Having long seen the urgent need for reform of the Commonwealth’s Chapter 70 school funding formula, Senator Jason Lewis applauds the preliminary report recently released by the Foundation Budget Review Commission. The Foundation Budget Review Commission was created by the Legislature to review the Chapter 70 school finance law, focusing on how the “foundation” spending standard is calculated and making recommendations on how that standard should be updated. The funding formula was established as part of Massachusetts’ Education Reform Act of 1993.
The Foundation Budget Review Commission consists of a diverse range of legislators, state administrators, educators, and business leaders charged with modernizing the more-than-twenty-year-old funding formula. The preliminary report centered on findings pertaining to health insurance and special education costs. The final report, expected by November 1 of this year, will more broadly tackle a number of other issues that are of great importance to our schools, including technology, English language learning, extended learning time, behavioral health, professional development, and preschool funding.
“The Commission’s report validates what many of us have been saying for years: that health insurance and special education costs far exceed what is assumed in the Chapter 70 formula,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “As a result, the state has not been providing adequate Chapter 70 funds to meet the needs of our students and schools.”
Updating the Chapter 70 school funding formula to reflect the actual costs being incurred by our school districts has been one of Senator Lewis’ top priorities since he began serving in the state legislature. He sponsored the legislation, ultimately included as part of the FY15 state budget, that created the Foundation Budget Review Commission last year.
The Chapter 70 Foundation Budget Review Commission preliminary report can be found online at: https://subcoal.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/foundation-budget-review-commission-preliminary-report-june-30-2015.pdf
“The findings and recommendations of this blue ribbon Commission are a significant step forward in updating and reforming the Chapter 70 formula,” added Senator Lewis. “The goal should be to ensure adequate and equitable funding for all our schools, and I’m hopeful that this report will move us closer to reaching this goal.”
Senator Lewis’ testimony before the Foundation Budget Review Commission, delivered last November at a public hearing in Danvers, can be found online at: http://senatorjasonlewis.com/2014/11/21/senator-jason-lewis-testifies-before-education-funding-commission/