Education leaders optimistic about funding formula reform


Educational leaders in Massachusetts are hopeful – but still demanding change – with Mass. education funding reform.

At the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ “Mid-Winter Meeting” held this week, educational leaders discussed “great progress made” through the foundation budget reform commission.

Eric Conti, president of M.A.S.S. and superintendent of Burlington Public Schools, said elected government officials appear to be committed to adjusting and fixing the funding formula to benefit public school students at large.

“That’s significant – and now, we have to help shape those decisions,” Conti said.

“We can shape the end result of this legislation,” he said, urging fellow superintendents to continue being part of the conversation and collaborate with elected officials.

Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jeffrey Riley, told those in attendance their “voice does matter.”

Representing Chelsea Public Schools, Supt. Mary Bourque said after much persistence from the foundation committee to address the funding formula, “I am hopeful again.”

Bourque said it is vital for state leaders to address the “erosion of funds intended to flow into the classroom, and the next generation of leaders – our students.”

With increases of needed social, emotional and mental health support for students, English Language Learners (ELL), poverty and homelessness, now more than ever, “students need more 21st-century opportunities,” she said.

“Our frustrations – the frustrations of parents, students, educators (and) leaders, have been heard,” Bourque said.

To do the “right work” on behalf of students and families in the Commonwealth, she said, “We know the time is now.”

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