Friday, May 6, 2016

H4219: "An Act Strengthening Public Education in the Commonwealth" from Rep. Rogers

liveblogging once it begins...
Senator Chang-Diaz, Senator Jehlen, Rep. Peisch, Rep. Ferguson, Rep. Tucker, Rep. Day here today

Rep. Rogers : will submit his testimony in writing
thank chairs for holding hearing
FBRC exists only due to chairs holding hearing
"fulfillment of our continuing obligation to provide quality education" to all children in Massachusetts

as former Majority leader, "I know that leadership...travels often at a different pace than a rank and file member like myself"
easier to find "ways to do things, rather than the means with which to do them"
Jehlen thanks for "focusing our attention"
"reflect the need to move towards equity for everyone"
"find it extremely distressing that we have the disparities we have"
poor children with poor scores have the least spent on them
"hope we will be able to move forward next year and move towards equity again"
Chang-Diaz: question compare language to Senate bill
Rogers: conference committee where members of House and Senate agree on beneficial ideas

MASS: "I think you would know where we stand on this issue very strongly"
"where we stand is in favor of the findings of the Foundation Budget Review Commission"
"attempt to produce the activity" of report
"in support of legislation but the full report"

Steve Finnegan, MASC: support
particularly grateful for FBRC report
"arduous months of hearings, some of them around the state"
"wouldn't be at this hearing without your hard work on this matter"
"has been underfunded, I don't think there's any dispute about that"
appreciation focus of report's focus on ELL and low income students
streamline reporting, eliminate duplicative reporting requirements
grateful for bill codifying special education and health care costs
look forward to working with legislators as it works its way through the committee

Asst. Superintendent of Walpole, on behalf of chair of school committee
"equitable reliable funding of chapter 70" is what is important
"want to support as much as we can"
"have a great deal of work to do"
"we've worked very collaboratively with our unions to reduce the cost of health insurance"
passed a $3M override in 2012
"we are a minimum aid district"
public education in Massachusetts has been a source of pride
more knowledge available than ever before
"however this is all at risk unless we work together to implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission"

vice-chair of Walpole SC
came at time of override
"my daughter's two: is this what's going to go on?"
parents spent hours and hours of our time to get override passed
"the thing that's so concerning is you're asking people on the local level to tax themselves more"
people booing children on a float supporting the override
"there are people struggling to make ends meet in Walpole"
"we might not be so lucky next time"
solar panels: "to me, it's kind of mind-boggling that this is the kind of thing we're having to pay attention to"

Peisch: major challenge that we face: "no one wants to vote to raise taxes"
"reality is that the education budget has been protected more than others"
"have to do a better job of educating the public that taxes are not necessarily a bad thing"
in a tough spot "because we do so well, we'll have some critics who will say, 'what's the problem?'"
Jehlen: we can't within current revenue fulfill the obligations of the foundation budget
many looking forward to 2018 to vote to raise taxes on the wealthy for education and transportation

Barbara Madeloni, MTA president
strong support for H4219
beginning the work for educating the public, need to take every opportunity we have
MTA "has been a leader for many, many years"
provided resources for the McDuffy lawsuit
mobilized during 1993 implementations
provided resources for Hancock lawsuit
FBRC through legislation
FBRC report was released in "plenty of time" for FY17 budget
was no acknowledgment in Governor's budget
if it needs to be phased in over several years "we could right now be developing a plan" to do so
"It should be done now. We can't delay any further."

AFT: cities and towns changing their retiree rate for retirees to pay more
"really should be thought about"
"it's just one instance of what's been happening when we talk about health care costs"
"whole bill is very timely"
"how we're going to implement, or how we're going to pay for those, needs to be addressed"
"if we're going to have good government, good schools, we're going to have to pay for them"
"educate the whole child. Not eliminate music, art, and drama in school."
limits of which kids can participate in sports
submitting a letter from MASBO, as well

Supt of Walpole, Lincoln Lynch
appreciate attention to budget
significant mandates, absent the funding that supports those mandates
"if legislation is worthy, the funding should be provided"
local property taxes used for education as well as local government
special education expanded vastly in past decades
Children with devastating disabilities are living to school age and beyond and communities are expected to meet their needs
Commonwealth has powers the towns do not
"local property taxes are not a limitless source of funding"

Dorothy Presser, President of Suburban Coalition
131 boards in towns across the state have called for FBRC recommendations implementation thus far
burden has shifted a bit to property tax to fund education
"ability for equity among different municipalities"

move to executive session...apparently they let us stay?

they're now cruising through some other bills that have been in Joint Committee 
And that's it! Done! 

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