By Steven Fletcher
Gloucester and Cape Ann's towns could see increases in local aid for the coming fiscal year, with the state House Ways and Means Committee's budget carrying a slight increase in funding for cities and towns.
But Gloucester, according to the fiscal 2013 cherry sheet estimates received last week, would take a $184,000 overall hit in state aid from the current fiscal year.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Monday that, even with a Ways and Means hike, the formula is a net loss.
The governor's budget keeps Chapter 70 aid and general government aid at level funding for fiscal 2013, and Ways and Means decided to increase the amount by $61,120 for Chapter 70 and straight government aid by $244,250. But, add some higher state fees and increases in school choice and charter school tuition charges, and the city comes out short, Kirk said.
"It's basically a net loss to our budget, so we have to make it up," said Kirk. "(But) This is the best state budget I've seen in four years. In the past, we've been dealing with far greater losses, but we're not breaking even yet."
In total, the city is budgeting for $6,970,318 in state education aid. Some $5.84 million of that comes from Chapter 70 funding, up from this year's $5.75 million. But $899,168 is from the state charter school reimbursement, down from $1.36 million for this year, and $162,593 would come from school choice students heading into Gloucester from other districts.
In contrast, the city is projected to lose $1.3 million in sending school choice tuition, $2,260,430 in charter school sending tuition, and $149,700 in sending tuition for the North Shore Regional Technical School.
For general government, the city is budgeting for $3,378,096. That's up from the current fiscal year's $3,133,846. With additional funding coming in for veterans benefits, from state-owned land and other items with a combined total of $3,716,984.
But Gloucester could be out $1,687,981 for state assessments, $309,106 for the Cape Ann Transit Authority, CATA.
Cape Ann towns
Among Cape Ann's towns, cherry sheet estimates show $370,000 in general government aid for Rockport, up from $343,349 for the current year.
The estimates also show $1,304,118 in Chapter 70 aid for Rockport Public Schools, and $792,576 in incoming school choice revenue. For the current year, Rockport received $1.27 million in Chapter 70, school choice receiving tuition is up from the current year's $706,062. The state assessed the town for various costs, $298,100. The town faces $222,057 in school choice, charter school and regional technical school sending tuition.
Town Meeting approved a $29.3 million budget.
Essex's cherry sheet estimates show state aid at $207,087, up from the current $192,114. The town faces $28,274 in state assessments. The town has yet to pass its proposed $15.6 million budget, which goes to Annual Town Meeting on May 7.
The Manchester Essex Regional School District's Chapter 70 aid is up to $2,642,035 for Fiscal 2013, while the district is receiving $2,106,931 this year. The district's school choice receiving tuition fell from the current $645,244 to a projected $616,421 for the coming fiscal year, while the district will face an assessment of $114,521 for special education and sending tuition.
Manchester's general government aid, according to cherry sheet estimates, will come in at $188,099, up from the current $174,499, and the town passed a $12.6 million budget.
The town, however, faces $152,346 in state assessments.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.