In January, I reported Lynn school finance information for FY13 and FY14 according to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reports. These reports were updated as of June 9, 2014; here's a look at the most recent figures.
According to the June reports, Lynn's required net school spending (NSS) and foundation budgets have not changed compared to the January figures. What has changed, however, is the actual NSS total.
In January, Lynn's actual spending was reported as $159,747,443; as of June, this figure had decreased to $158,780,042. The change in actual net school spending compared to the required net school spending had repercussions in terms of the loss in Chapter 70 funding. In January, the loss was reported as $300,565; it has currently increased to $1,267,966.
Similar to fiscal year 2013, the required NSS and foundation budget amounts for FY14 did not change from the January to the June reports. The actual net school spending for FY14 did increase by approximately $2.4 million.
The increase in spending changed Lynn's spending as a percentage of the required amount from 91.4% to 92.7%. As a result, the loss in state aid related to FY14 spending also changed; the loss was originally over $7 million but has now decreased to $4,561,856.
Given the changes in spending, the amount under the required NSS has been updated.
For FY13, the amount under has increased from $8,585,956 to $9,553,357; the amount under for FY14 has decreased from $15,703,157 to $13,250,465.
There is currently legislation included in both the Massachusetts Senate and House budgets related to NSS that could potentially alleviate the Chapter 70 funding losses Lynn is facing. Most notably:
SECTION 111. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education may waive penalties associated with deficiencies in net school spending requirements up to an amount that can be attributed to non-inclusion of health care costs for retired teachers in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
This pertains to Lynn as much of gap between Lynn's actual NSS and the required amounts can be attributed to the fact that city had reportedly been including retired teacher benefits in its NSS totals despite the city's exclusion from doing so under the law. A December 2013 revealed that Lynn had been including these benefits in its NSS figures when it should not have been which originally changed the city's NSS deficit from approximately $450,000 to over $8.5 million (July 2013 report compared to January 2014 report). Additionally, the Senate and House budgets contain the following:
SECTION 112. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education may waive penalties associated with deficiencies in net school spending requirements up to an amount that can be attributed to non-inclusion of health care costs for retired teachers in fiscal year 2015 if the district submits a schedule under section 110 and the commissioner approves such schedule.
The budget is currently in the 'Conference Committee' stage and has not been finalized yet. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to sign the finished budget by the end of the month given that the new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2014. Given these potential legislative changes, Lynn's net school spending information is subject to change again in the coming months for FY13 and FY14.
All data taken from: www.doe.mass.edu