The Senate today passed a $513 million fiscal 2023 supplemental budget bill that includes conditional funding to address extraordinary special education cost increases, as well as $20 million in disaster relief related to recent flooding in western Massachusetts.

Major investments in the spending bill (S. 2426) would provide relief for financially strained hospitals and fund several public employee collective bargaining agreements.

The bill includes $75 million to address extraordinary cost increases in special education for eligible school districts, following a decision made by the Operational Services Division last October that allows out-of-district special education private schools to increase tuition by 14% in fiscal 2024.

Under the Senate plan, districts that incur special education instructional costs in fiscal 2024 that exceed 25% of instructional costs in fiscal 2023 would be eligible for reimbursement. Additionally, districts would be reimbursed for 100% of any instructional cost increases exceeding 5% where the total of the increase also exceeds 0.5% of the district’s total actual net school spending in fiscal 2023.

The Senate did not include a provision that was part of a $693 million supplemental budget bill passed by the House on July 13 that would make any school district with unobligated Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds ineligible for relief.

An outside section of the Senate bill would allow a city or town to amortize its 2024 major disaster relief deficit over fiscal 2025 to 2027.

Neither the House nor the Senate supplemental budget bills include several municipal finance law changes that were included in a supplemental budget bill that was filed by Gov. Maura Healey in March.

The House and Senate will need to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills before a compromise bill is sent to the governor for review.

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