Mandated Services Aid (MSA) is a combination of two separate laws that reimburse nonpublic schools for the costs they incur in fulfilling various NYS Education Department mandates, including having an attendance policy, taking attendance, completing an annual BEDS report, and administering State assessments. These two laws are called Comprehensive Attendance Policy and Mandated Services Reimbursement or CAP-MSR for short.
Last year, due to a funding shortfall, MSA payments for the 21-22 school year were pro-rated at 90% due to a lack of allocated funds in the State budget. While NYSED has since reimbursed an additional 6% due to schools, there is still 4% of the 21-22 claims due to the schools. More concerning is that budget appropriations have lagged behind yearly claim increases, making further shortfalls inevitable if budget action is not taken.
School officials that have been working for the last two decades remember well the $250 million deficit that grew from the initial founding of the CAP legislation in the early 2000’s. This substantial pot of money was ultimately repaid over the course of 2 years, starting from the summer of 2015, but it was around 10 years after the money was originally due. Last year’s prorated payments jogged many of our memories and renewed fears of a repeat scenario.
In this context, the Governor’s announcement of her including $44 million in her executive budget to both fully pay anticipated 24-25 school year claims as well as address shortfalls to the 22-23 and 23-24 claims is exciting. While there still needs to be a full budget process and negotiations, the Governor proposing a 23% increase in MSA is reflective of her understanding that something significant has to be done to ensure that nonpublic aid remains whole and increases with the times.
Teach NYS will be highly active in advocating to lawmakers over the next months that the Governor’s proposal is accepted. With this success, our outstanding 4% will be repaid and a repeat scenario for the next few years will be averted. We will keep you updated on this situation and look forward to reporting a positive outcome!