Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Liveblogging from MASC Day on the Hill

The agenda for the morning is here.
Jake Oliveria, president of MASC: resources available to allow you to advocate with reps
recognizing students who are here today
"some of the best lobbying we do here in the State House is usually done over lunch"

Francomano introduces Rep. Alice Peisch
Peisch announces the House passed the education amendments, raising chapter 70 above Governor Baker's proposed levels
"not only declining enrollment in many areas, but little to negative inflation, and that does have a depressing impact on the budget"
"if we are able to implement some of the recommendations, that will obviously bring some relief"
having been on school committee, wondered how state could know what was best for district
now on other side, seeing state's interest in serving all, including particularly underserved
"impact is as positive for all as it can be"
"try to really reach out to all of the stakeholders" when making decisions
"a lot of back and forth" with superintendents, school committees associations
"their many objective is to do the best we can to see that all students get the best quality of education"

Pothole account increased by $10M specifically for those hit by change to economically disadvantaged
used as compared with last year's numbers and last year's formula
this year's formula recognizes concentrations of poverty
"will probably see some further refinements to that, and keep a close eye on impact on other things"
(not just ch 70)
"very positive because more kids are now receiving free lunch and breakfast" but there are consequences
"real key recommendations of" FBRC are to change numbers that are used for health insurance impact
recognizing that more low income students a district has, the more need a district has for resources
"my hope that in the next session we will come up with a plan to implement over the next years, given that the impact is quite significant"
Quality K grants were funded; did not change language as Governor did
something still to follow, though; as districts are no longer changing to full day
"if we were to implement the changes to Chapter 70, that might be the right time" to change the grant program
concern over number of mandates: House did not take action on mandates, as DESE is in the process of reviewing: "somewhat duplicative"

Ballot questions: expansion of charter schools: 12 a year
Senate bill that took up charter schools as part of a larger bill: "I think it is unlikely--not beyond the realm of possibility--but unlikely that the House and the Senate will agree on a bill that" keeps the proponents of the ballot question with dropping it
Common Core question:
"If that ballot question were to pass, that is six years of work that would be irrelevant"
"I hear a lot of comment on the standards that is not accurate"
"I think that the confusion between standards and curriculum is contributing to the misunderstanding"
"I think it would be a huge mistake for a ballot question to determine what our children learn"
Q on pothole funding: is it intended to address just the different between state funding? or Title I and such?
Peisch: just the chapter 70; comparing last year's numbers and last year's formula to this year's numbers and this year's formula
"this is not intended to deal with any loss in Title I funding"

Q: is there something that the Legislature could do to separate the testing from the standards, as much of the animosity is actually the testing, not the standards?
Peisch: some districts have too much testing, eliminating state testing wouldn't solve it all
talk to those who vote

Recognizing Senator Anne Gobi, receiving MASC Legislator of the Year
Gobi: "I am thrilled...have a great committee with the education committee"
"school committee is really a thankless job...it all comes back to you"
28 towns, 11 regional school districts, 5 stand alone district, 4 different voke schools
"always something that happens...I cannot be an expert on all of these issues, so I really rely on you"

Oliveria: 40 members of the legislature were members of their school committees
"we are uniquely positioned to speak authority"
recognize Francomano for facing down Baker on his budget and on his obsession on charter schools
unprecedented presence online and in the media
state efforts to weaken local authority
"make the most of your day today"
"local school regulations have to" include local voices when created

Murphy introducing Senator Chang-Diaz
"it's good to see you, but this is making me feel old"
so much has happened
"give props, as my students would say, to your leadership" for the voice MASC has at the State House
shout out to Pat Francomano for his work on the Foundation Budget Review Commission
"really critical time to make your voices heard"
Rise Act: "to do with charter reform...but Senate took action...to a much broader education reform bill, trying to anchor back to the original promises of the 1993 education reform act"
"to put forth a bill not only for the 4% of students who are educated in charter schools, but the 96% of the students who are in the district system"
"there's a lot that I hope that you will see yourselves reflected in"
to Q, "I would agree" that there is something easy about charter reform
Wolf: the question isn't is if we can thread the needle; the question is if there's an eye to the needle"
"chastened by the experience,..but also emboldened by the working group"
"I believe this is what Bay Staters want to see from their government"
"is not going to be easy, but consider the alternative"
ballot Q will be a huge disservice to the children of Massachusetts
Q: can you speak to Common Core Q?
Chang-Diaz: a combination of in and out of state
"folks who are worried about losing control over curriculum frameworks"
"and there's nothing that prevents that from happening"
Q on Common Core v PARCC: "I think it speaks right to the heart of questions about the nature of leadership"
Q on special ed changes over time: FBRC change on how we project funding of special education (though would not deal with volatility)
full funding of special education circuit breaker
Q who makes the determination of full time residency that it's special education not health and human services
Chang-Diaz: popped up during FBRC hearings; would like to look at more
how to get districts tapped into funding streams that are intended to pay for health care costs
"have to drill down with you and probably your MASBO partners to see what's preventing you from going after" that funding

Sheehan introduces Auditor Bump
ensuring you have the resources to fulfill Horace Mann's vision of free public education
"your voice in this building helps teachers and students reach their full potential"
also Division of Local Mandates: your resource for what does and does not conduct a local mandate
do local impact studies
there's another local requirement for DLM: to produce reviews
"every year there are many new requirements that are enacted by the Legislature that add to your cost and the bottom line"
"if these are things that we value...you need to have the resources to implement" these programs
"try to mitigate the impact of local mandates"
speaking now of amendments suggested by her office; House has rejected, but Senate still could add to their budget

Murphy on MASC priorities
The full guide is here online.

Hugo introduces Senator Spilka
Spilka: importance of making your voices be heard
when I sat where you are "I didn't fully understand" how decisive such advocacy is
"I do appreciate the terrific work of MASC"
became involved in schools when her children were in school
education: "how important it is to the health and well being of individuals as well as to the health and well being of our state overall"
"this issue is a personal issue for me"
"I fought really hard on these issues, trying to make some changes" in chapter 70 formula
FBRC: "not only timely, beyond time"
foundation budget created to move districts away from overreliance on property tax
"almost immediately outdated"
"jarring if not surprising" conclusions
Rise Act that passed Senate last month: dealt with a myriad of concerns, not just charter reform
$1B increase in funding, and would go to 100% of kids, not only to 4% of kids
"it's pretty clear which way we should go"
"if we're going to make a promise, we should keep it"
have never funded fully charter reimbursement: "why say it, if we never do it"
"I'm in a position to assure that we will fund this over the next decade"
"stronger more resilient schools to build stronger more resilient children"
"even as we make our funding formula more equitable and adequate, we should make our Commonwealth more equitable and adequate"
early childhood and other services

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