Seeing the budget situation is fluid I had a few questions related to Belmont and State funds.
The Belmont Schools have budgeted approximately $1.1m for increases in the SPED budget. About $530,000 of that is lost stimulus funding and the balance is a projected 11% increase in y/y SPED costs based on historical data the last 6 years.
Question #1: Does the State have any control over the rising costs of SPED. A year over year average 11% increase seems like gouging by the providers of the services? Who is regulating the providers of out of School services?
Question #2: I believe you mentioned that SPED was underfunded last year in the budget in anticipation of Stimulus funds. Now that the Stimulus funds are gone is it likely that State will increase their contribution over last year’s?
Question #3 : Belmont seems to be using a conservative available funds budget formula based on a 15% cut in Local Aid. The Governor’s budget tends to be more favorable and at present it would add $960,000 to Belmont’s available funds budget. I understand that number will be adjusted down most likely as the Legislature makes adjustments to it. My question is when looking at State aid are SPED and Chapter 70 funds coming from the same pot or are they 2 distinct areas of potential upside for Belmont’s available funds budget?
1) Yes. The state regulates the rates for out-of-district SPED providers. The Governor’s proposed budget includes an outside section freezing rates. I will advocate that we adopt that language.
2) Yes. The Governor’s budget includes a full restoration of those funds. I’m not sure we will be able to achieve that, but it will be a top priority for me and many others to do so.
3) Chapter 70 and circuit-breaker funding are both included in the General Appropriations Act and they can and will compete with each other for funding. Incidentally, unrestricted general government aid is also from the same pot. That doesn’t mean we can’t push for more of all three.
Click here for a post with more detail on this issue.
Comments are closed.