MTA President Paul Toner on the governor's proposed budget for the next fiscal year
Massachusetts Teachers Association President Paul Toner issued the following statement on the governor’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which was released on January 25:
We are fortunate to have a leader who recognizes the importance of education, especially during these difficult financial times, and is genuinely committed to creating new and better opportunities for all of our students.
The budget proposal released today by Governor Deval Patrick includes $4.1 billion in state aid for K-12 education, which represents a $145 million increase in state funding to municipalities and regional school districts over the current fiscal year. It also includes $10 million that the governor is proposing to help close the achievement gap faced by too many students in our “Gateway Cities.”
The governor is recommending at least a $60 million increase in public higher education funding over last year’s budget, which includes an additional $10 million for community colleges for a new program unveiled earlier in the week. The MTA is now studying the reorganization proposal for community colleges and has not yet taken a position on it.
The governor is also allocating $175 million for collective bargaining agreements for state employees, who have made an estimated $256 million in concessions during the last three fiscal cycles. We commend the governor for recognizing the sacrifices made by these state employees, including MTA members who work as faculty, librarians and staff on public higher education campuses all over Massachusetts. This is a welcome return to a practice that has been abandoned in recent years.
Finally, the governor deserves credit for his effort to generate $260 million in new resources from a number of revenue increases and reforms. Investing in our schools, our communities and our Commonwealth requires funding. We fully support tax reforms that will raise substantial new revenue while holding down increases for low- and middle-income families.