Money – and how to get more of it – is at the heart of several education-related proposals that Mayor Martin J. Walsh intends to file Friday. The reason is clear: costs have been rising faster than revenues, forcing the school system to make cuts even as the budget has increased to $1 billion.
Here’s a quick rundown on some of Walsh’s proposals:
• Provide $16.5 million in additional funding to Boston so all 4-year-olds can attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. The money would come from two Convention Center fund revenues raised exclusively in Boston. The fund, city officials say, typically runs a surplus that the state frequently uses to balance its budget.
• End the practice of having local communities pay “facility aid” to charter schools and then having the communities wait for state reimbursements for these costs that in recent years haven’t been fully funded. Instead, Walsh’s plan would allow charter schools to be eligible for money from the Massachusetts School Building Authority and make that quasi-public agency responsible for covering the charter school facilities charges.
• Scrap the way reimbursements are calculated for districts when a new charter school opens up. The reimbursements extend for six years and often are not fully funded by the state.
Instead, Walsh proposes consolidating the reimbursements to a three-year period, giving districts 100 percent the first year, 50 percent the second year, and 25 percent the third year. This proposal would essentially restore the formula to the way it was seven years ago before the current method went into place.
• No longer require school districts to pick up 100 percent of the costs of busing charter school students if the district and the charter school cannot reach agreement on school start and end times. In such instances, district and charter schools would split the busing costs equally.
• Overhaul the state’s education aid formula so all districts get a fair share of funding.