Welcome to the home to United Teachers of Lowell's Straight Talk podcast. Each Wednesday we'll post a new interview with useful news and information for our members. We hope you'll come back each week to learn what's new! 

Episode 4: FBRC Primer-Jeremy Shenk

Episode 4: FBRC Primer-Jeremy Shenk

In this week's episode, we are speaking with AFT-MA Political Organizer, Jeremy Shenk about the impact of the Massachusetts legislature’s failure (to date) to update the Massachusetts Foundation Budget.  As you will hear, the failure to update the Chapter 70 formulas used to support education in our schools here in Lowell has had a detrimental effect on our students’ education experiences.

Unlike more wealthy communities, Lowell’s municipal budget does not allow for significant additional funding above and beyond the Foundation budget allocated to our schools. This past budget season, has been a most difficult one resulting in the loss of personnel supporting our students as well as the loss of library aides to staff K-8 school libraries.

What would a revised and updated Foundation Budget bring to cities like Lowell?  That question was recently explored by Lowell Education Justice Alliance (LEJA) at a recent school funding forum.  The disparity between what we – teachers, parents, and community members – want for our children and the affordability of programming is unfortunately dictated by the Foundation Budget calculations.

What can you do to help bring this issue to light? Well Jeremy has some ideas, as do we. Listen in, and explore some of the links below.

For More Information:

For more information on Lowell Education Justice Alliance’s (LEJA) grassroots efforts, either contact LEJA by email, or visit LEJA’s Facebook page. The next LEJA meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 31 at 6 pm in the UTL’s 4th Floor offices, 169 Merrimack Street.

To look up and contact a Massachusetts legislator: Enter requested information into Find My Legislator. Contact your representatives and ask them to support all four parts to the Foundation Budget Review.

Tracy Novick reports on all things education, including the Foundation Budget. Navigate to her blog at Whos-of-Whocester to keep up with state education news. Tracy also covered the LEJA Foundation Forum and posted her report here.

And, not to toot her own horn too much, Amy posted some of Colin Jones’ (Mass Budget) charts about how the Foundation Budget affects Lowell Public Schools in this post on her blog, An Educator’s Journey.


Thanks again for listening. By using the Contact form you can give us feedback and let us know your thoughts. We’re always open to new ideas, so if there is a topic you’d like to hear more about, please let us know in the comment section below.

Episode 5: Lowell Teacher Academy Part 2-Pina Maggio

Episode 5: Lowell Teacher Academy Part 2-Pina Maggio

Episode 3: Lowell Teacher Academy Part 1-Pina Maggio

Episode 3: Lowell Teacher Academy Part 1-Pina Maggio