The foundation budget established under the Education Reform Act of 1993 to calculate adequate baseline spending for the state's public school districts understates the costs of special education and health insurance by more than $2 billion, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.
Still, residents should not let their hopes soar. Eliminating waste is unlikely to be enough. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, since the recession began, Massachusetts has cut about $3 billion in spending. The reductions hit cities and towns especially hard. Comparing fiscal 2009 with Governor Patrick’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal, the center projected a drop in unrestricted local aid of $528 million, or almost 40 percent. Education has suffered big losses as well.