Public Funds for Public Schools

Tell lawmakers to keep the cap on charter schools

On Monday, March 7, the legislature will hold a hearing on the ballot initiative that would drastically increase the number of Commonwealth charter schools in Massachusetts.

MTA members are urged to tell lawmakers why they should keep the cap on Commonwealth charter schools when the Legislature's Joint Committee on Education hears testimony next week. The hearing, which was rescheduled from February, will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 7th, in Gardner Auditorium at the State House.

The MTA opposes any lift of the cap on charter schools. That includes the provisions of a proposed ballot question - which are contained in the bill, House 3928 - as well as any modified version of the plan.

Proponents of H. 3928 have gathered enough signatures to begin the process of putting it on the ballot in November. The Education Committee is required to hold a hearing and then either recommend it for approval or not act. If the bill does not pass the Legislature before May 4, proponents may gather additional signatures, which would allow the question to go on the November 2016 ballot.

If the Legislature passes other charter school legislation - such as Governor Charlie Baker's bill to raise the cap - proponents of H. 3928 could drop their ballot initiative. Any lifting of the cap, either through legislation or the ballot initiative, will destabilize public education in Massachusetts.

That is why it is important for educators to not only oppose H. 3928, but to fight all attempts at raising the cap.

MTA members are urged to tell the committee about the program cuts, increased class sizes and other impacts that charter schools are having on district public schools.

In the current fiscal year, Commonwealth charter schools are draining more than $408 million from district public schools.

If you are interested in testifying in person at the hearing or have questions, please contact Julie Johnson, MTA Government Relations specialist, by e-mailing jjohnson@massteacher.org or calling 617.878.8315.

If you are unable to attend, you may e-mail your testimony to the Education Committee staff at jennie.williamson@mahouse.gov. Address your testimony to the Joint Committee on Education and identify yourself by your name and your role (e.g., educator, parent, concerned citizen). Please send a copy of your testimony to your legislators and e-mail it to jjohnson@massteacher.org. Written testimony should be submitted by March 11th.

Additional information on how charter schools undermine public education is available here and here.