Sunday, March 22, 2009


From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. Over a series of postings, I'll share that listing here.

STATE EDUCATION MANDATES – Partially or Unfunded Requirements

Many laws, initiatives and requirements that may have been well intended, from a multitude of governmental agencies create “un-funded mandates” at the local level. These mandates must be coupled with adequate and sustainable funding sources. Often local mandates required by the state are attributed to federal requirements. The cause and effect of these growing local burdens and links to their funding support are a frustrating source of conflict to state / local harmony and cooperative efforts.

Several years ago the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officers (MASBO) reported on this issue and the points made are incorporated in this document. The MA Association of School Superintendents and MASC have also included items listed below.

General Overview of the General Regulatory Requirements with Cost Implications

The largest legislated program to fund public education, known commonly as the Chapter 70 funding system, does not cover in full the cost of mandates inherent in the law and regulations. The system remains essentially as it was at the start of the Education Reform program in 1993. The reimbursement formula has been modified somewhat and annual funding has increased significantly, but school districts have for many years had to budget for expenses that outstrip both the rate of inflation and the state’s ability to grow state aid to education faster than the cost-of-living for schools.

In addition to funding shortages, some of the mandates that districts must address are:

· Time and Learning standards that required some districts to expand time spent on classroom instruction.

· Curriculum frameworks that have been established in seven areas, requiring new and expanded areas of educational activity.

· Implementing, adhering to, or complying with any one of the 15 assessment, accountability and accreditation systems that were created by Education Reform or imposed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or the US Department of Education, including No Child Left Behind[1]. Superintendents have estimated that the growth of compliance mandates has expanded ten-fold and one estimate is that every educator in a public school spends as much as 160 hours per year on pure compliance requirements that are not classroom instruction or preparation for teaching.

· The Department of Education has produced a list of 106 reporting requirements (the “checklist”) that are required of superintendents each year.

· Federal regulatory compliance is an added burden as districts fulfill obligations to No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The full listing is available here (DOC)

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