Massachusetts officially committed Tuesday to investing an additional $1.5 billion in public K-12 education over the next seven years as Gov. Charlie Baker signed long-sought legislation into law.
Four years after a state commission determined the existing foundation budget formula underestimates the cost of education by $1 billion annually and more than a year after a previous bill to correct inequalities collapsed, the focus now shifts to implementing the funding law and holding districts accountable for improvement plans.
The new money is intended to reduce disparities between districts across the state and to put communities with larger cost drivers — special education, employee health care, and high numbers of low-income students and English language learners — on a more even footing with their peers.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 63 years, it’s that talent is evenly distributed. What’s not evenly distributed is opportunity, and there’s a reason why this is the Student Opportunity Act,” Baker said at the bill-signing ceremony in Jamaica Plain. “This legislation is about making sure every kid in the commonwealth of Mass., regardless of where they live or where they’re from or where they go to school, has the opportunity to get the education they need to be great.”
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Education Committee Chairs Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Alice Peisch, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and several other legislators and advocates joined Baker at English High School for the ceremony. – Chris Lisinski/SHNS | 11/26/19 12:51 PM
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