Episode 8: So What Did Happen With The Foundation Budget Update?
The Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendations for updating the foundation budget calculations came to a disappointing conclusion on July 31st, the end of the 2017-18 Massachusetts Legislative session. We were hopeful that there would be some movement to update the Foundation calculations after the Massachusetts Senate address four key areas - Special Education, Health Care costs, Low Income and English Language Learners (ELL) calculations.
What happened as the Legislative session drew to a close was disappointing for all of us who feel that the state has not kept it's promise to update the Foundation Budget calculations to account for inflation and increased costs since the 1993 Education Reform Act.
The question now is "Where do we go from here." Mickie and Amy talk about that on today's podcast. We know we cannot give up on advocating for fair, equitable funding formulas that will support out Public Schools and most especially our students in Lowell, Massachusetts.
We encourage everyone to visit a brief, 2-minute survey after listening to our podcast. Through this survey, we are asking what short funded services you are aware of in our Lowell Public Schools, but we also ask about what services you, the community of educators, staff, parents/caregivers and community members would like to see if the foundation budget recommendations were fully implemented. This dialogue is an important piece of our Community narrative as we continue to press our Legislators to support adopting the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission and for keeping funding promises made to Massachusetts public schools in the 1993 Education Reform Act.
For More Information:
Find your state legislator at this website: Find My Legislator. Let your legislators know your thoughts and ask for their positions on this important issue. Contact your Massachusetts Senator and House Rep, using FindMyLegislator.
A full version of the Foundation Budget Review Commissions 2015 Report can be found here. Mass Budget & Policy Center has published a report which details the impact of under-calculated and under-funded education aid across the Commonwealth. Click here for that report. And lastly, WBUR's Max Larkin reported extensively on the legislative efforts to update the Foundation Budget during the last legislative session. His report can be found on Edify-WBUR.
Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance (MEJA) resources are found on the web here. The Lowell Community has a local group working on education issues, including funding issues. That group, Lowell Education Justice Alliance or LEJA maintains a presence on Facebook or can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The LEJA group meets monthly and welcomes new members. We'd like to clarify that the next LEJA meeting will be on MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 2018 starting at 6 pm in the UTL offices at 169 Merrimack Street - hope to see you there.
Prior to the House taking up the FBRC bill, we spoke with AFT-MA's Political Organizer, Jeremy Shenk. Listen to our Straight Talk Podcast Episode 4 for Jeremy's interview explaining the basics of the Foundation Budget. That episode can be located on our website.
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