Boston – On Thursday, students, parents, and teachers filled the State House as the Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to pass a key education reform bill to update the state’s 25-year-old funding formula.
An Act Modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st Century would implement the recommendations of the bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) which found that the foundation budget formula is drastically underestimating education costs. This has forced deep cuts to classrooms and critical programs, and one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation.
Established in 1993, the Foundation Budget underestimated the costs associated with health care and special education as well as the funds needed to educate English Language Learners and students living in poverty. The FBRC found these combined costs have led the Commonwealth to miscalculate the cost of education by $1-2 billion every year.
“For many years, school districts and students have been subject to a foundation budget formula that has failed to reflect the actual costs of a quality education,” said Senator Barrett (D-Lexington). This initiative will help to ensure that all schools in Massachusetts receive full and adequate funding.”
The vote follows months of advocacy by education stakeholders across the state. More than 50 school committees have passed resolutions supporting the reforms, and Brockton Public Schools announced earlier this year that they are preparing to sue the Commonwealth for failing in its constitutional obligation to properly fulfill its obligations to funding.
The legislation has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.