Our First Fund Our Future Victory

Our First Fund Our Future Victory

Merrie Najimy

Merrie Najimy, President

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There’s both good and bad news this week for Massachusetts public school students.

The good news: Because of effective advocacy and organizing by our members, joined by parents and coalition partners, the new state budget approved on Monday puts a foundation in place for more equitably funded public schools, particularly in low-income communities. It is our first Fund Our Future victory!

Under the fiscal year 2020 budget, Massachusetts schools will receive $269 million in new Chapter 70 money — the biggest boost in years — based on the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. This is huge! Read MTA’s statement and more details about both the preK-12 and higher education budgets.

The bad news: This is just a one-year budget — NOT a bill. The Legislature must make a long-term commitment to filling the more than $1 billion hole in state funding for schools. We need a bill that meets the core principles in the Promise Act. And we need legislators to move the Cherish Act out of committee and toward passage so we can reverse decades of cuts to public higher education.

The Legislature plans to go on recess next week, so State House watchers are not expecting action on funding legislation until September. We are going to remind them of the need to act at State House events on Thursday and then again on July 31 (more details to come). Meanwhile, though, let’s take a moment to celebrate and use time this summer to recuperate, regroup and plan for fall actions to win a bill that commits the Legislature to phasing in at least $1 billion in new money for our public schools.

Support Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and the Pioneer Valley Workers Center are asking educators to join a lobby day on Tuesday, July 30, in support of the Work and Family Mobility Act. If approved, this act would permit all qualified residents, regardless of immigration status, to receive a standard driver’s license under the state's two-tiered system. Register for the event, which is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the State House.

In solidarity,

Merrie and Max