MTA leaders praise state Senate budget for strong spending in education

MTA leaders praise state Senate budget for strong spending in education

The following statement was issued by MTA President Max Page and MTA Vice President Deb McCarthy:

The promise of our historic Fair Share Amendment victory is paying off in the proposed state budget due to perseverance of educators and our allies in the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition. We are pleased that the state Senate listened to the public’s concerns and released a proposal aimed at making crucial improvements in the public education and transportation systems that students, educators and families rely on and deserve, while maintaining its commitment to the Student Opportunity Act for a third year.

MTA analysis of the FY24 Senate Ways and Means budget

We are particularly pleased that the Senate took significant steps forward in fulfilling the blueprint laid out in the Cherish Act, including a strong commitment and plan for free community college by 2024, as well as a new nursing program. We are hopeful that the community college plan will center equity and cover not just tuition and fees, but also help pay for food and housing to make debt free college truly possible for lower income students. The Senate also proposes setting aside access to health insurance on the first day of hire for higher education faculty and staff — which MTA educators have long fought for — as well as vital student support services and student scholarships.

But despite some important preK-12 funding in this budget — including a $6 million grant program for schools to better respond to the social and emotional needs of students — we still have work to do in funding public education during a time when our schools are grappling with an unprecedented mental health crisis among youth, staff shortages, the threat of gun violence and relentless attacks from the far right. Our state government needs to address retention issues and support students and educators by paying Education Support Professionals a living wage, providing more funding for school counselors, nurses and librarians in our public schools, and giving educators access to paid family leave.

To support all students in reaching their full potential we need to create better working conditions for educators so we can recruit and retain a strong and fully staffed educator workforce.

MTA leaders say Fair Share win is paying off in House budget, express disappointment in tax breaks for wealthy