What formula should Massachusetts use to fund its schools?
A new report from the Foundation Budget Review Commission says that the current formula is outdated and fails to reflect “the actual costs of health insurance and special education.”
“In addition, the added amounts intended to provide services to ELL [English Language Learner] and low-income students are less than needed to fully provide the level of intervention and support needed” to ensure these students achieve academic and social-emotional success.
And while the commission did not have time to take an in-depth look at early education, the report does point to the importance of these programs.
State law established the commission last year and charged it with periodically reviewing the school funding formula. As we’ve blogged, “To set state funding for K-12 public schools, Massachusetts relies on the Chapter 70 Program. Created by the Education Reform Act of 1993, and first implemented in fiscal year 1994, Chapter 70 uses a formula that ‘has two goals: adequacy and fairness,’ according to a 2013 report from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOE).”
Now, updating this school funding formula is crucial. (more…)