Wednesday, April 26, 2017

House Adopts Republican Caucus Proposal to Review Unfunded Education Mandates

The House Republican Caucus was successful in securing language this week in the Fiscal Year 2018 House budget to address the burden of unfunded state mandates on local schools districts.

The House of Representatives approved an amendment offered by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) to create an Educational Unfunded Mandate Task Force that will review all state laws, regulations, and administrative directives that impose reporting requirements and other mandates on school districts.  In addition to developing a cost estimate for these mandates, the task force will provide recommendations for streamlining, consolidating or eliminating them. The Caucus’ goal is to prevent the state from imposing costly mandates without also providing cities and towns with the financial resources needed to comply with these requirements.

The task force will be comprised of a cross-section of educational professionals, including representatives of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials, the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association, the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association, and the Massachusetts Administrators of Special Education. The House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on Education will chair the task force, with the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and two legislators appointed by the House and Senate Minority Leaders also serving as members.

Pending final budget approval in conference committee, the task force will convene this summer, and will issue a final report of its findings and recommendations within one year of the initial meeting.