Sunday, January 26, 2020

"the Governor's budget is where the conversation starts"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
A state senator who has advocated for education funding reform is pushing back against Gov. Charlie Baker’s description of his fiscal 2021 budget proposal as “fully” funding the new school finance law.

In keeping with the law Baker signed in November, the $44.6 billion budget he filed Wednesday recommended a $303.5 million increase in Chapter 70 aid to local schools. Baker said his budget “will fully fund the first year of the Student Opportunity Act,” which committed the state in $1.5 billion in new funding for K-12 education over seven years.

But state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, who filed one of the bills on which the Student Opportunity Act was based, said Baker’s budget does not fully fund “both the letter and spirit of the Student Opportunity Act.” She said its overall Chapter 70 number “is in the right ballpark,” but the total “is not distributed in an equitable way across the four categories” specified in the law.

Pointing to information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Chang-Diaz said Baker’s plan “takes a 14% step toward full implementation” for health care, special education and English learners, but a 4% step for low-income students.
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is not the only one with questions on the education funding and following through on the Governor's commitment.  Tracy Novick, a field director for the MASC as well as a school committee member in Worcester, has an extensive analysis of the education funding in the House-2 budget. (House-2 as it is Governor Baker's second budget in the Legislative term).
"It is the first year of the implementation of the Student Opportunity Act, so the first question is, was it implemented?
I think my answer on that is "mostly, but," as I said to Commonwealth Magazine when they called me this week.

  • The estimation was the 1/7th of implementation of the Student Opportunity Act would take an additional $300M in Chapter 70 aid statewide; that was hit. 
  • The new law guarantees $30/pupil minimum increases with hold harmless; that was done. 
  • House 2 does increase health insurance by the GIC three year average increase of 2.34%, rather than the inflation rate for the rest of the foundation budget, which is 1.99% (which is not great at all). "
Continue reading Novick's analysis

Franklin residents will have a chance on Feb 4 to address our legislative representatives at the Legislative Forum hosted by the School Committee at FHS.
"the Governor's budget is where the conversation starts"
"the Governor's budget is where the conversation starts"

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