We all care greatly about our students, the education they receive and the job market and economy that awaits them in the coming years. In recent years, it has become evident to educators that the current state funding model is in desperate need of an overhaul. The funding formula is causing districts to underspend on important functions such as instruction, building maintenance and supplies in order to afford the inadequately funded areas such as transportation, health benefits and special education. Government mandates require us to offer certain services yet don’t provide sufficient financial support to cover the costs resulting in growing class sizes, deferred maintenance and other impacts that are detrimental to providing a quality education. The quality of the education we provide to our students has a significant impact on our economy in the coming years. It is time that we share these concerns with the public including parents, teachers, students, community members and legislators.
Did you know that we are reimbursed for mandated special education services based on an estimated percent of total enrollment? This benefits districts with low special education enrollment but devastates a community such as Lowell whose actual enrollment far exceeds the estimated percentage.
Did you know that we are underfunded by over $15 million dollars with Benefits and Fixed Charges alone resulting in cuts to student based functions? Health insurance is a necessity to attract and retain teachers to an urban district that faces poverty related issues with less than sufficient resources to address such. Yet, the funding formula does not adequately estimate/fund these expenses.
Did you know that we only receive half of what we spend in out of district tuition for our students which results in even further cuts to balance the budget?
These are just a few examples of what urban districts face. It is our hope that this forum on April 22, 2019 will bring attention to this critical issue and instigate the changes needed to insure all students, regardless of zip code or income level, have equal access to educational opportunities.
We hope that you will support our goal of educating as many people as possible by attending this forum. Other communities that share our concerns will be present including the Superintendent and CFO from Brockton. Please help us spread the word.
Billie Jo Turner
Assistant Superintendent of Finance