For Immediate Release - June 28, 2012

Statement from Auditor Bump on Legislature Passing FY2013 Budget

I applaud both the House and Senate for relieving our local schools of a burdensome unfunded mandate amidst an extremely difficult budget process. Their 2013 budget will completely reimburse school systems affected last year by a state program related to busing and educating homeless school children.

In October I made the determination that the state’s embrace of the federal McKinney-Vento homeless transportation program requires school systems to incur new costs outside their historic responsibility.  Through legal analysis we found both the cost of transporting a homeless child to another school district and the cost of educating a child who does not reside in the school district to be an unfunded mandate.

In February we were able to calculate that the FY2012 McKinney-Vento burden on cities and towns will amount to $11.3 million, and that 33 communities will spend more than $100,000 to meet this state requirement.  The costs incurred are largely unpredictable and have the potential of forcing schools to cut teachers and enlarge class sizes in tight budget conditions. 

I commend Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray for their responsiveness, foresight, and respect for the local mandates process.  I urge Governor Deval Patrick to approve this appropriation in the final budget.  This funding will not just relieve the Commonwealth of a legal obligation, but it will also improve our schools.

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