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 30: An Urgent Need to Fund Our Future

Episode 30: An Urgent Need to Fund Our Future

One of the biggest disappointments of the Massachusetts Legislative session which ended last July was the failure to reach agreement between the Massachusetts Senate and House on revisions to the Foundation Budget. With a flourish of last minute information - some of which mysteriously came from our own Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - the clock on the bill and the Legislative Session ran out and no House-Senate Compromise could be reach.

As disappointing as the failure to revise the foundation funding was, public school advocates have not given up. The start of a new Legislative session in January 2019 included both Senate (SD101) and House (HD434) bills. With broad support from stakeholders across the Commonwealth, the Fund Our Future Campaign launched in December 2018 and support for these two pieces of legislation continues to grow.

In this episode, Beth Kontos (AFT-MA President) and Jeremy Shenk (AFT-MA Engagement and Campaign Coordinator) talk with us about this new effort and the urgency public education supporters feel to get this legislation enacted. We are at a critical crossroads in public education funding, and we need to work together to ensure that both the Promise Act and the Cherish Act are successfully passed and implemented for Fiscal 2020. Our schools, our students, our families, and our communities cannot wait.

As you listen to Beth and Jeremy’s impassioned conversation with us, ask yourself: How can I help get this legislation passed? We need to work together to be successful. How will you help?

For More Information

Click on HD434 to read the text of the House Bill or on SD101 to read the text of the Senate Bill. Is your State Representative or State Senator supportive of this legislation? You can view co-sponsors within each text. If your Senator or Representative is not yet on-board, contact them and ask them why not. Legislator contact information can be found through the Massachusetts Legislator look up site.

AFT-MA’s website has up-to-date statewide information for the Fund Our Future Campaign. Visit often to learn about state-wide efforts to keep the momentum going.

Lowell Education Justice Alliance along with stakeholders and partners in the Merrimack Valley area will host a Fund Our Future Legislative Forum on March 11, 2019 beginning at 6 pm. The Forum will take place at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway Street in Lowell. Click on the Facebook invitation to keep up-to-date with news about the forum. Tell your story - how is underfunding impacting your students, your families and your school.

How has underfunding impacted Lowell’s schools and school families? Massachusetts Budget Office has estimated a shortfall of $42 Million each year.

UTL495 Members! We encourage you to participate in our Personal Funds Used In Classroom Survey on Survey Monkey. The link to the survey is for UTL495 members only and is published on our Facebook Group Page and in our Five For Friday email blast. Any UTL members willing to speak about the impact of underfunding in an audio or video format, let us know by email ( or phone.

The Podcast Twins thank both Beth Kontos and Jeremy Shenk for joining us by remote in the middle of our latest installment of a “wintry mix”.

We also thank you, our listeners and especially to UTL members for tuning in to this Episode. We welcome your general comments and feedback. If you have suggestions for future podcasts or if you are aware of a UTL member who might be willing to share expertise and experiences, please email us at

And of course, if you enjoy our podcasts, be sure to spread the word - or share with a friend (or two).

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Episode 31: Fund Our Future Campaign,  Part 2

Episode 31: Fund Our Future Campaign, Part 2

Episode 29: Meet UTL495's Nancy Giblin

Episode 29: Meet UTL495's Nancy Giblin