Monday, November 28, 2011

New MassBudget Report on State Education Funding

MASSBudget Facebook
Cutting Class
November 27, 2011 

In a new report titled "Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget's Core Education Program," The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center finds that districts across the state are hiring fewer teachers, providing less professional development, and spending less on materials & technology than the state funding formula considers appropriate for a quality education.

Why is this happening? Because the foundation budget--the model school budget on which state aid is based--has not been updated to reflect the current costs of education. Currently, it underestimates health insurance costs by more than $1 billion dollars, and special education costs by another billion. On several occasions, the state has also failed to make inflation adjustments indicated by the law.

In the highest-wealth districts, such shortfalls are often made up with additional local revenues. But in many communities, raising local revenue is extremely difficult. On average, the lowest-wealth districts spend 32 percent less on teachers than is specified in the foundation budget formula.

To accompany "Cutting Class," MassBudget has an online interactive tool that allows you to look more closely at individual districts and the impact of wealth on education spending. 

Click here to see a copy of the report. Or here to use the online tool. 
MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies--with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people. "Cutting Class" was supported by the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials.

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