Wednesday, April 11, 2018

School Funding Effort Gains Momentum

My office sent the following press release that describes my efforts to secure financial support for public education.

Boston- An effort to increase school funding for next year being led largely by the legislative delegation representing the Triton Regional School District is gaining momentum on Beacon Hill, as the time for the House and Senate to debate the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget draws near.

Recently, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester) and Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D- Newburyport), joined with House colleagues Bradford Hill (R- Ipswich) and Lenny Mirra (R- West Newbury), to draft a letter seeking specific budget requests for the next year’s spending document. They include:
• Full Funding of Regional School Transportation – full funding of the account to provide the statutory 100% reimbursement,
• Minimum “Per Pupil” funding of $100 per student,
• Major progress toward funding the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, particularly those relating to health insurance and special education enrollment,
• The Circuit Breaker for Special Education funding to achieve a 75% reimbursement rate,
• Substantial funding for the “Pothole” account for schools facing unforeseen circumstances or extreme fiscal distress.

“Education funding remains a critically important component of our state budget, the delegation and those that signed the letter believe that we should support our students and our schools so that they can succeed,” said Senator Tarr. “Before taking on new initiatives we should fund these essential elements first.”

The letter, addressed to the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Jeffrey Sánchez (D- Jamaica Plain) and Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka (D- Ashland), has garnered the support of more than 50 members of the House and Senate who have signed it along with the members of the Triton delegation. These signers represent communities across Massachusetts.

The timing of that support is critical since both Committees on Ways and Means are presently preparing budget proposals for debate in the House later this month and in the Senate in May. The request builds on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal of Governor Charlie Baker, which increases Chapter 70 School Aid by a minimum of $20 per pupil, and funding for the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission for health insurance by $24.3 million.