Monday, September 30, 2019

Senate Sets Date To Debate School Funding Bill

This week the Senate plans to debate an education finance bill that would add $1.5 billion in school funding over a seven year timeline. In this post I will provide you with a link to the text of the bill, a statement I released to the media about it, and a link to the 69 amendments that were filed by my colleagues and I to alter the bill. I proposed twenty amendments to the bill.

A sound legislative response to the recommendations issued by the Foundation Budget Review Commission in 2015 is overdue, and it must provide accountability, fairness and sustainability. The bill gives us the opportunity to reach those goals, and to achieve consensus on measures that can strengthen our schools and provide students with the education they deserve.

The bill contains important provisions that include not only a 7 year plan to fully fund the recommendations of the FBRC, but also the statutory codification of minimum per pupil aid, the inclusion of special education transportation in the Circuit Breaker funding program, and increased resources to support the social/emotional needs of students. In addition, it requires the periodic review of the Foundation Budget, which is critical to preventing the type of problems we face today in the future.

A preliminary analysis of the bill indicates that we now have a promising opportunity to evolve it into a solid set of reforms that will make the future of education in Massachusetts better, if we can agree to not only provide important resources, but also to ensure that they are spent wisely and effectively to benefit every student in our schools.

S2350 - An Act relative to educational opportunity for students, and the amendments scheduled for debate this Thursday -