Massachusetts School Funding in a Nutshell ( post from: https://massteacher.org/current-initiatives/fund-our-future/prek-12-schools )
The nonpartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission found in 2015 that the state is underfunding our schools by more than $1 billion a year. Too many schools lack adequate staff, enrichment programs, books, technology and supplies. Too many students don’t receive the academic, social and emotional support they need to thrive. For this campaign, we will be urging legislators to update the foundation budget formula and fully fund it for Massachusetts public school students now and in the future.
- FOUNDATION BUDGET. In 1993, the Legislature approved a foundation budget formula that determines how much each district must spend to provide all students with an adequate education. Spending requirements vary based on student demographics (e.g., educating low-income students costs more), the distribution of students across grade levels and programs (e.g., English learner, vocational), and local and regional wage levels (e.g., teacher salaries are presumed to be higher in high-wage areas).
- REQUIRED LOCAL CONTRIBUTION. The state calculates how much each city and town must contribute toward the foundation budget requirement. Local contributions vary based on property values and income (e.g., low-income communities are required to pay less) as well as growth in local revenues.
- CHAPTER 70 AID. The state makes up for the difference between the required local contribution and the foundation budget requirement with Chapter 70 aid. It also provides a guaranteed annual aid increment to each district. (Districts may receive additional money from grant programs and from the federal government, but most state funding comes through Chapter 70.)
- SPENDING ABOVE FOUNDATION. Cities and towns are free to spend more than the required minimum on their schools, and many do. Some wealthy districts spend twice as much as required. Most low-income communities cannot afford to spend much more than required. That’s the main reason there are big education spending gaps in Massachusetts.