In next week’s annual budget proposal, Gov. Charlie Baker will call for a $91 million increase in education local aid, and a $40 million boost in unrestricted local aid to cities and towns.
The combined $131 million increase in the two main local aid accounts compares to a more than $158 million increase in the two accounts in this year’s state budget. Baker announced his plans at an annual meeting in Boston hosted by mayors, selectmen and other municipal officials. On Wednesday, Baker is due to reveal all the details of his budget plan, which may be the first in state history to top $40 billion.
With unemployment at a 16-year low and job creation continuing, Baker and Democratic legislative leaders are counting on state tax collections to pick up and deliver a 3.9 percent increase in fiscal 2018, which begins on July 1, 2017. According to the administration, Baker’s proposed increase in unrestricted aid, which pays for non-education local services such as public safety, matches the 3.9 percent rate of growth projected for state tax revenues.
The $91 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid would raise that account to more than $4.7 billion and deliver an increase of at least $20 per pupil to all of the state’s 322 school districts. Chapter 70 aid and local property taxes are the chief sources of funding for K-12 education in Massachusetts.