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?