Bring your story to Foundation Budget hearing

The next Foundation Budget Review Commission public hearing is scheduled for December 15 at the Somerset Berkley Regional High School Performing Arts Center, 625 County Street, Somerset.

“Our members in the South Coast region really need to take advantage of this opportunity to share their stories with the commission,” said MTA President Barbara Madeloni. “Teachers and school staff need to let the commission know what resources they need — and now lack — to make sure that children and families are  getting the schools they deserve.’’

The public hearing is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and speakers are allotted three minutes each to deliver testimony.

Madeloni is a member of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, which was established by the Legislature during deliberations for the FY 2015 state budget. State Representative Alice Peisch and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz are the chairs of the 21-member review commission. They are also chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education.

The foundation budget is the amount of money that is required to ensure that there are adequate resources available for each student to meet the state standards, including funding programs that will help to ensure that all students, no matter what their race, ethnicity or class may be, will succeed. The foundation budget was established in 1993, and this review of how well it is addressing the needs of our schools is long overdue. Besides the voices of educators who know what students need, research over the past 20 years can help determine what is needed to help all students be successful in school.

The MTA made re-establishing a review commission a legislative priority. 

Educators have taken on countless new initiatives since the last time the foundation budget was reviewed, so the MTA is urging members to share their firsthand knowledge with the commission as it assesses the following areas: the state’s educational goals; the elements used in calculating the foundation budget; and the effective use of resources.

Topics that educators should consider addressing with the review commission include class size; special education and ELL programs; access to preschool and full-day kindergarten; additional needs of low-income students; educational programs for students who need support beyond the regular school day; salaries necessary to attract and retain high-quality teachers and staff; professional development; extracurricular programs; remedial programs for students at risk of not meeting graduation requirements; curriculum materials; and technology.

The FBRC is also scheduled to hold hearings at 11 a.m., January 10, in Western Mass.; 11 a.m. on January 24 in Central Mass.; 11 a.m. February 14 on Cape Cod; and 4:30 p.m. on March 9 in Boston.

The commission will have its monthly meetings, which are open to the public, at the State House on February 10, March 24, April 14, May 5 and June 9. Each meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The commission is also accepting written testimony, which can be sent to Jennie.Williamson@mahouse.gov.

For additional information about the foundation budget, click here.