|HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE OFFERS $40.3B FY 2018 STATE BUDGET THAT MAKES KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL AID
• INCLUDES THE FULL $40M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA)
• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $106M TO FUND MINIMUM AID AT $30 PER STUDENT
• ADDS $4M TO THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
• ADDS $1M MORE FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
• LEVEL-FUNDS MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS
Earlier this afternoon, the House Ways & Means Committee reported out a lean $40.3 billion fiscal 2018 state budget plan to increase overall state expenditures by 3.8 percent. The House Ways and Means budget is $180 million smaller than the budget filed by the Governor in January, yet it also increases Chapter 70 aid by $15 million above the Governor’s recommendation by increasing minimum aid from $20 per student to $30 per student. The full House will debate the fiscal 2018 state budget during the week of April 24.
H. 3600, the House Ways and Means budget, provides strong progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $40 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor proposed and communities are counting on. The House W&M Committee would increase funding for other major aid programs, by adding $4 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker, adding $1 million to Regional School Transportation, and increasing Chapter 70 minimum aid to $30 per student.
Please Click this Link Now to See the Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Municipal Aid Numbers for Your Community
Later Today or Early Tomorrow – Click on this Link to See Your Community’s Local Aid and Preliminary Cherry Sheet Numbers in the House Ways & Means Budget, as Posted by the Division of Local Services
$40 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In a major victory for cities and towns, the HW&M fiscal 2018 budget plan (H. 3600) would provide $1.061 billion for UGGA, a $40 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Governor Baker. The $40 million would increase UGGA funding by 3.9 percent, which matches the projected growth in state tax collections next year. This would be the second-largest increase in discretionary municipal aid in nearly a decade. Every city and town would see their UGGA funding increase by 3.9 percent.
CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID WOULD INCREASE TO $30 PER STUDENT
The House budget committee is proposing a $106.4 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid (this is $15 million higher than the $91.4 million increase in House One), with a provision that every city, town and school district receive an increase of at least $30 per student (compared to the $20-per-student amount in the Governor’s budget). The House budget would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007. Further, the House Ways & Means Committee proposal would build on the Governor’s initial proposal to start addressing shortfalls in the foundation budget framework, by increasing the cost factors for employee health insurance.
In the context of a very tight budget year, the House budget committee’s increase in Chapter 70 funding is certainly welcome progress over the House One proposal that was filed in January. The MMA continues to give top priority to full funding for the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations, and over the long-term will work to build on this increase.
$4 MILLION INCREASE INTENDED TO FULLY FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In another budget advancement for cities and towns, House leaders have announced that they support increased funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program. The House budget plan would provide $281 million, a $4 million increase above fiscal 2017, although this is still short of full funding for a vital program that every city, town and school district relies on to fund state-mandated services. The MMA will work to continue building on this welcome increase.
ADDS $1 MILLION TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
House Ways and Means Committee budget would add $1 million to bring regional transportation reimbursements up to $62 million. The MMA will work to continue building on this welcome increase.
FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS REMAINS FLAT
Both budgets filed by the Governor and the House Ways & Means Committee would level-fund charter school reimbursements at $80.5 million, far below the amount necessary to fully fund the statutory formula that was originally established to offset a portion of the funding that communities are required to transfer to charter schools. The fiscal 2017 funding level is $54 million below what is necessary to fund the reimbursement formula that is written into state law. If this program is level funded, the shortfall will grow to an estimated $67.1 million in fiscal 2018. This would lead to the continued and growing diversion of Chapter 70 funds away from municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve 96% of public school children. Solving the charter school funding problem must be a major priority during the budget debate.
PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT), LIBRARY AID ACCOUNTS, METCO, McKINNEY-VENTO, AND SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANTS
The House budget committee’s proposal would level-fund PILOT payments at $26.77 million, add $600K to library grant programs, add $500K to METCO, and level-fund McKinney-Vento reimbursements at $8.35 million. However, the HW&M budget would reduce Shannon Anti-Gang Grants to $5 million, a $1 million reduction.
Please Call Your Representatives Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the House Ways and Means Committee Budget – Including the $40 Million Increase in Unrestricted Local Aid, Providing Chapter 70 Minimum Aid at $30 Per Student, and Adding Funding to the Special Education Circuit Breaker and Regional School Transportation
Please Explain How the House Ways and Means Budget Impacts Your Community, and Ask Your Representatives to Build on this Progress During Budget Debate in the House