BOSTON – State Senator Brian A. Joyce and several of his Senate colleagues have sent a letter urging the state budget conference committee to keep the increases in Chapter 70 education funding for several district communities.
“The Senate budget recognized the fact that Chapter 70 has created inequalities in school funding,” said Joyce. “We cannot allow some of our students to thrive while others get left behind depending on where they live. The Senate budget levels the playing field for all of our kids to ensure equal access to educational resources and support.”
The Chapter 70 program is the major program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools. In addition to providing state aid to support school operations, it also establishes minimum spending requirements for each school district and minimum requirements for each municipality's share of school costs. This year, both the House and Senate budgets included a minimum per pupil increase of $40. The Senate plan, however, also included a measure co-sponsored by Joyce that targeted additional funds to deserving districts.
The increase in funding for certain districts is intended to address long-term inequities in Chapter 70 funding. The budget is the first significant move since Fiscal Year 2008 toward phasing in target aid levels and addressing these inequities. Currently, these recommendations are being considered by a conference committee of three representatives and three senators charged with constructing the final version of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The letter is intended to convey a broad coalition of support for the increase in funding to the members of the conference committee.