Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 2 Fiscal Year 2011

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2011

Education Investment

[ index ]

Previous Issue BriefNext Issue Brief

Governor Patrick    FY2011 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


The Administration has not lost sight of the promise made in 2007:

We will prepare all students to be lifelong learners and successful, contributing citizens in a world economy and global society by creating a 21st century education system that is fully integrated, coherent and seamless — serving children from birth through higher education and beyond.

The fiscal year 2011 House 2 budget demonstrates the Administration’s continuing commitment to keeping this promise by maintaining the investments made since 2007, maintaining the commitment to funding Chapter 70’s foundation budget, and effectively managing the use and phase out of federal stimulus funds. 

Maintaining a strong investment in education is a crucial component to guaranteeing that the Commonwealth’s students continue to be national and global leaders in educational achievement. The Administration laid out an aggressive agenda for education, and it has not given up despite a struggling global economy and limited resources.  It is essential to maintain this commitment to our children’s education.

Maintaining Education Investment in Fiscal Year 2011

Chapter 70 K-12 Education Aid[1]

The fiscal year 2011 budget provides the highest level of funds for K-12 Chapter 70 aid in history, with $4.048 billion in General Fund dollars. This is a significant achievement because replacement of federal stimulus dollars with General fund dollars eliminates budget uncertainty for schools departments across the Commonwealth. In addition, this budget ensures that districts’ foundation budgets are fully funded and that districts receive the same amount in fiscal year 2011 they received in fiscal year 2010.  It should be noted that the Commonwealth already avoided deep cuts in fiscal year 2009 when the Administration used $412 million of ARRA funds to avoid devastating budget cuts to our K-12 public schools. 

This table shows the Chapter 70 education funding from FY2007 to today.  There has been a slight increase in education funding in all years shown.

The fiscal year 2011 budget recommendation includes:

  • $6.6 million more than fiscal year 2010 total distribution to fully fund districts that require more for Chapter 70 aid in fiscal year 2011.
  • $90 million in districts that would have otherwise received less funds in fiscal year 2011, based on the formula, than in fiscal year 2010.
  • $172 million in General Fund dollars to avoid the impact of the depletion of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Dollars through ARRA.

    In addition, the Administration continues to make progress towards the equity goals established five years ago by providing 30% effort reduction to high contributing towns with aid making up the difference where needed.

Lastly, the Governor ‘s budget also supports Chapter 70 study commission and adequacy commission to finally begin addressing long standing concerns about the formula.

Higher Education

The State is making a major investment in higher education during this challenging fiscal climate. Similar to the depletion of ARRA funds in the Chapter 70 program, there is also a potential for a $230 million budget gap within our higher education system due to the use of one-time federal assistance.  To avoid a budget gap in fiscal year 2011, the Commonwealth is investing an additional $134 million of General Fund dollars, and $96 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds in Massachusetts colleges and universities to hold these campuses to the fiscal year 2009 appropriated amounts, which total $969 million.  With the assistance of federal ARRA funds and the state commitment to Higher Education, the higher education budget is one of the few areas in the state budget that has been held harmless to severe budgetary reductions since fiscal year 2009. Please refer to the Higher Education budget brief for more detailed information on Massachusetts Higher Education.

Early Education and Care

The Administration is committed to providing access to high-quality child early education and care to its residents. Research shows that a great deal of brain development occurs in the early years of a child’s life before formal schooling generally starts. Research has also shown that high-quality early education improves outcomes for children and provides them with the strong foundation for learning that will set them on a path for a successful education. The budget provides the tools for the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to improve child care quality along with increasing access and affordability.

  •    The recommended funding level is sufficient to support an additional 4,000 child care slots for low income families. Due to the recession, EEC has restricted financial assistance to operate within its appropriation. The economic recovery and other budget solutions that help mitigate cuts has allowed the administration to re-open child care access for low income families. 
  •    This budget includes $1 million increase over fiscal year 2010 spending for Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) and level funding for the Head Start Program. Research demonstrates that high-quality early education improves school readiness and increases academic achievement. 
  •    The federal government is in the process of approving the Early Learning Challenge fund which will be a competitive grant to help states develop a high quality pre-school system. The investments made in UPK and Head Start will place the Commonwealth in a position to access these new federal funds.
  •    This budget includes $500,000 increase over fiscal year 2010 spending for programs that support kids aged zero to three and their parents.
  •    This budget includes $500,000 increase over fiscal year 2010 for early childhood mental health grants.
  • Education Legislation

    In addition to the budgetary commitment the Commonwealth is making in education, on January 18, 2010 Governor Patrick signed historic education reform legislation to close achievement gaps, increase access to innovation, provide options for intervention and expand successful charter schools. Filed by the Governor in July and passed by the Legislature in January, an Act Relative to the Achievement Gap represents the state’s first major action on education policy since the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993 that included high standards, rigorous assessment and increased accountability and led to the Commonwealth’s reputation as an education leader.  The Governor commented that:

    “…the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stepped up, in a big way, to the unfinished business of education reform: closing achievement gaps. This historic reform bill passed by the Legislature represents a major step forward for the future of the Commonwealth’s nearly one million public school students. This legislation brings us substantially closer to realizing the education vision that I first presented with the Readiness Project – a vision for a transformed education system that meets the needs of every student, helps them reach high standards and fully prepares them for a successful future.”

    The passage of this legislation will enhance the Commonwealth’s ability to improve our education system in many ways, including:

    • Creating meaningful intervention tools to address persistent under-performance in some of our schools; 
    • Promoting locally-inspired and approved innovation; and
    • Allowing a highly-targeted increase in the charter school cap, focusing on providers with records of success serving the most challenged students in the most challenged school districts. 

    Other States

    Across the country, states have been forced to reduce their education spending due to the recession. In comparison, the Patrick-Murray Administration has been successful maintaining funding for education. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that at least 27 states and the District of Columbia are cutting aid to K-12 schools and various education programs. Moreover, some states, such as California, Michigan, and Mississippi have made significant cuts to school aid and Hawaii is furloughing teachers for 17 days this year.[2] Additionally, the New York Governor recently filed a fiscal year 2011 budget recommendation that proposed a year-to-year reduction in School Aid of $1.1 billion or five percent.

    [1] Please refer to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website for information on the Chapter 70 Funding Formula.


    Prepared by Brian Gosselin, Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
    For more information contact: (617) 727-2040

    top of page link top of page