But the legislature could have kept aid to every district at the higher of the governor’s numbers or last year’s downpayment formula’s numbers, at a cost of just $15 million above the governor’s budget. This means the cuts for
101 the Globe’s reported 83 locales resulted from some other changes. My hunch (not verified by close review of the numbers; I’ve confirmed the legislature’s change roughly matches proper downpayment figures for 86 locales) is the legislature tossed out the modified “downpayment” formula for a savings of $9 million, and then applied $14 million towards reforming the foundation budget. That is to say, I think the legislature added on two things, each costing about $15 million, and took away one to save $9 million. Plus some other tweaks, perhaps.
So now, the question is, will the governor ask the legislature to apply the larger of the two, bumping aid up by another $15,811,156
Hmm. 15.8 – 9 != 0 , according to my calculations? Or will the governor’s fiscal discipline message rule the day?
My two cents is the legislature’s numbers are fairer, in that they more uniformly apply a 30% share of target share reform aid, and were promised earlier. I don’t know about the foundation changes, but believe their intention is to address No Child Left Behind subgroup issues, that is, more progressive than the governor’s initiative. Sorry, governor.
My other two cents is that I don’t think either the governor or legislature even have the regulatory part of target share reform on their radar screens this year. Towns that are members of regional school districts with the misfortune of having “required minimum contributions” above their target local share are effectively paying a surtax on their regional school assessments, with 107 towns paying at least a 10% surtax, and 29 paying a 25% to 55% surtax.
The state can accelerate regulatory reform for many of these towns, by focusing “effort reduction” on out of the money effort rather than in-the-money effort. Target share reform is writing down $500 million of excesses in “required minimum” contributions. About $200 million of that has to be replaced by increases of state aid, but another $300 million does not; that is the “out of the money” part, and that also accounts for most of the regional school surtaxes, applied at different rates for different towns, with no basis in ability to pay.
Reducing “out of the money” excess effort would let the state accelerate target share reform for required minimum contributions without triggering as much aid as the current formula and without pushing more locales into the part of the formula where big increases will show up in the “baseline inflation plus enrollment changes” next year and in future years.
So why not go for a reform that accelerates regulatory relief, at lower cost to the state this year and with greater fiscal discipline going forward, as well as making future aid allocations to cities and towns more uniform and more predictable?