Advocating for More School Funding at the State Level

Dear SOCS members,

In addition to getting out the vote for the July 18th Special Town Meeting in Ashburnham, 7:00 pm at Oakmont, we continue to advocate for more funding for schools from the state. Most recently our efforts have focused on supporting S.223 — An Act Modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st Century — a bill that would implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Committee with a multi-year phase-in.

In 1993, Massachusetts passed the Education Reform Act to ensure that all students receive a quality education, regardless of where they live. The bill established the “Foundation Budget,” a number that is calculated annually to determine how much state funding (Chapter 70 Education Aid) and local funding (Required Local Contribution) each school district will receive. The Foundation Budget formula has not been updated since it was created 24 years ago. The 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) found that health care and special education costs have far surpassed assumptions built into the original formula. As a result, those increasing costs have forced districts to cut other critical investments. Bills like this will increase our community’s chances of receiving more funding from the state.

For more information and to sign our online petition supporting the bill.

Join Natalie Nelson (SOCS planning committee) and Ellen Holmes (AWRSD School Committee member) in Boston on July 25th, when all school finance bills, including S.223, will be presented at the state house. The public is welcome to come and listen. We are also welcome to testify on the bill’s behalf.

  • The hearings begin at 10:00 am and go all day.
  • They will take place in Hearing Room 2A.
  • There will be tables set up outside of the hearing room with separate sign up sheets for each education bill. Sign your name on the list for the bill you support and you will have the opportunity to speak for up to 3 minutes when the bill is called.
  • People are also encouraged to submit written testimony to supplement their testimony.
  • There is no timeline since some bills may have no one speak and others may have multiple people, so plan to get there before 10:00 and spend the day.
  • Contact Natalie at ncoggeshall@yahoo.com if you would like to coordinate efforts, including carpooling.

Also, SOCS member Holly Garlock will be meeting with Senator Gobi’s aide during office hours on July 17th at 2:00 pm to share concerns about ongoing funding issues and discuss school choice funding. Other SOCS members are welcome to attend. Contact Holly at hollyhgarlock@yahoo.com if you can’t make it but have specific questions or concerns you would like her to raise.

We can’t stress enough the importance of continuing to work long-term on the structural problems with school funding at the state level. Please spread the word!

Best-
Lori, Natalie, Holly & Tiffany