February 29, 2016
Chairman Brian S. Dempsey
House Ways & Means Committee
Chairwoman Karen E. Spilka
Senate Ways & Means Committee
RE: Chapter 70 Minimum Aid Increment
Dear Chairman Dempsey and Chairwoman Spilka,
We are writing to request an increase in the minimum aid increment for the Chapter 70 education funding formula in the FY2017 Ways & Means budget.
Under the current formula, the vast majority of school districts across Massachusetts will receive only a minimum per pupil increase. In House 2 that minimum aid figure is $20 per pupil, a reduction from the F16 GAA of $25 per pupil.
Our school districts face rising expenses every year just to maintain existing services. Most of these cost drivers, including energy and health care rates, contractual obligations and testing mandates, are beyond the control of local districts. Yet for the two hundred plus districts that would receive just the minimum aid increment in House 2, the Chapter 70 allotment increases by an average of less than one percent.
We respectfully request an increase in the Chapter 70 minimum aid increment from $20 to $50 per pupil, which represents an overall increase of just $20.2 million over House 2. This modest and achievable increase will realize a significant boost in local aid to our school districts and help offset what is still likely to be a challenging year.
Thank you for your support and consideration of our request.