House budget boosts education funding

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed its version of the fiscal 2015 state budget, which makes modest increases in spending for early education, K-12 education and higher education and includes a $100 million increase in Chapter 70 funding.

Higher education funding in the $36.2 billion House plan – which was approved late on April 30 – is similar to the level in the budget proposed in January by Governor Deval Patrick. The 6 percent increase in funding would allow colleges and universities to maintain current tuition and fees for students.

The House also passed an amendment to revive the Foundation Budget Review Commission, one of the MTA’s legislative priorities. Representative Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) filed the amendment to include the commission in the budget, and the MTA worked with House supporters, garnering 99 co-sponsors. The amendment passed on a voice vote.

MTA President Paul Toner hailed the House for its support of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, thanking leaders for its passage.

“The Foundation Budget Review Commission would ensure that the funding formula is reviewed and recalculated on a regular basis, helping every student succeed,” Toner said.

The first Foundation Budget Review commission was established in the Education Reform Act of 1993, but the formula has not seen a thorough review since then.