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Senator Spilka to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Education

March 15, 2010

State Senator Karen Spilka and State Representative Tom Sannicandro will hold a Town Hall forum on April 5th to speak about education. Among the topics to be discussed at the forum are improvements to the Chapter 70 funding formula, as well as the landmark Education Reform legislation that was signed into law January 18th. The forum will be held in the auditorium of Ashland High School at 7:00 p.m.  All are welcome to attend.

Glenn Koocher, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, will join Representative Sannicandro and Senator Spilka.

“Education is critically important not only to our town’s future, but to the future of our Commonwealth. I believe it is important to keep an open dialogue about our schools and what we can do to improve education. This meeting should give us the opportunity to listen to some good ideas, and to let people know that school funding is one of the highest priorities going forward in budget season,” said Representative Tom Sannicandro about the upcoming forum.

“Both Representative Sannincandro and I served on the Ashland School Committee and bring our long-standing commitment to the students, parents and teachers of Ashland to the Legislature every day,” stated Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland).   “I began my public career fighting for education funding reform.  Since I have been in the Legislature, Chapter 70 funding to Ashland has more than doubled.  In the FY2007 budget, the House and Senate made changes to the formula to make it simpler, more equitable and more predictable, while my adequacy study amendment, included in the final version of this year’s education reform bill, will finally help us to determine what is ‘adequate’ when it comes to education funding levels for a quality education.”

“We recognize that there is still much more work to be done, however,” continued Spilka.  “Public education continues to be a top priority for me, and I am continuing to fight to see the funding formula reforms fully implemented.  As we face yet another challenging budget year, it is crucial that the state and towns work closely together.  I look forward to discussing with Ashland what we have accomplished and what the ongoing needs are so we can continue to help.”

“An Act to Narrow the Achievement Gap” was designed to institute education reforms which will make Massachusetts competitive in the running for $250 million in federal Race to The Top Funds.  Among other things, the law establishes a panel to study adequacy in the distribution of education funds in the Commonwealth, and gives failing schools the freedom and the tools to innovate much in the way Charter Schools can do now.

“This law empowers school districts in towns like Ashland and Framingham to cut through the red tape and truly achieve excellence in education, and puts Massachusetts in the running for a federal award that will provide much-needed relief for our schools’ budgets. Our children are entitled to a good education, and this law will benefit children in schools across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Sannicandro.

Chapter 70 Funding is the largest source of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools.

“Safeguarding Chapter 70 funds is the single greatest budget priority going in to the 2011 Fiscal Year.  It is true that sacrifices need to be made in the budget in difficult times for the economy, but among those sacrifices should never be our children and our schools. The future prosperity of the Commonwealth depends on the quality of our investment in these kids, and I can see no upside to cutting education funds now,” said Representative Sannicandro.

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