An Act providing rightful opportunities and meaningful investment for successful and equitable education: S.238/H.586
LWVMA presented the following testimony in support of S.238/H.586, 3.22.19
Testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Education
In Support of S.238/H.586, An Act providing rightful opportunities and meaningful investment for successful and equitable education
By Mary E. Frantz, LWVMA Education Finance Specialist March 22, 2019
For nearly 50 years, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has monitored both general municipal aid and education aid. And since the passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993, the League has been a critic of the Chapter 70 formula for distributing education aid and has proposed solutions to provide a more equitable formula.
Despite our concerns, the League has strongly supported the basic premise of the education reform act that, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled, the Commonwealth must provide an adequate education for all of those enrolled in its public schools. The Education Reform Act defined the cost of an adequate education by the Foundation Budget, a calculation which is defined by a second formula in Chapter 70. The two formulas work together so that, each year, the state aid distributed to local schools is based upon each individual school district’s Foundation Budget as calculated for that year.
The 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission found that actual costs, particularly those associated with health care and special education, have far surpassed assumptions built into the original Foundation Budget formula. As a result, those increasing costs have forced districts to cut other critical investments, including professional development, counseling, arts, technology and books, early education, social-emotional supports, and extended days and a longer school year.
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts supports S.238/H.586, sponsored by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Rep. Aaron Vega and Rep. Mary Keefe. This bill renews the promise that every student in Massachusetts will have equal access to an adequate quality 21st century education by significantly revising the Foundation Budget formula. It will adjust the formula to more accurately project districts’ costs, to more equitably distribute resources, and to empower schools to improve outcomes for all students.
The bill sets a multi-year phasing in of the recommendations contained in the bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission’s 2015 report. Until all the recommendations are implemented, the Foundation Budget will continue to fall short of accurately representing the full cost of an adequate education. Passing S.238/H.586 will, however, represent the legislature’s commitment to making these necessary changes.
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts urges the members of the Joint Committee on Education to give S.238/H.586 a favorable report and urge its enactment. The League further urges the legislature to make certain that changes in the Foundation Budget formula do not increase the flow of funding to charter schools at the expense of the district schools. All schools should equally see a benefit from these changes.
Thank you for your consideration.
What should I say?
Hinds, Comerford, Humason, Carey, and Sabadosa are all cosponsors.
Thank you for cosponsoring the Education Promise Act. This bill provides essential updates to the Foundation Budget that will more equitably distribute resources to all districts. Your support is critical to ensuring that during the multi-year phasing in of reforms, the legislature will continue to appropriate adequate funds.
Senator Adam Hinds Senator Jo Comerford
Room 413-F Room 70C
24 Beacon St. 24 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 0213 Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-1625 Phone:617-722-1532
Senator Donald Humason, Jr.
24 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02133
Representative Daniel Carey Representative Lindsay Sabadosa
24 Beacon St. 24 Beacon St.
Room B1 Room 2B
Boston, MA 02133 Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2425 Phone:617-722-2425