Dear Valley Patriot Readers,
As you read this, there is one conversation that is taking place in every city and town across the Commonwealth; it is a conversation that is of great importance and will impact every resident as community leaders contemplate budgets and residential tax rates.
This hot topic is education funding.
The current funding provisions (“Chapter 70”) are outdated and frankly not providing the resources schools need to deliver a proper education to every student. The legislature is now tasked with resolving the education funding issue, and I am working with my fellow legislators to craft a solution that is both efficient and effective.
We have a great responsibility to provide an education that equips our students to be college and career ready upon graduation. In recognition of this duty, there is consensus in both the House and Senate that fixing Chapter 70 — the education funding law that has not been adjusted since 1993 — is among the most critical legislative priorities during this session.
There are currently several proposals from legislators in both the Senate and the House to reshape the way the state distributes additional funding for schools. While my first priority is equitable funding, it is also imperative that funding is provided in a manner that is efficient, effective, and responsible to the taxpayer.
Therefore, in crafting the funding “fix”, we must simultaneously consider both where funds are allocated and how we will ensure that every dollar invested has a significant and positive impact on student performance. Accountability standards are essential to making sure that each dollar invested has maximum impact. We must see evidence of documented growth, establishing that students are acquiring the knowledge and skills for success beyond high school.
If we in the legislature truly believe our students are the most valuable resources of our Commonwealth, then we must make sure the conversations around education funding are not just about dollars and cents. We must discuss improving outcomes for ALL students, taking into account their various strengths, needs, and challenges.
We have a responsibility to embrace each student, to make certain that each child has the opportunity to reach their personal best. We must consider how to effectively reach every student in our classrooms, including our most vulnerable students in our lowest-performing districts.
It is clear that improving education outcomes isn’t just a matter of paying teachers more or improving the availability of technology in classrooms. But there are certain areas where increased funding is essential, and those areas include addressing the skyrocketing costs of special education services, mental health needs, and transportation. We must address these factors if we are serious about our commitment to providing all students access to a high quality public education. Providing funding in these areas will help our schools keep class sizes down and prevent further cuts that impact quality education, thereby improving the learning experience for all.
It is time for the Commonwealth to step up to the plate and lessen some of the financial burdens which for far too long have required so many school districts to do more with less. The funding inequities have also hurt cities and towns as they have had to cut city-side services to direct more resources to education. This funding issue therefore impacts every resident, and it deserves our prompt attention.
Would you like to add your two cents to this important conversation? Please send me an e-mail at Diana.DiZoglio@masenate.gov or call my office at (617) 722-1604 anytime.
Yours in service,