Jenny's Update on Medford Schools Funding Gap
You may recall that back in June, there was a LOT of talk about a significant loss of funding for Medford schools from the state budget. At one point, the projected funding loss was nearly $1 million dollars. Many of you signed our petition to let the legislature know that we in Medford expect fair funding. I was proud to deliver hundreds of signatures to the statehouse to the Governor, as well as the entire Medford delegation consisting of Representatives Paul Donato, Sean Garballey, and Christine Barber, and Senator Pat Jehlen.
Since then, Massachusetts recorded a banner fiscal year resulting in needed increases to the state budget. The Boston Globe reported that “Overall, the bill tacked on $317 million more in spending than either the House or Senate had approved as part of its own debate in the spring, in addition to setting aside hundreds of millions more for the state’s reserves and $23 million more for the MBTA and Massachusetts School Building Authority. That’s because an expected budget surplus prompted negotiators to rely on a rosier fiscal forecast for the current fiscal year.” The full article is available here.
I’m happy to report that our voices were heard.
Mayor Burke’s office just issued a press release concerning the impact of the budget on our schools, which can be read here. Of note: “The General Court conference committee added a line item to the State Budget for $7,500,000. The line item instructs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to distribute these funds via the Charter School Tuition Reimbursement Account. This will allocate funds to municipalities that were harmed via the calculation. The allocation of these funds is at the sole discretion of the DESE.”
So what does this mean for us? It’s too soon to tell exactly, but DESE will be working to allocate these funds based on the directive of the FY20 budget. I am hopeful that this will provide additional funds for Medford and that the School Committee will determine how best to allocate the funds. The wish list is certainly longer than the funding that we will receive, but more is always better than less.
Your call to action: Thank the people you know who signed our petition. Our voice does matter!