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Local Aid / Education

Fiscal Year 2002 Cherry Sheet Overview

In Fiscal Year 2002, cherry sheet appropriations will total $5.2 billion, providing cities, towns, and regional school districts with a direct local aid increase of $226 million, 5% over Fiscal Year 2001 spending levels. This represents the eighth consecutive annual local aid increase. Since Fiscal Year 1992, cherry sheet aid has increased by $3.1 billion, or 147%, demonstrating the Cellucci-Swift Administration's continuing commitment to the Commonwealth's municipalities.

Chart: Cherry Sheet Spending FY92-FY02

Cherry sheet aid may be classified in three broad categories: education, including Chapter 70 and School Building Assistance; Lottery and Additional Assistance distributions; and other distributions, including municipal services, payments-in-lieu of taxes, Boston teachers' pensions, veterans' services, libraries, public safety, and local transportation projects. The Fiscal Year 2001 spending estimate and the Fiscal Year 2002 recommendation by category are detailed below:

 

Fiscal Year 2001

Fiscal Year 2002

Cherry Sheet Aid

Estimated

Recommended

 

Spending

Spending

Education

3,491,831,106

3,694,901,205

Lottery and Additional Assistance

1,261,971,495

1,267,565,230

Other Distributions

191,688,649

209,244,378

     

Total:

4,945,491,250

5,171,710,813

 

CHERRY SHEET PROGRAMS

The direct local aid distributed to cities and towns through the cherry sheets is comprised of 28 line-item appropriations administered by a variety of state agencies and departments. The largest of these programs, and their Fiscal Year 2002 funding levels, are described below.

Treasurer and Receiver-General

Chart: Lottery Aid Spending FY92-FY02
                                        * The General Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2001 appropriates $730 million for
                                        Lottery distribution. The $784 million estimate includes a projected surplus of
                                        $54 million to be distributed to cities and towns.

In Fiscal Year 2002, teachers' pensions and the local share of the racing tax are funded at Fiscal Year 2001 levels. Payments-in-lieu of taxes for state-owned land will increase by $3 million, representing the fifth year of a five-year plan to fully fund the program. In Fiscal Year 2002, the distribution of Lottery proceeds to cities and towns will be $790 million. The Lottery distribution to cities and towns has grown by 158% since Fiscal Year 1992. The increase in growth since Fiscal Year 1992 reflects the Cellucci-Swift Administration's commitment to distribute funds to cities and towns through the Lottery formula.

Education

The cherry sheet contains aid for several education programs: Education Reform ("Chapter 70"), School Building Assistance, School Transportation, and other education aid programs. The Fiscal Year 2002 budget recommendation includes total cherry sheet education funding of $203 million over Fiscal Year 2001 spending levels. Direct financial assistance distributed to school districts through the Education Reform formula will increase by $171 million, reflecting the Cellucci-Swift Administration's commitment to maintaining investments in education programs. Since Fiscal Year 1992, direct education aid has increased by $2.5 billion, which represents a 219% increase. State spending on education has consistently outpaced inflation and enrollment growth. The amount of state money spent on education has grown at a rate exceeding that of inflation plus enrollment growth by at least 7% every year between Fiscal Years 1993 and 2000. For Fiscal Year 2001, education expenditures grew by 5.7% over projected inflation and enrollment growth.

Chart: Education Local Aid FY92-FY02

The Administration will also be filing legislation to improve how education aid is calculated and distributed to school districts. All school districts have been brought up to their foundation budget spending levels as required by the 1993 Education Reform Act. The Administration's new proposal is designed to ensure that all students' education remains adequately funded. Moreover, it expands state aid to help districts pay for special education and computer technology, and for the first time it directly responds to the needs of high-growth communities. The new formula will, over time, gradually correct inequities in the amount of state aid that communities of similar wealth and income receive and in the amount that those communities are expected to pay themselves.

The Administration will also be distributing two grant programs in Fiscal Year 2002 as local aid. As in Fiscal Year 2001, $18 million will be distributed to promote lower class sizes for students in kindergarten through third grade in districts where more than 22% of students are from low-income families. In Fiscal Year 2002, the Administration also proposes to distribute $46 million in Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) remediation assistance as direct aid to cities, towns, regional school districts, and charter schools. This program ensures that those in most need receive assistance, and provides cities, towns, regional school districts, and charter schools with advance notification of the amount of assistance, which will allow them to more easily plan their remediation programs for the coming academic year.

School Building Assistance reimbursements, which provide municipalities and regional school districts with financial assistance for the planning and construction of school buildings, will increase by approximately $47 million in Fiscal Year 2002, funding an additional 46 new school projects. Since Fiscal Year 1992, funding for School Building Assistance has increased by 157%, in support of 431 new school construction projects.

Chart: School Building Assistance FY92-FY02

Additionally, the Commonwealth will increase Fiscal Year 2002 funding for Regional School Transportation by $2.4 million, maintaining the commitment to fully fund the program.

Public Safety

The Executive Office of Public Safety administers the police career incentives program, through which the Commonwealth reimburses cities and towns for 50% of the costs associated with providing incentive education programs to police officers. These incentives are offered in the form of salary increases as the officers earn undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In Fiscal Year 2002, the Administration recommendation includes $5 million in payments to cities and towns for a new career incentive salary program for firefighters.

 

NON-CHERRY SHEET LOCAL AID

The Cellucci-Swift Administration will continue to pursue a comprehensive local aid policy to ensure the fiscal stability of each city and town in the Commonwealth. To achieve this goal, the state administers local aid programs in addition to those that appear on the cherry sheet. These programs provide either programmatic assistance or direct monetary aid to communities, and like cherry sheet aid, are an important part of the Administration's effort to support the delivery of quality local services. In Fiscal Year 2002, the Cellucci-Swift Administration continues its commitment to providing assistance for a variety of programs in addition to the 28 cherry sheet programs of local aid.

Chapter 90

For Fiscal Year 2002, the Administration will continue its commitment to support cities and towns with the construction and reconstruction of local roads through the Chapter 90 program. The Administration will continue to support the Chapter 90 program at $100 million per year with $50 million provided in bond authorizations and $50 million in operating funds. For Fiscal Year 2002, the operating portion of the Chapter 90 program will be provided through a Fiscal Year 2001 supplemental budget.

Housing

The Administration also recognizes the additional local costs associated with the construction of new housing. In Fiscal Year 2002, the Administration will file a proposal to provide incentives to municipalities to expand the availability of affordable housing. Certain types of residential development are perceived as a burden to some local communities because potential tax revenues from the development often cannot cover the costs associated with it, particularly the costs of educating additional children. The Administration's proposal would distribute approximately $28 million based on a formula that calculates the gap between additional municipal costs and revenues associated with housing development.

District Attorneys and Public Safety

The Fiscal Year 2002 recommendation for District Attorneys reflects the Cellucci-Swift Administration's strong commitment to law enforcement. The budget includes an additional $4.5 million for the District Attorneys, which represents a 6% increase over Fiscal Year 2001 appropriations.

Water and Sewer Assistance

In Fiscal Year 2002, the Cellucci-Swift Administration will address statewide infrastructure concerns with continued support of funding for the financing of local water and sewer improvement projects. This budget provides $1.7 million, which will allow the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust, through the conduit of the State Revolving Fund, to support new drinking water projects throughout Massachusetts. The Administration also proposes $38.2 million for clean water contract assistance that will support both existing loans and new loans to be made in Fiscal Year 2002.

In addition, this budget continues to provide funding of $49.5 million to reduce water and sewer rates that would otherwise increase as a result of water pollution abatement projects. This funding is provided with the recommendation that water service providers conduct an analysis of options for reducing operating costs, including contracting with private entities.

 
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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Executive Office for Administration and Finance
Fiscal Affairs Division
State House, Room 272
Boston, MA 02133
(617) 727-2081


Last updated on January 17, 2001

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