Educational Opportunity Advocacy - Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

Educational Opportunity Advocacy

Bill S.2412: An Act relative to educational opportunity for students

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce advocated for the passage of Bill S.2412. This bill substantially overhauls the calculation of state funding for public schools in the Commonwealth with the goal of both aiding school districts that serve low-income students while improving funding opportunities for all districts.

The bill modifies the existing funding formula for such institutions and increases investments in multiple educational activities. It implements the recommendations put forth in the Foundation Budget Review Commission which have resulted in an estimated $1.5 billion increase in Chapter 70 aid. In addition, the bill improves the calculation of public school employees’ and retirees’ health costs as well as:

• increases special education enrollment and cost assumptions

• expands funding for English Language Learners

• addresses the specific, and often varying, needs of districts with students from low-income households

• provides additional funding for student guidance and psychological services

• fully funds charter tuition reimbursements

• will expand the state’s special education reimbursement program, known as the circuit breaker

• lifts the annual cap on Massachusetts school building authority spending

• establishes the 21st century education trust fund to provide flexible spending for creative approaches to public education

• requires school districts to develop publicly-available plans for closing opportunity gaps among communities served by those institutions