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Home > MSMA News > Details emerge on K-12 funding, cuts to administration – January 27, 2017

Details emerge on K-12 funding, cuts to administration – January 27, 2017

Acting DOE Deputy Commissioner Suzan Beaudoin told the Education Committee Thursday she could not say when districts will be getting spreadsheets (ED 279s) showing what they can expect in state aid next year based on the far reaching changes in the funding formula proposed in the governor’s budget.

“At this point I don’t know what to give them,” Beaudoin said, adding state law requires the department to give districts an estimate of their funding levels in February. Official funding levels are not set until the budget is passed by the full Legislature and becomes law, which in a biennial budget year can be as late as July 1.

While on paper the budget cuts General Purpose Aid by $9.5 million from current year levels, there are much greater impacts imbedded in the proposal because more funding is targeted and pulled out from general distribution.

Beaudoin categorized the governor’s budget as making “major reforms” to the Essential Programs and Services funding formula. The governor’s budget makes 48 changes to EPS – policy proposals that many feel do not belong in a budget and should be discussed separately.

Chief among them is the elimination of any funding for system administration that includes central office functions and support staff, superintendents and assistant superintendents, the business office and support for School Boards.

“There was a conscious decision not to include that (system administration) this year,” Beaudoin said. “We’re going in a different direction and providing incentive money to create regional collaborations.”

The budget proposes taking $5.5 million each year in GPA that would have been distributed to districts and using it to fund regional education service agencies that school districts can contract with for services.

Nationally the model is called BOCES or Boards of Cooperative Education Services, which was created in the 1950s in New York State. There is mixed reaction in that state on whether the model saved money over time or simply added a layer of bureaucracy between the state and its school districts.

The budget also proposes another $5 million each year be made available to fund grants for more grassroot efforts to reduce costs and regionalize services.

The DOE also is proposing eliminating the declining enrollment adjustment for school districts who under the current formula are given more time to absorb the loss by averaging student counts over a longer period of time.

The budget slightly increases funding for minimum receivers, from 30 percent of special education costs to 33 percent.

The Education Committee is expected to get a more detailed briefing, possibly next week. Public hearings on the biennial budget have not yet been scheduled before the Appropriations Committee, but the expectation is sometime early February.

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