With the school year over and the end of the state’s fiscal year just days away it seems an appropriate time to lament another missed opportunity to address the inadequate funding of the commonwealth’s public schools.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal included an increase of $91.4 million over fiscal 2017, to a total of $4.72 billion. The House ($15 million) and Senate ($40 million) each appropriated more in their budgets, which are now being reconciled before being sent to Baker.
While the increases are certainly a welcome development, they do little to address what many consider a long-term funding deficit and miscalculation of how those funds are distributed to municipalities. This is despite the fact that local education aid, known as Chapter 70, has increased an average of $126 million per year from 2011, according to a State House News Service article.
The state’s education funding formula, little changed since education reform was passed in 1993, has been shown to shortchange districts by $1 billion to $2 billion per year, according to the 2015 report of the Foundation Budget Review Commission.