Urge your legislators to support two key education priorities in the FY14 budget

On May 23, the Senate passed its version of the FY14 budget. The House passed its version several weeks before. The House and Senate have now appointed three conferees each to iron out differences between the two versions of the budget before it is sent to the governor by the end of June.

Two issues of importance to MTA members were dealt with differently in the House and the Senate, and it is crucial that you let your representative and senator know how you want these issues resolved. Your advocacy can help make a difference in the outcome.

• The Senate passed an amendment, 38-0, to set up a commission, chaired by the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Education, to look at whether programs and services funded in the foundation budget are effective in meeting the Commonwealth’s educational goals. The commission would do this by looking at relevant studies and data. No appropriation is required for the commission.

• The House-passed budget funds public higher education by approximately $75 million more than the Senate budget does. The House provides $25 million more for the UMass system, which would likely prevent an increase in fees and tuition for the upcoming school year. It also increases funding for community colleges by approximately $21 million more than the Senate budget and includes $16.8 million more for state universities.

MTA President Paul Toner is urging all members to contact their senators and representatives and ask them to contact members of the conference committee to support inclusion of the Foundation Budget Review Commission and House funding levels for public higher education in the final conference report.

The members of the conference committee are Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill), chairs of the Senate and House Ways and Means Committees; Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) and Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington), the Ways and Means vice-chairs ; Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) and Rep. Viriato deMacedo (R-Plymouth).

Click here to email your legislators and urge them to support two key public education priorities.