Back in January Revere School Superintendent Dianne Kelly was a panelists at Malden High School during a forum calling on legislators to overhaul the state’s current educational funding model to ensure equity for all students, especially those in low-income areas.
Kelley as well as legislators, cities, towns, teachers, students, and advocates who are joining together in proposing one comprehensive education finance bill to reform the Commonwealth’s education funding formula so that it better serves all students throughout the state.
Tonight (Wednesday, April 3) at 6:30 p.m. at Revere High School a panel of students, parents, and educators from Revere will once again advocate for ending a generations-long under-funding of local public schools and public colleges and universities.
“We believe in a public education where every student, particularly our low income and ELL populations, obtains a well-rounded education with small class sizes, music and art education, and adequate staffing of teachers, aides, guidance counselors, and nurses to meet the needs of our diverse community,” said President of the Revere Teachers Association (RTA) and Seacoast High School teacher Erik Fearing.
Currently Revere Schools is running a $9.1 million school budget gap between what the state covers for education and what the Revere School District is actually spending to educate students.
“Through updating the outdated school funding formula and winning our campaign “Fund our Future” and the legislation known as the CHERISH Act and PROMISE ACT, in Revere alone, we have the chance to gain more than $18 million for our Revere public schools,” said Garfield Elementary School teacher Bria Pichette.
During the state’s last legislative session a bill by State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain) would have recalculated the cost to educate each student in public school districts known as the ‘foundation budget’ and poured millions of dollars into school over the next several years. However that bill failed and educators like Pichette are calling this mechanism the state uses to provide students with equitable access to educational opportunities ‘obsolete’ and must be revised to meet the expectations of today’s economy.
Because the state has not updated its education funding formula since 1993 to reflect districts’ real health insurance and special education costs, the amount of aid being provided to cover those costs is too small. To compensate, many districts like Revere end up using money that would otherwise have supported core education programs—including Regular Ed. Teachers, Materials & Technology, and Professional Development. This also results in dramatic cuts in other areas of education.
Diaz recently filed the Education PROMISE Act, sponsored by Diaz, Representative Mary Keefe and Representative Aaron Vega reforms state education funding by fully implementing the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) recommendations and addressing the underlying inequities within the Commonwealth’s education funding formulas, like Chapter 70. As a result of the bill, foundation budgets statewide will better reflect the true cost of educating students, and there will be a renewed partnership between the state and all districts in funding those foundation budgets.
“I’m proud to be from Revere and to be a Revere Public School student. I’m speaking up not just for me- I’m speaking up for all the students who follow me. Students deserve to succeed,” said Revere Youth in Action Organizer and Revere High School junior Ayat Zakaria. “If there are more resources, teachers and guidance counselors, and after school programs as well as services and support for all students, especially for the ones who are often overlooked, then we all will have the opportunity to be successful. It’s time to help students become successful by fully funding our education. Please ‘Fund our Future’.”