Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The foundation budget established under the Education Reform Act of 1993 to calculate adequate baseline spending for the state’s public school districts understates the costs of special education and health insurance by more than $2 billion, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

“By comparing actual spending to the foundation budget for Massachusetts school districts in fiscal year (FY) 2010, we find that the real value of the original foundation budget has eroded significantly over time, due in large part to rapid cost growth for health care and special education,” the report — Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget’s Core Education Program – states. “Since the foundation budget’s original design did not foresee this rapid cost growth, spending reductions have been forced in other key areas, especially regular education teachers. We also find that due to implementation issues with inflation adjustments, the real value of the foundation budget lags behind the original dollar amounts written into state law in FY 1993.”

Here are the key findings, as stated in the report:

To find out more about education spending in your community’s school district, check out this interactive tool.