The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has recognized that recent improvements to school meals programs can unintentionally reduce funding for low-income school districts as the result of less accurate headcounts of low-income students. The Department has already made significant improvements to its data systems and is developing further recommendations at the direction of the Legislature. Based on MassBudget’s ongoing research on direct certification and its impact on Chapter 70 funding, MassBudget has developed six recommendations to improve the Commonwealth’s low-income student count.
In this brief we describe three proposed changes to the treatment of low-income students in the Chapter 70 formula for FY 2017, analyze their combined effect for every district, and present a couple of alternative options.
This brief describes a number of solutions that would improve the effectiveness of the direct certification system and its ability to accurately identify low-income students.
Effective economic policies can create a more highly productive state economy and make it possible to improve economic opportunity and security for working families. This paper examines the economic research on the relationship between effective investments in education and transportation and improved economic productivity. The paper also examines the economic effects of tax reforms that can fund those investments.
Expanding access to affordable higher education would directly help tens of thousands of students in Massachusetts, and their families. In addition to giving more of our young people the opportunity to go to college, over the long term expanding access to quality, affordable, higher education would increase the productivity of our workforce and the strength of our state economy. This paper examines options for making public higher education more affordable in Massachusetts, including making it possible for young people to graduate from college debt free.
Massachusetts schools are phasing-in a set of improvements to their school meals programs. These changes help ensure that more kids eat healthy meals every day they’re learning at school, and yet, for technical reasons, they have forced the state to consider some changes to how it distributes school funding. This FAQ explains these issues, with a focus on how they affect our Chapter 70 education aid formula.
Children have a better chance to succeed in school when they receive individualized support and attention. Smaller class sizes are one way to help our teachers meet the needs of each child. This paper examines the evidence on how class size reductions can improve outcomes and expand opportunity for all of our children, particularly those who face the greatest obstacles.
Increased learning time can be an effective tool for providing more of our young people with improved, more well-rounded education – but only if it’s done right. This paper examines which strategies have proven most effective in implementing longer school days, quality after school services, and summer learning opportunities. The report also estimates what it costs to provide a few model programs.
To help children overcome non-academic barriers to success, a number of districts across the country have implemented wraparound services in their schools. Recent research shows that these programs can improve both the academic and life success of the students who are served. This report examines evidence on the effectiveness of these programs, describes progress being made in Massachusetts, and estimates costs for implementing evidence-based practices more widely.