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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 2: Definitions

Section 2. (a) As used in this chapter and in chapters 15, 69 and 71, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

''Assumed in-school special education enrollment'', 4 per cent of the total foundation enrollment in a district, not including vocational or preschool enrollment, plus 5 per cent of vocational school enrollment.

''Assumed tuitioned-out special education enrollment'', 1 per cent of the total foundation enrollment in a district, not including vocational or preschool enrollment.

''Base aid'', in a fiscal year, the amount of chapter 70 school aid provided to the district in the prior fiscal year.

''Board'', the board of elementary and secondary education.

''Chapter 70 school aid'', for each district, the greater of: (i) foundation aid; or (ii) the sum of base aid and minimum aid; provided, however, that no nonoperating district shall receive chapter 70 school aid in an amount greater than its foundation budget.

''Combined effort yield'', the sum of: (i) a municipality's equalized property valuation multiplied by the uniform property percentage; and (ii) its municipal income multiplied by the uniform income percentage.

''Commissioner'', the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

''Department'', the department of elementary and secondary education.

''District'' or ''School district'', the school department of a city or town, a regional school district, an independent vocational school or a vocational school or agricultural school operated by a county.

''Effort reduction percentage'', the percentage of excess effort to be reduced in a given fiscal year, as specified annually in the general appropriations act, and applied to each municipality with excess effort in the calculation of the required local contribution.

''English learner'', as defined in section 2 of chapter 71A; provided, however, that for the purpose of determining a district's foundation budget, a district's English learner enrollment shall include the number of English learner students attending school in a district regardless of residence or tuition-paying status plus the number of English learner students that the district is sending to charter schools.

''Equalized property valuation'', the most recent equalized property valuation for a municipality as determined by the department of revenue pursuant to sections 9, 10 and 10C of chapter 58.

''Excess effort'', a municipality's preliminary local contribution minus its target local contribution; provided, however, that ''excess effort'' shall not be less than 0.

''Foundation aid'', for each district, the difference between the district's foundation budget and the required local contribution.

''Foundation allotments'', the sum of the foundation category costs for each district; provided, however, that the sum in each foundation category shall be the product of enrollment in each foundation enrollment category that is eligible for the respective foundation category and the per-pupil rate assigned to each foundation category; provided further, that in each year the per-pupil rate for each foundation category, except employee benefits and fixed charges, shall not be less than the prior year's foundation per-pupil rate adjusted by the foundation inflation index; and provided further, that in each year the rate for employee benefits and fixed charges shall not be less than the prior year's rate adjusted by the foundation employee benefits inflation rate.

''Foundation budget'', the sum of the foundation allotments for the following foundation categories: (i) administration; (ii) instructional leadership; (iii) classroom and specialist teachers; (iv) other teaching services; (v) professional development; (vi) instructional materials, equipment and technology; (vii) guidance and psychological services; (viii) pupil services; (ix) operations and maintenance; (x) employee benefits and fixed charges; and (xi) special education tuition.

''Foundation employee benefits inflation rate'', the average annual rate of growth of the average premium of all group insurance commission plans over the 3 prior fiscal years as calculated by the group insurance commission.

''Foundation enrollment'', in a fiscal year, the number of students on October 1 for whom the district is financially responsible, including students attending programs outside of the district for whom the district is required to pay tuition; provided, however, that each student shall be assigned to 1 of the following categories: (i) preschool; (ii) kindergarten, half-time: (iii) kindergarten, full-time; (iv) elementary school; (v) junior high school or middle school; (vi) high school; or (vii) vocational school.

''Foundation increments'', the additional resources provided for the education of students designated as English learners or low-income; provided, however, that the increments shall be constituted by the product of a district's foundation enrollment deemed eligible for such increments and the amounts assigned for each foundation category; provided further, that for low-income students the amount of the foundation increment shall be determined by the low-income group into which each district is assigned; provided further, that districts shall be assigned low-income groups based on the share of low-income students in the district; and provided further, that the share of low-income students in the district shall be the quotient of: (i) the district's low-income enrollment as calculated under this section; and (ii) the sum of the number of students attending school in a district, regardless of residence and tuition paying status, and the number of students that the district is sending to charter schools.

''Foundation inflation index'', the lesser of: (i) the ratio of the value of the implicit price deflator for state and local government purchases in the third quarter of the prior fiscal year to its value in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2 years prior; and (ii) 1.045.

''General revenue sharing aid'', the amount of assistance from the commonwealth to a city or town in a fiscal year from: (i) payments in lieu of taxes for state-owned land; and (ii) amounts appropriated in items 1233-2350 and 1233-2400 in the annual general appropriations act.

''Low-income'', a designation for those students whose family's income is not more than 185 per cent of the federal poverty guidelines used to determine financial eligibility for certain federal programs; provided, however, that if a consistent and accurate method for determining the income eligibility of all students is not available for all districts, the department shall develop a method to estimate the share of low-income students in each district; provided further, that the department shall submit a report to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the chairs of the joint committee on education and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means on any estimation method not later than November 1 prior to the implementation of any new estimation method in the following fiscal year; and provided further, that for the purpose of determining a district's foundation budget, a district's low-income enrollment shall include the number of low-income students attending school in a district regardless of residence or tuition-paying status plus the number of low-income students that the district is sending to charter schools.

''Minimum aid'', the greater of: (i) a district's minimum aid adjustment less its base aid; and (ii) a district's foundation enrollment multiplied by a per-pupil dollar amount specified annually in the general appropriations act, but which shall not be less than $30, which shall be the minimum aid increment above base aid.

''Minimum aid adjustment'', in each fiscal year, the sum of: (i) the greater of a district's foundation aid or base aid calculated using the base and incremental rates set forth in section 3 of chapter 41 of the acts of 2019 using the foundation inflation index as defined in section 2 of chapter 70; and (ii) a district's foundation enrollment multiplied by $30.

''Municipal income'', the most recent aggregate personal income for a municipality as determined by the department of revenue.

''Municipal revenue growth factor'', the change in local general revenues calculated by subtracting 1 from the quotient calculated by dividing the sum of: (i) the maximum levy for the fiscal year estimated by multiplying the levy limit of the prior fiscal year by a factor equal to 102.5 per cent plus the average of the percentage increases in the levy limit due to new growth adjustments over the last 3 available years as certified by the department of revenue or as otherwise estimated by the division of local services within the department of revenue where it appears that a municipality may not be entitled to increase its minimum levy limit by 2.5 per cent; provided, however, that if the highest percentage during such 3-year period exceeds the average of the other 2 years' percentages by more than 2 percentage points, then the lowest 3 of the last 4 years shall be used for such calculation; (ii) the amount of general revenue-sharing aid for the fiscal year; and (iii) other budgeted recurring receipts, not including user fees or other charges determined by the division of local services to be associated with the provision of specific municipal services for the prior fiscal year, by the sum of: (A) the actual levy limit for the prior fiscal year; (B) the amount of general revenue-sharing aid received for the prior fiscal year; and (C) other recurring receipts, not including user fees or other charges determined by the division of local services to be associated with the provision of specific municipal services budgeted by the municipality for the fiscal year preceding the prior fiscal year, if any; provided further, that for the purposes of this calculation, the levy limit shall exclude any amounts generated by overrides applicable to any year after the fiscal year ending June 30, 1993; provided further, that in the absence of an actual levy limit for the prior fiscal year, the actual levy limit for the prior fiscal year shall be estimated by multiplying the actual levy limit of the fiscal year preceding the prior fiscal year by a factor equal to 102.5 per cent plus the average of the percentage increases in the levy limit due to new growth as specified above; provided further, that such factor shall not be greater than the factor determined by subtracting 1 from the quotient calculated by dividing total state school aid for the current fiscal year by total state school aid for the prior fiscal year; and provided further, that in making any calculations required by this definition, the division of local services may substitute more current information or such other information as would produce a more accurate estimate of the change in a municipality's general local revenues and the department shall use such growth factor to calculate preliminary contribution, minimum contribution and any other factor that directly or indirectly uses the municipal growth factor.

''Net school spending'', the total amount spent for the support of public education, including tuition payments for children residing in the district who attend a school in another district or other approved facility, including a charter school, determined without regard to whether such amounts are regularly charged to school or nonschool accounts by the municipality for accounting purposes; provided, however, that ''net school spending'' shall not include any spending for school construction, long-term debt service, school meals, transportation of students to and from their homes or adult and community learning programs; provided further, that ''net school spending'' shall not include expenditures from grants, other state aid programs, tuition revenue or revenue from activities, admissions and other charges or any other revenue attributable to public education; provided further, that such revenue shall be made available to the school district that generated the revenue in addition to any financial resources made available by municipalities or from state assistance; provided further, that the department, in consultation with the department of revenue, shall promulgate regulations to ensure a uniform method of determining which municipal expenditures are appropriated for the support of public education and which revenues are attributable to public education in accordance with this chapter; and provided further, that the regulations shall include provisions for resolving disputes that may arise between municipal and school officials.

''Preliminary local contribution'', the product of: (i) a municipality's required local contribution for the prior fiscal year; and (ii) the sum of the municipality's municipal revenue growth factor and 1.

''Required local contribution'', a municipality's preliminary local contribution; provided, however, that if the preliminary local contribution is greater than the target local contribution, then the preliminary local contribution shall be reduced by the product of its excess effort and the effort reduction percentage; provided further, that if the preliminary local contribution as a percentage of the foundation budget is between 2.5 and 7.5 percentage points below the target local share, then the preliminary local contribution shall be increased by 1 per cent; provided further, that if the preliminary local contribution as a percentage of the foundation budget is more than 7.5 percentage points below the target local share, then the preliminary local contribution shall be increased by 2 per cent; provided further, that in a municipality with a combined effort yield equal to or greater than 175 per cent of its foundation budget, the required local contribution shall not be less than 82.5 per cent of the municipality's foundation budget; and provided further, that the commissioner shall allocate each municipality's required local contribution among the districts to which the municipality belongs and such allocation shall be in proportion to each district's share of the municipality's foundation budget.

''Required net school spending'', the sum of a district's chapter 70 school aid and its required local contribution.

''Target local contribution'', the lesser of: (i) a municipality's combined effort yield; or (ii) 82.5 per cent of its total foundation budget.

''Target local share'', the percentage of each municipality's foundation budget represented by its target local contribution.

''Total state target local contribution'', the per cent of the total state foundation budget which is to be funded through required local contributions, provided that the per cent shall be specified annually in the general appropriations act but shall not exceed 59 per cent.

''Uniform income percentage'', a factor calculated annually by the commissioner so that the total statewide municipal income multiplied by the uniform income percentage is equal to half of the total state target local contribution.

''Uniform property percentage'', a factor calculated annually by the commissioner so that the total state equalized property valuation multiplied by the uniform property percentage is equal to half of the total state target local contribution.

''Wage adjustment factor'', an adjusted difference between the average annual wage for all jobs in the labor market area in which a municipality is located and the average annual wage in the commonwealth; provided, however, that average annual wage figures shall be published annually by the division of employment and training; provided further, that the wage adjustment factor shall be the sum of: (i) 1; and (ii) a fraction, the numerator of which shall be the product of: (A) 1/3 and the difference resulting from subtracting the average annual wage in the commonwealth from the average annual wage of the community; and (B) the denominator of which shall be the average annual wage in the commonwealth; provided further, that the average annual wage of the community shall be the sum of: (a) 0.8 multiplied by the average annual wage for all jobs in the labor market area in which the municipality is located; and (b) 0.2 multiplied by the average annual wage of the municipality; and provided further, that the ''wage adjustment factor'' shall not be less than 1.

(b) The board shall promulgate regulations as needed to implement this section. The board shall submit any regulations to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on education not less than 60 days before adoption. The joint committee on education shall review and may comment on these regulations during that time period.