Union News: Our Role in Shaping the Final State Budget

Union News: Our Role in Shaping the Final State Budget

Happy April Break, MTA members!

We hope you are getting some well-deserved rest and time with your families and friends. 

The House issued its budget on Wednesday and will debate and vote on it next week. Then it will go on to the Senate, which will debate on a budget by mid-May. And then begins a month or two of negotiations between the two houses and the governor. Massachusetts tends to be one of the last states in the country to settle on a budget – let’s hope it gets done by June 30 this year.

There was some good news for locals facing budget cuts that would lead to layoffs. The House decided to increase the per-student state contribution to local districts to an unprecedented $104 per student, up from the governor’s proposed $30 per student. (This generally applies to locals that do not get significant funds from the Student Opportunity Act formula.) For the affected locals, that means $74 more dollars for every student – for example, a district of 2,000 students will see an additional $140,000 in state funding. That’s real money, although still not enough to solve dire budget crises in many districts. 

We will be fighting to maintain that amount in the Senate, but will also be pushing for a lot more from the state budget. We are also assisting locals in their campaigns to win better budgets for their schools. Too many cities and towns are shortchanging schools in their municipal budgets, including pulling back on past commitments. And others simply need to do overrides as Belmont just successfully did.

Here’s the press release we issued about the House budget.

And here’s a summary of the biggest education line items in the budget (thanks to our Legislation, Politics, and Political Action team.)

MTA Events, Opportunities and Solidarity Actions


The yearslong campaign to fix the injustice of the so-called federal “GPO/WEP” laws, which unfairly reduce our members’ pensions and their retirement security, is close to bearing fruit. 

Today, the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security is holding a public hearing in Washington, D.C., to discuss how the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset strips benefits belonging to public school educators and other public employees. 

This is an important step getting us closer to a “markup session” that prepares HR 82 for a possible vote and providing us with another opportunity to actively engage in this conversation. Our combined, repeated calls for an end to WEP/GPO are hard to ignore. Click here for NEA materials and tools for contacting legislators on retirement security, and here for more information on how to submit testimony.

Annual Meeting of Delegates

Last call for Annual Meeting – Friday, April 19, is the last day for locals to submit elected delegates.

‘Antisemitism and Education: Failures and Opportunities’ webinar

As part of the ongoing effort to create opportunities for members of the community to listen and learn across differences of faith, background and perspective on the conflict in the Middle East and its reverberations in the U.S., author and scholar Dara Horn will present a lecture at Amherst College on Wednesday, April 17, at 6 p.m. “Antisemitism and Education: Failures and Opportunities.”

Professor Horn will discuss how the partisan discussions of free speech and criticism of Israel have obscured the monumental failures of schools and universities in addressing contemporary antisemitism. She will explore the assumptions behind today’s attitudes and their appeal to educated people, and chart a different path forward for a pluralistic society.  

Registration is encouraged (though not required). 

Anti-Racism Task Force webinar

When: Wednesday, April 17, at 6 p.m.
Where: Virtual

Join us for an MTA Virtual Forum hosted by the Anti-Racism Task Force featuring Kevin Kumashiro, Ph.D., – an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, educational equity and social justice. Kumashiro, recently named interim dean of the School of Education at Hofstra University, will speak on “Movement Building for Equity and Justice in Education.” 

How might schools, colleges and universities dive into this moment of numerous national and global crises to reimagine and democratize education? In this interactive webinar, we explore four lenses or conceptual frameworks for teaching and learning toward equity and justice. Please register here.

Important Student Loan Consolidation Deadline Approaching – April 30

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program isn't going anywhere, but a key benefit will end on April 30. Borrowers who have older loans issued through the Federal Family Education Loan Program have until that date to consolidate those loans and take advantage of a favorable calculation method that confers the payment count of the loan with the most payments on the resulting Direct Consolidation loan.To find out more about your options and why April 30 is a red-letter day, we urge you to join one of MTA Benefits’ free webinars, which always feature live Q&A sessions. Register for an upcoming session today.

Disability Insurance Enrollment Now Open How would you pay your bills if you were suddenly unable to work for an extended period due to illness or injury? Disability insurance protects your income in such situations. The MTA Disability Plan is a group plan that offers discounted rates. During the open enrollment period, coverage is guaranteed. Critical illness insurance and accident insurance are also available during this enrollment period. To be eligible to participate, you must be either:

  • A member in a district that has opted to participate in this program; or
  • A new member since July 1, 2023, in any MTA-affiliated district.

The MTA Disability Insurance Open Enrollment is going on now through May 17. Schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Political Education 

One of our Annual Meeting awardees is Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), who recently led a spectacularly successful strike. At the end of that strike, Fain barely stopped, and instead launched a campaign to unionize auto workers in the notoriously anti-union “right to work” South.  

If the UAW is successful, it will change not just the lives of the workers in those plants, but labor in the South, and perhaps even the balance of political power in the entire region. 

Here’s a good summary of the exciting possibilities for the labor movement.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb