Testify at upcoming budget hearings

Budget season, which officially began on March 4 when Governor Charlie Baker released his state budget proposal for fiscal 2016, provides a forum for educators to tell elected state leaders their stories from the front lines. Testifying at a public hearing or submitting written testimony provides a chance for educators to make sure legislators know of the serious challenges that educators face every day, and that educators cannot do their jobs without adequate state funding for schools, colleges and communities.

Dates and times of upcoming hearings are listed below. Please take advantage of these opportunities to be heard.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means — FY2016 Budget Hearings

Education and Local Aid
Tuesday, March 24
Begins at 11 a.m.
Greenfield Community College Auditorium
Greenfield

Public Hearing (testimony will be taken on all budget issues)
Monday, April 13
Begins at 10 a.m.
Gardner Auditorium
State House, Boston

Education and Local Aid - March 24 —Greenfield Community College

The hearing will be chaired by Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) and Senator Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. The committee will hear testimony from the secretary of education, the Department of Early Education and Care, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Board of Higher Education, and the public. The hearing will begin at 11 a.m. with testimony from invited organizations, including the MTA, and then from members of the public. Agency testimony will begin at 1 p.m.

Hearing on All Budget Issues —April 13 —State House

This hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Only public testimony will be heard.

Logistics

To testify at the March 24 hearing, please plan on arriving no later than 11 a.m. Bring at least two copies of your written testimony. Verbal testimony should be limited to three minutes.

To let the MTA know you are coming or if you have any questions, please e-mail Julie Johnson at jjohnson@massteacher.org or call her at 617.878.8315 by 5 p.m. on March 23.

If you want to submit written testimony, e-mail it to Julie Johnson by April 10 and she will deliver it to the committee. Testimony can also be submitted directly to the committee no later than April 13. E-mail House Chair Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov or mail it to Chairman Brian Dempsey, House Ways and Means Committee, State House, Room 243, Boston, MA 02133.

Testimony

Your testimony should be as specific and personalized as possible and should explain how state budget cuts have affected you, your fellow educators, your students and your department or your school, college or university. How have you been affected by increased class sizes, a lack of materials and programs, the loss of support personnel, libraries and the arts? Explain why increased funding for education is necessary in order to provide the schools our children deserve.

Details of the governor’s proposed budget are available at massteacher.org/educationfunding.

See MTA President Barbara Madeloni’s statement on Governor Baker’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal here.

For additional information, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center has a detailed analysis of the governor’s budget proposal on its website.

If you send written testimony, please consider sending a copy to your state representative and senator. And consider writing directly to your state representative and senator via the MTA’s legislative messaging system. Click here to find out who your elected leaders are and to e-mail them.