The Senate proposal is 'a good first step' for public schools, but funding for higher ed is 'wholly inadequate'
The following statement was issued today by MTA President Merrie Najimy:
The Senate Ways and Means budget proposal is a significant step in the right direction for our public schools, providing more Chapter 70 funds than the House or the governor’s proposal and directing much of the new money to educating low-income students. The Senate bill provides $269 million in new Chapter 70 funding, up 4.1 percent from the current fiscal year. That is $50 million more than the House budget and $68 million more than the governor’s budget. However, the Senate proposal provides significantly less than the amount called for in the Promise Act.
Although the Senate proposal is a good first step, the only way to make sure this is not just a one-time increase is for the Legislature to pass a bill that begins implementing all of the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations, addresses other shortcomings of the school funding formula, and guarantees continued increases in the future.
The only way to make sure this is not just a one-time increase is for the Legislature to pass a bill that begins implementing all of the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations.
Where public higher education is concerned, the Senate budget plan for campus funding is wholly inadequate. It closely resembles the House budget, providing a 7.5 percent increase for UMass — most to cover collective bargaining costs for staff and faculty — 5.6 percent for state universities and 4.1 percent for community colleges.
May 16 Rally
Significant new funding for all of our public higher education institutions is needed to bring state per-student spending back to the levels reached in 2001 and to make sure that students can afford to attend college without being crushed by debt. The Cherish Act would do that, providing about $120 million more state funding for public higher education in fiscal year 2020, about twice as much as offered in the Senate and House bills. In addition, the Cherish Act would require a comparable level of new funding each year for the next five years. We continue to urge passage of the Cherish Act.
The Senate’s plan also freezes tuition and fees at the University of Massachusetts for fiscal 2020 without providing the resources needed to ensure that crucial services are maintained. We share the concerns of UMass administrators that this provision will lead to significant budget cuts on the UMass campuses.
On all of the campuses, inadequate state support for public higher education will lead to further exploitation of part-time faculty and even more cuts in staffing and programs, on top of previous cuts that have had a devastating impact.