School funding forum set in Easthampton

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Staff Writer 
Published: 1/8/2019 5:48:26 PM

EASTHAMPTON – The Massachusetts Teacher Association, along with local teacher associations, will hold a forum on public school funding Wednesday.

“I think the public is not aware what goes into successfully running schools,” said Sarah Shapiro, a Hatfield elementary teacher and MTA senate district coordinator. “We want the public to be aware of what’s lacking in terms of resources.”

Speakers at Wednesday’s forum include state Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.

The way Massachusetts determines funding for public schools has long been debated.

In 1993, an education reform act created a formula known as the “foundation budget,” which doles funds to schools.

Twenty-five years later, critics of the formula – including the MTA – say it’s outdated.

Costs for health insurance and special education, for example, have risen higher than the formula anticipated, according to a 2015 report from the Foundation Budget Review Commission, a state commission created to research school funding.

The MTA said that with updates to the funding formula, local schools would be given a lot more money. According to the MTA website, if recommendations of the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission were implemented over a five year period, in 2023 Northampton schools would receive $827,675 more in funding and Easthampton $717,346.

“Massachusetts is known for having very good public schools and colleges, but too many students are being left behind by inadequate state support,” the MTA’s said in a press release.

Event co-sponsors, according to Shapiro, include Hatfield Teachers Association, Northampton Teachers Association, Hampshire Regional Teachers Association, Easthampton Teachers Association and Holyoke Community College Professional Association.

The forum will be held on Wednesday Jan. 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Eastworks room 116, the community room.

With reporting from the Associated Press.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com

Correction: A previous version of this article flipped the dollar amounts for the additional funding Northampton and Easthampton schools would get if changes were made to the funding formula. According to the MTA, if recommendations of the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission were implemented over a five year period, in 2023 Northampton schools would receive $827,675 more in funding and Easthampton $717,346.




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