Conference Committee Report on the FY13 State Budget – H 4200

Below are highlights of the FY13 House and Senate Conference Committee report on the FY13 budget that was sent to Governor Deval Patrick. The governor signed or vetoed sections of this budget on Sunday, July 8.

Budget Spreadsheets

Chapter 70 Education Aid – Increased to Senate Level
The Conference Committee recommends an increase of $180 million, or 4.5 percent, over FY12, $16.5 million more than the $164 million increase proposed by the House.

Foundation Budget Review Commission – Not Included in the Final Budget
The Senate had included in its budget a revival of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. This provision would have helped fulfill the goals of the Education Reform Act of 1993 by requiring an examination of the foundation budget by a legislatively-controlled commission. This amendment passed the Senate on a 38 – 0 vote, but the amendment was rejected by the Conference Committee.

Education Funding – K-Higher Ed and Collective Bargaining Reserve
Overall, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education budget is increased moderately. Education grant programs increased over FY12 include regional school transportation by $2 million and the SPED Circuit Breaker by $29 million. Funding is included for two new Gateway Cities education programs.

The final budget includes higher education collective bargaining reserve funding for FY13. It also boosts grant and scholarship programs, increasing the higher education budget by almost 7 percent over the FY12.

Community College Workforce Development and Higher Ed Changes
The Conference Committee rejected most of the Senate’s proposals, including expanded tuition retention and limits on fee setting, while keeping most of the House’s proposals.

MTA Representation on Commissions
MTA representation is included on the commission established to determine how community colleges will be funded.

MTA is also included on the committee to advise the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on the pilot program on financial literacy education.

Here are some specific items and how they were funded:

Foundation Reserve – included at $3.5 million.        
SPED Circuit Breaker – funded close to the Senate’s higher amount, $241.9 million.

METCO – funded at the House’s higher amount, $18.1 million.

Kindergarten Development Grants – funded at $23.9 million, $1 million over FY12.     

English Language Acquisition – funded at the Senate’s higher amount, $1.2 million.

Transportation of Homeless Students – funded at $11.3 million, as included by the House.

Community College Workforce Training – funded at the House’s higher amount, $1.25 million.

High Demand Scholarship Program – included at $3.25 million.

Retirees

Cost of Living Adjustment: The conference committee funds the retiree COLA at 3 percent for the first $13,000.

The proposal increases the minimum retirement allowance for surviving spouses of members who retired on ordinary or job-related disability. Municipalities are given the option of adopting the provision while participants in the state systems – including the teachers’ retirement system – are provided the benefit.

The conference committee allows municipal retirees who are insured through the GIC to purchase dental insurance through the GIC’s dental plan for their surviving spouses and their dependents. The benefit has no cost to the state or municipality because the full premium cost is paid by the member.