The following is a reference describing the recommendations made by the Massachusetts Foundation Budget Review Commission. You can also download the full report here or download the printable (PDF) version of this reference here.
Regarding health insurance:
- adjust health insurance to be in line with average GIC rates
- add retired health insurance to the foundation budget
- calculate health insurance inflation separately from inflation of the rest of the budget
Regarding special education:
- change the assumed in-district special ed cost (from an assumed 15% of students to an assumed 16% of students
- increase the out-of-district special ed cost rate to capture full cost before the circuit breaker is triggered
- recognize “the growing use of inclusion as the preferred pedagogical model in the Commonwealth”
Regarding English Language Learners:
- make ELL an increment added to the base rate per pupil
- include it for vocational students
- make the increment the same rate at all levels, choosing the middle school level; this is to make up for the previous assumption that older kids required fewer services (or less funding), which has been found not to be the case.
Regarding low income:
- The Commission offers guidance that weighting should fall between 50-100% and cites the large number of programs –extended learning time, wraparound services, instructional improvement, class size reduction, early ed–that have been found to be successful with low income students, laying out some parameters on costs.
- Note further that this includes districts posting a plan of what the district will do with additional dollars, but includes district flexibility to best meet student needs.
Regarding data collection:
- The Commission recommends establishment of a committee to improve data reporting, specifically around reporting of use of funding at a school level.
- There is a recognition (not a recommendation) of the state’s needs in early childhood. The data on the huge positive effects of early childhood education is overwhelming and clear, which the Commission recognizes.
- This again is a recognition (not a recommendation) of a need for an adjustment for the missed quarter in 2010 (=$55 million statewide) and an adjustment for the statutory cap (=$158 million statewide). Note that those numbers are not included in other calculations, so some would balance out.
…the good work begun by the education reform act of 1993, and the educational progress made since, will be at risk so long as our school systems are fiscally strained by the ongoing failure to substantively reconsider the adequacy of the foundation budget
– Conclusion of the final report of the Foundation Budget Review Commission