Adequacy study remains a high priority
An MTA priority over this past year has been to support our students across the Commonwealth by advocating for a full and complete adequacy study of the Chapter 70 education funding formula.
To that end, we drafted a bill, secured 35 committed and diverse legislative sponsors, worked with the chief sponsors (Representative Jason Lewis and Senator Gale Candaras) to help organize a coalition of organizations to push for the bill, and organized testimony for the committee hearing. MTA Legislative and Political Action Teams met with legislators about the proposal, as did MTA leadership and lobbyists.
In November, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center issued an important report on the need for an update of Chapter 70. In January, the MTA helped organize a well-attended forum at the State House to educate legislators and members of their staffs on the results of the MBPC report.
During this session so far, we have educated more legislators and have been joined by more advocates than in any previous session.
Despite this work, on Tuesday, March 20, the Joint Committee on Education elected to send the bill (HB153) to study for the remainder of this legislative session. Senate Chair Sonia Chang-Diaz had recommended that the bill be released favorably, and she was joined by Senators Patricia Jehlen, Katherine Clark, and Sal DiDomenico in support for moving the bill forward.
House members of the committee, however, were unwilling to move forward with the bill without having received a Chapter 70 report from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that was called for in the 2010 Achievement Gap bill.
It is still unclear when the DESE report will be released. If it is released shortly, however, the MTA and the coalition will be considering strategies to see how we can still move the adequacy study forward this legislative session.
The MTA intends to continue our advocacy for passage of the bill this session. We appreciate all of the work that so many members have done in supporting this legislation, and we ask that you continue to make the adequacy study a priority issue.