Saturday, April 8, 2017

What's an adequate education? And who decides?

Here's something I've been thinking about as I've been running Gateway city comparisons on funding:

I've been posting this chart, or its equivalent for--quite literally--years. Close to a decade at this point. Generally, my point is something like "Jeez, Worcester, get your act together!" as we slip farther and farther behind the level of funding that most communities are putting towards their schools.

I'm not letting Worcester off the hook--I still think we could do better--but I want to point out something different this time.

The vast majority of districts in the state are funding their districts over foundation. In fact, the majority are funding their districts at well over the minimum the state requires. The foundation budget is supposed to be adequate, yet district after district after district has said that it isn't.

They're doing that with local tax dollars, and in most cases, they're doing that themselves; most of the districts funding over foundation (since that leaves out the Gateways, in particular) are doing so by town meeting votes.

Citizens are voting tax increases to fund their schools at more than the state requires.

Doesn't that effectively argue that Massachusetts citizens are asserting with their local tax dollars that the foundation budget isn't adequate?

Maybe they're right.

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