In my quest for trying to find some sort of resolution to local funding problems that is less divisive to our community (and other communities) than a local override, I came across an organization called “Stand for Children,” www.stand.org/ma.
This is from the Massachusetts Stand for Children website:
“The financial crisis in education is no secret. On March 14, 2007, our own Education Commissioner Driscoll testified to the Ways and Means Committee that this year’s school funding crisis was the worst he had seen yet…”
“Today’s outdated foundation budget shortchanges state and federal mandates, curriculum frameworks, classroom technology, the cost of educator development, early education needs, and best practices established in the 13 years since Ed Reform. In addition, it grossly understates the costs of special education and other services to at-risk populations…”
“On Wednesday, April 25, nearly 2,000 education supporters, representing more than 85 communities across the Commonwealth, joined the Stand for Children School Funding Rally on Boston Common. And early in the day, Stand for Children brought more than 400 citizens in to the State House to meet personally with 48 lawmakers and legislative staff to deliver a simple message: our schools need funding relief and reform.
Parents, teachers, and students from across the state demanded that Massachusetts lawmakers provide immediate financial relief to school districts facing teacher layoffs and school closures. They also urged legislators to find a long-term solution to our state’s school funding crisis by committing to reforming state education funding.”
Governor Deval Patrick addressed the crowd. And in an article in the Boston Globe, May 2, 2007, “Patrick Targets School Funding,” by Lisa Wangsness:
“Patrick issued some of his most pointed comments to date, saying the state can no longer afford to rely on the local property tax to fund public education…
The pressure on the local property tax in recent years has chafed cities and towns, as the cost of healthcare has ballooned and state aid — despite recent increases — has not kept up with inflation…
Currently, the state covers less than 40 percent of the cost of local education, with cities and towns picking up the rest through the property tax. While it is a stable source of revenue, it places a sometimes difficult burden on the elderly or people with fixed incomes, and some argue it increases the disparity between communities based on personal income and property value.”
Governor Deval Patrick hopes to release a comprehensive education reform plan in June.
Well, whew, someone on the state level is listening to the anguish of cities and towns across the state of Massachusetts.
There is a “Chapter” of Stand for Children in Lowell. And there is a “Team” for Stand for Children in Gloucester.
It would be nice if there were a “Chapter” or “Team” for Stand for Children in Newburyport, MA. And that at any further rallies for state funding for our schools, Newburyport, MA might be in the forefront of those meeting with lawmakers and legislative staff fighting for educational funding and reform.