Beacon Hill leaders are beginning the long process of updating how the state funds education for cities and towns, but there are some roadblocks in the way of figuring out how to pay for quality schools in 2015.
A special panel of lawmakers called the Foundation Budget Review Commission issued a report Monday saying that the cost of special education and health care benefits to school employees is limiting the state's ability to improve the quality of Massachusetts's schools.
The panel wants add more data collection to the how schools are administered to determine with more accuracy how much it actually costs to operate, and pay for, a school.
They also want education officials and lawmakers to revamp the 1993 formula that determines how much money local school districts get from the state.
But Speaker Robert DeLeo says changing a major funding formula is one of the most difficult things to get done in the House because there will be some towns — and representatives — that lose out from the change.
"If you change something in one city, it affects another city or town then that representative is sure to have a problem with it," DeLeo told reporters Monday after meeting with Gov. Charlie Baker and Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
In order to pay for more learning time, books, technology, professional development for teachers, pre-school and other programs, the report says the state needs to first get a sounder idea of how much schools are spending already.
In order to address the achievement gap between poor and wealthier students, the report lays out a plan to boost funding for English learners and poorer districts.