MTA renews call for revenues to close the gap in funding

In a statement Feb. 1, the Massachusetts Teachers Association said that the schoolchildren and college students of Massachusetts should share in the good fortune of the state, which has posted higher than projected revenues in January. 

The 100,000-member teachers' association called on the Legislature and governor to restore education spending to pre-recession levels and create a new "foundation" budget that reflects the true costs of providing all children with a high-quality, well-rounded education.

Governor Mitt Romney announced today that state revenue collections in January rose to 14.1 percent above where they were a year ago and are $80 million above the monthly benchmark that was set on Jan. 17.

"It is good news that our economy and revenues are on the rebound," said MTA President Catherine A. Boudreau. "Massachusetts students, who suffered losses when times were tough, should benefit from this turnaround. The best way to ensure the long-term health and stability of our economy is to restore funding to our public schools and public higher education system."

Boudreau said that Romney's call for cutting the income tax is "premature" in light of the many commitments the state has yet to fulfill.

  • State spending on public schools (Chapter 70) is more than $400 million less than it was in fiscal year 2002, in inflation-adjusted dollars. 
  • State spending on public higher education is $342 million (27 percent) less than in FY01, in inflation-adjusted dollars. 
  • The state has yet to fully restore funds to numerous grant programs that were reduced or eliminated during the past five years, including grants for class size reduction for low-income districts, full-day kindergarten and MCAS remediation. 

"The governor says that quality education is the civil rights issue of our time, and we agree," said Boudreau. "Now he should prove his commitment to closing the achievement gap by closing the education opportunity gap."