Board's Budget Subcommittee

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education exists, primarily, to administer state and federal education laws, of which the State's Education Budget is a part. And, while the education budget is a line item within the State's total budget allocation (as is a local education budget within a Municipality's budget), the appointed State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education exercises no budgetary authority (which is unlike locally elected School Committees who have actual budget oversight); BESE maintains policy and regulatory oversight.

Of the ~$5.2B allocated to DESE in FY17, only a tiny amount is actually discretionary:
  • ~91% passes directly through DESE and goes to local districts in the form of Chapter 70 funding
  • ~5% is for federal entitlement programs (IDEA, Nutrition, Perkins, Titles I, II, etc.)
  • Of the remaining ~4%:
    • ~3.9% is discretionary for the purpose of assigning FTEs to new programming (Civics Education, e.g.)
    • less than 0.001% goes to the Department's staffing needs
The Budget Subcommittee* met for the second time this fall to help with the development of Board priorities within the FY18 State Budget. The meeting was held Tuesday, November 29 at 7:30 AM, an hour before the Board's regular monthly meeting. We had previously identified numerous interest areas, including, but not limited to: SEL, civics education, educator resources, Chapter 70 funding, extended learning time, updated health standards, reading and third grade literacy, updated arts education standards, Foundation Budget Review Commission recommendations, and full funding for MCAS 2.0. Given the State's continuing revenue challenges, Chair Craven brought forward the idea of "enforced collegiality via intergovernmental service funds", which has the potential for interagency collaboration on shared, non-academic education challenges via Section 2B of the Budget and with the Education secretariat in collaboration with Health & Human Services and Housing secretariats^

The Subcommittee brought forward its recommendations to the full Board for a vote at our regular November meeting (11/29).
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*Members of the Board's FY18 Budget Subcommittee: Katherine Craven (Chair), Margaret McKenna, Michael Moriarity, Ed Doherty, and yours truly. We meet with the commissioner and DESE financial staff. I'm pleased to have been appointed to the Budget Subcommittee each year since my appointment to the Board in 2014; this was my third time through the Board's prioritization process.

^Departments of Early Education and Care, Higher Education, Developmental Services, Public Health, and Mental Health among them. Section 2B of the FY2017 Final BudgetNotwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the agencies listed in this section may expend the amounts listed in this section for the provision of services to agencies listed in section 2. All expenditures made under this section shall be accompanied by a corresponding transfer of funds from an account listed in section 2 to the Intragovernmental Service Fund, established by section 2Q of chapter 29 of the General Laws. All revenues and other inflows shall be based on rates published by the seller agency that are developed in accordance with cost principles established by the United States Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments. All rates shall be published within 30 days of the enactment of this section. No expenditures shall be made from the Intragovernmental Service Fund which would cause that fund to be in deficit at the close of fiscal year 2017. All authorizations in this section shall be charged to the Intragovernmental Service Fund and shall not be subject to section 5D of chapter 29 of the General Laws. Any balance remaining in that fund at the close of fiscal year 2017 shall be transferred to the General Fund.