Increased State Funding for Schools May Not Be Felt Much In Local Districts

Aug 7, 2017

The Massachusetts state budget for fiscal 2018 includes the largest-ever appropriation for public schools. But some school superintendents say that won't change much for their districts.

Public schools will receive more than $4.7 billion in state aid over the next fiscal year. This amounts to a $120 million increase in state funding for school districts over fiscal 2017.

But that amount is a bit of a misnomer, said Todd Gazda, Ludlow's superintendent.

"When you look, and you parse that out across the state... it doesn't equal the (cost) increases that we see in our local districts," said Gazda, who also serves as an executive member of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

In the Berkshires, where many school enrollments are dropping along with the population, the funding increase won't be felt much. That's because part of the state funding equation is based on the number of students in a district.

"We're in challenging financial times," said North Adams Superintendent Barbara Malkas.