Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discussion on MassBudget presentation

Rep. Lewes: These aren't just bars on charts; these are our kids.
Some changes made in the budget in 2006, but there has not been a comprehensive reconsideration of the foundation budget.
HB 153:to reconsider the foundation budget
Coalition for Student Success: educate folks about issues around education funding and advocate for a reconsideration of the foundation budget

  • concern from a higher wealth district (that gets 6% from the state): people are moving out due to property tax. Believes chart needed on MSBA funding (as that affects tax bills). Complaint that this hurts those with the income tax. Also some lambasting here of school committee not overseeing spending closely enough. Answer that this is diagnosing what the problem is.
  • Suggestion that reconsideration of foundation budget should happen every ten years (original law assumed reconsideration every five years)
  • School committee member (from North Reading) gets up and gives a rundown of every way in which they've worked on saving money (problem with teachers' union); drastically change contribution of health insurance. Expectation from reps that there will be something taken up this year
  • School committee member from Medford (I think?). Housing growth causing growth in special ed.
  • Winchester school committee member: health insurance projections. Variables in health insurance amongst communities. MassBudget replies that they could look at national data where copays and contributions are; compare to where it should be. What's a reasonable and just level?
  • Are not spending enough to meet our Constitutional obligation AND we're not doing what we were required to do under the lawsuit settled in 2001. Challenge from Senator Pat Jehlen that THIS should be the top education priority (not increasing MCAS testing, she notes). The adequacy study is not being reported out of the education committee tomorrow. Shouldn't it be?
You can use the MassBudget interactive tool to look community by community.

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