Senator Spilka to Testify on Chapter 70 Adequacy Study, Studying Alternative Sources of Funding to Public Schools Bills
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Joint Committee on Education Hearing
Hearing Room A-1
Massachusetts State House
Senator Spilka will offer testimony in support of her bill, Senate Bill 278, An Act to Fulfill the Promise of Education Reform: Adequate Funding for Student Success.
Over 16 years ago, Massachusetts passed its landmark Education Reform Act of 1993 that, for the first time, established a minimum spending requirement for all school districts, known as the foundation budget. The act also set out a plan to phase in state aid to local districts to meet the new requirements. To ensure that the state is maintaining adequate funding for public schools today, a reassessment of the foundation budget is long overdue.
Senate Bill 278 would establish an Education Resource Study Committee, consisting of representatives of the legislative and executive branches, which would contract for an independent “adequacy” study. This study would determine the resources needed for students to achieve the state education standards in order to help the Commonwealth determine the appropriate amount of Chapter 70 funding for future years.
Senator Spilka will also testify on behalf of Senate Bill 271, An Act Relative to Studying Alternative Sources for Funding Local and State Aid to Public Schools, which seeks to Tfind alternatives to the property tax for funding public schools in the Commonwealth.
Residential property taxes in Massachusetts rose between 3.7 percent and 6.7 percent in each of the past 10 years despite a nearly 1 percent drop in the value of an average home. Due to the drop in home values as well as limited wage increases since 2000, it is necessary to identify alternative sources of funding for public schools in order to reduce the effects of budget cuts in areas including sports, arts, decreased transportation, and increased classroom size.
Senator Spilka, who began her political career as a member of the Ashland School Committee, was the facilitator for the Chapter 70 Roundtable, a statwide coalition of groups and municipalities organized to change the Chapter 70 funding formula.