FY19 Update on State Aid Programs for Elementary and Secondary Education

Date: September 25, 2018 Author: admin Categories: Funding, News

August 1, 2018

The Governor has signed the fiscal year 2019 budget and the legislative session has ended. Here is a summary of the major provisions relating to state aid for elementary and secondary education.

Chapter 70

The FY19 state budget that allocates $4,907,573,321 in Chapter 70 education aid to Massachusetts school districts. This budget increases aid by $161 million or 3.4 percent over FY18. Every operating district receives at least $30 in additional aid per student, and 133 operating districts receive increases so that they can keep pace with increases in their foundation budgets.

Special Education Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker program has been funded at $319,345,293, an increase of $38.1m from last year’s funding. Claim forms for FY18 expenses were due July 2nd. Claims will be reviewed as they are received, and initial payments will be made this fall. We plan to post reimbursement information by mid-September. We expect the reimbursement rate for the initial payments this year will be approximately 72 percent. 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 FY18 expenses, $5 million will be available for payments to districts experiencing extraordinary increases in their eligible FY19 expenses.

Charter School Tuition Reimbursement

The appropriation for charter school tuition is $90,000,000, which is 50.0 percent of the full entitlement. Of the amount appropriated, $39.8 million represents facilities aid, which is funded at 100 percent and $47.8 million covers 61.5 percent of the first year increase in tuition; the remaining five years of reimbursements are not funded.

The individual district amounts 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 $68,878,679, a $7.3m increase over FY18 and non-resident vocational transportation was funded at $250,000, an increase of $7,500 from FY18. Payments will be made to districts based on reported expenses on the FY18 end of year financial returns. Final reimbursement percentages in FY18 were 71.3 percent for regional transportation and 5.7 percent for non-resident vocational. Reimbursements for regional transportation in FY18 will likely be between 73 percent and 75 percent, while the reimbursement percentage for non-resident vocational transportation will likely be approximately 5 percent. Final percentages will be calculated after we have received and processed all districts’ end of year returns.

Homeless Transportation

The appropriation for homeless transportation reimbursement was funded at $9,099,500 an increase of $1m from FY18. Payments will be made to districts based on reported expenses on the FY18 end of year financial returns. The final reimbursement percentage in FY18 was 33.48 percent for homeless transportation. The FY19 line item funding will enable us to reimburse districts between 34–36 percent.