Massachusetts Teachers Association President Paul Toner issued the following statement on the proposed budget released by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 11:
The budget proposal released today by the House Ways and Means Committee includes $4.15 billion in Chapter 70 state aid for K-12 education, which represents a $164 million increase in funding over the current fiscal year. Broken down, this would provide every public school district in the Commonwealth with an increase of at least $40 per student.
The Ways and Means budget proposes level-funding for our state’s community colleges, our state universities and UMass. Scholarship funds were cut by close to $1 million from the current budget.
In an effort to restore higher ed funding, which has been cut dramatically over the last decade, the MTA will pursue a 5 percent increase in funding for our campuses through the legislative process, as well as state funding for student scholarships.
This budget proposal includes $49 million in collective bargaining reserves.
The Ways and Means Committee also offered an alternative to Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to reorganize our state’s community college system, which we plan to closely review in the upcoming days.
Finally, investing sufficiently in our schools, our communities and our Commonwealth requires funding. The MTA is committed to supporting new revenue streams, including those called for in the budget proposal offered by Governor Patrick earlier this year, which would generate $260 million in resources from a number of increases and reforms. We fully support tax reforms that will raise substantial new revenue while holding down increases for low- and middle-income families.