for the FY19 state budget. The $41.0 billion budget proposes an increase of 3.1 percent over FY18. The Ways and Means budget funds the major education accounts at either at the same level or higher than the Governor’s proposal in January.
House Ways and Means adds an additional $21 million to the January Chapter 70 proposal. The $4.871 billion appropriation would be a $125.6 million or 2.6 percent increase over FY18. Here are some of the key points about the Chapter 70 proposal.
- Minimum aid is set at $30 per pupil (compared to $20 per pupil in January).
- The foundation budget rate for benefits is set at one-seventh of the increase in that component which was recommended by the Foundation Budget Review Commission. The change generates $39 million in new aid over FY18. This would be the second consecutive year of phasing in one-seventh of the FBR recommendation. The increase reflects changes of two to three percent over the benefits rates used in January.
- There are significant changes to district enrollment although the detail has not been published (as is always the case with the House and Senate Chapter 70 proposals). Detailed numbers will be published by ESE when the state budget is finalized this summer.
- The changes to the benefits rate and enrollment would result in increases or decreases in foundation budgets, minimum contributions, and aid for most districts, compared to the Governor’s proposal. Regional district assessments would likely be affected. Only two districts get less aid.
- The “effort reduction” component is increased from 85 to 92 percent.
- For districts and charter schools that are negatively affected by the use of the economically disadvantaged enrollment measure, a foundation reserve of $12.5 million is established to address this issue for FY19. The Chapter 70 account language also instructs DESE to report the legislature by September 1, 2018 with recommendations on how to improve the accuracy and equity of this component of the foundation budget.
- For districts that experienced enrollment growth from Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands after Oct 2, 2017, the budget allocates an additional $15 million in foundation reserve money.
Changes in aid between final FY18, the Governor’s FY19 proposal, and the FY19 House Ways and Means proposal are shown in the attached spreadsheet.
Other Aid Accounts
For most major aid accounts, the Ways and Means budget shows sizeable increases over final FY18. Although “Final FY18” may change if a supplemental budget is passed, these are the numbers as they now stand.
The House Ways and Means proposed FY19 budget can be found at
Aid comparisons for the Chapter 70, Transportation, and Unrestricted General Government accounts (as well as many other aid and assessment estimates) can be found at the DLS Cherry Sheet web site.
Detailed charter school projections will soon be available on the ESE School Finance website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/finance/tuition/.
The House Ways and Means recommendations will now be taken up by the House. MASS will inform you if there are any significant changes in the final House Budget.