Romney's budget short on resources to help students, long on rhetoric

Massachusetts Teachers Association President Catherine A. Boudreau criticized Gov. Mitt Romney for offering budget proposals that "don't give schools the resources they need to help students succeed and to close the achievement gap that leaves economically disadvantaged kids behind."

"The bottom line is that Romney's budget proposals -- which, when adjusted for inflation, essentially level-fund state aid to schools -- do not come close to restoring the education funding that was cut under his administration," Boudreau said.

She noted that, under Romney's proposals, state school aid, in inflation-adjusted dollars, would still be approximately $344 million below its FY 2003 level, and $431 million below its  FY 2002 peak.

Boudreau also faulted Romney for failing to restore funding for "programs that are proven to work," such as class size reduction, full-day kindergarten and early literacy programs."

"Instead," Boudreau said, "the governor is proposing to spend tens of millions of dollars on schemes that don't work and that don't help kids, such as hiring consultants and instituting so-called ‘merit pay' plans for teachers."

Turning to Romney's higher education proposals, Boudreau chided the governor for increasing funding only about 3 percent over FY 2006, when this year's supplemental funding is taken into account.

"Funding for public higher education, when adjusted for inflation, is still a full 26 percent – or $342 million -- lower than it was in FY 2001," Boudreau said. "This is disgraceful in a state that counts on an educated workforce to fuel its economy."

Boudreau also slammed Romney's tax-cut proposals as "senseless and irresponsible while schools are still struggling to recover from the governor's previous tax cuts."

"The governor's budget rhetoric does not match the realities," Boudreau concluded. "His statements and claims may help him as a presidential candidate, but the real facts and figures do not help the students of Massachusetts."