LEXINGTON – A partner since the outset in the quest to fix inequities in the state’s education funding formula, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents applauds the work of the state legislature in presenting the Student Opportunity Act.
“Great things can happen when we all work together,” said Brad Jackson, superintendent of the Holliston Public Schools and current President of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. “When superintendents are involved in the process, sitting at the table with our elected leaders on important education issues such as this, we can accomplish great things. The legislatures listened to the voice of the superintendent. It is especially gratifying to see the bill addresses not just the issues facing urban, suburban, and gateway communities, but also includes the rural communities, who face their own unique issues.”
Dr. Mary Bourque, superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools and past president of the M.A.S.S., and Tom Scott, M.A.S.S.’s executive director, have been vocal advocates statewide imploring the legislature to eliminate critical funding shortages.
Scott, and dozens of superintendents, have attended countless meetings with lawmakers over the past 12 months, working closely to develop this legislation.
“We applaud the hard work of Chair Alice Peisch and Chair Jason Lewis,” Scott said. “Having been a partner in these conversations since the formation of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, we recognize that providing the resources to keep Massachusetts competitive and to re-establish equity across all zip codes is not an easy task. We applaud the willingness of our elected leaders to listen to those of us responsible for school spending across the Commonwealth. Returning the definition of low income to 185% of federal poverty level is something superintendents have been advocating since the definition was changed. The willingness of our elected officials to listen to superintendents regarding the impact of special education costs on local school districts is greatly appreciated. The inclusion of transportation costs will benefit all districts. This recognition will allow for greater inclusive practices to take hold because expanding opportunities for all children is at the heart of district leadership.”
Scott said superintendents across the state recognize the hard work, significant financial investment, and long term commitment made by the legislature. On behalf of the 350 member organization of educational leaders, Scott thanked elected officials, municipal leaders, and grassroots efforts such as Project Equity, in their efforts to work collaboratively to address this issue.
“We believe that including superintendents in solving problems from the start results in better, student-centered, solutions. This belief extends to any new accountability measures associated with the Opportunity Act. The superintendents’ association embraces the accountability measures of the bill,” Scott said. “Measures that take advantage of available technology, require school systems to identify how the money is used, identify the way spending impacts student learning, and reports back on the student progress have always been a critical part of district leadership.”