BOSTON – Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate unanimously voted to pass a key education reform bill to update the state’s 25-year-old funding formula.
The bill, originally co-sponsored by Senator Moore, 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.
“Changes to the existing formula are long overdue,” said Senator Moore. “As a former local official, and having listened to the concerns of many school committee members across the Second Worcester District, I acknowledge that additional investments in education on an equitable basis are necessary to advance public education in our state, and to provide the necessary financial relief to local communities.”
The vote follows months of advocacy by education stakeholders across Massachusetts. More than 50 school committees across the state 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.
Established by the 1993 Education Reform Act, the Foundation Budget was designed to ensure every Massachusetts student was provided a quality education. However, the formula has failed to keep up with rising fixed costs like health care and special education that have outpaced initial estimates. It also underrated what it actually takes to educate English Language Learners and students living in poverty. The FBRC found these combined costs have led the Commonwealth to underestimate the cost of education by $1-2 billion every year.
The bill will now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration. To continue tracking the bill, S.2506, please visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.