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Budget Gap for Current Fiscal Year

On October 29, Governor Deval Patrick announced his plan to close the budget gap for FY10. Previously, as required by law, the governor had announced that the state was going to be $600 million short in anticipated revenues. Patrick’s plan to balance the budget includes a combination of cuts, spending a small surplus from FY09 and use of federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Unlike other state programs, public education was largely spared from devastating cuts. Below is an outline of the impact of the governor’s proposal on public education.

PreK-12 Education

  • Chapter 70 – No cuts proposed in Chapter 70, which is the major area of state funding for local school districts.
  • Local Aid – Up to 50 percent of local aid in some communities goes to fund schools. No cuts to major local aid accounts. Small cut of $10.8 million to Payments in Lieu of Taxes for communities that have state property.
  • Regional School Transportation – $18 million cut.
  • Special Education “Circuit Breaker” – Reduced by $7 million out of a budget of $140 million.
  • Charter School Reimbursements to School Districts – Reduced by $5 million out of an account of $80 million. Reduction based on “projected spending levels.”

Higher Education

  • UMass, state and community colleges – Reductions of $62 million replaced with ARRA funding of $62 million. Most of this money will go to pay salaries. There is an outstanding question of how the associated fringe benefits will be paid. These amount to:
      • UMass: $8.5 million
      • State colleges: $3.8 million
      • Community colleges: $4.2 million
      • State Employee Health Insurance – Funding to the Group Insurance Commission was cut by $126,000 out of $2.7 million as a result of reducing administrative expenses and manager furlough savings.

      Early Education and Care

      • Reduced by $16.4 million, including $11 million out of a $173 million budget for child care access.