Friday, March 23, 2012

New MassBudget Video Discusses Education Funding in Massachusetts

MassBudget has re-done their website and introduced a new report. The report is summarized with an 8 minute video. What has this got to do with Franklin?

Our school budget is half the overall Franklin budget. Over the past several years, the per pupil spending across the categories that the State watches has dropped below the state average. With the proposal for the new high school taking front and center stage for conversation in the last couple of weeks, how Franklin will budget for the schools next year has not been discussed. The "No" voters are worried about the maintenance budget when they probably should be more worried about the overall budget.

The new high school (if approved) may come with 6 more class rooms but if the budget continues to get cut, will there be enough teachers to fill those class rooms?

The point of this video and report from MassBudget is to highlight that the state funding formula that doesn't fully cover the increased costs in health and special ed. Franklin's school budget is directly affected by those factors. You can go back to any of the last several years of budgets and the cost drivers are exactly that.

What does this do to the 'average' student? It reduces their educational opportunity. Those under special education plans are covered with services that by law, Franklin must provide. So when the budget gets tight, the average student and the advanced students will suffer.

MASSBudget Facebook
"Cutting Class" Video  
The new website of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is more vibrant, easier to navigate, and more multimedia-friendly--in short, a better platform for sharing materials like our new "Cutting Class" video.

In this video, education policy analyst Luc Schuster explains why districts across the state are hiring fewer teachers, providing less professional development, and spending less on materials & technology than the state funding formula considers appropriate for a quality education.

The video also describes the effects of property wealth on school funding. In the highest-wealth districts, funding shortfalls are often made up with additional local revenues. But in many communities, raising local revenue is extremely difficult. On average, the lowest-wealth districts spend 32 percent less on regular education teachers than is specified in the foundation budget formula.

MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies--with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people.

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