- the reason that education funding is going up in Worcester is because the city is legally required to do so (this managed to not make it into the City Manager's budget presentation last week, either).
Worcester was among the communities that brought suit against the Secretary of the Executive Office of Education (in McDuffy) and against the Commissioner of Education (in Hancock), charging that the state was failing to meet its constitutional obligations to provide education for the Commonwealth's children (per the passage cited at the bottom of the page). In the first case, the court found for the plaintiffs; in the second, the court recommended an adequacy study. In both case, the charge was that the state was not adequately funding education. (Good summary here)
However, an upshot of the McDuffy case was the 1993 Ed Reform law (signed just three days after the case was settled), which provided for foundation funding. This not only obligates the state around education funding; it also obligates local communities around levels of education funding.
Worcester is legally required to increase funding this year for education.