Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Boston Herald Op-Ed on New Ed Plan

This one reporting on a charter school study by charter school proponents claiming charter schools test scores are higher than scores overall for the sending district, for subgroups.

I don't regularly read the paper copies of either the Globe or the Herald, and I'm relying on google searches to ferret out these news reports. I was curious why I had not found any Globe editorials or stories on Patrick's ed plan. I saw one story that references Winchester's struggles to maintain funding, using a private foundation to pay teacher's salaries, which Patrick has apparently pointed to as an example of over-reliance on the property tax for ed funding; plus a couple articles about the meals tax (I don't see the meals tax as a panacea for rural Mass, and think whatever new tax is proposed should be broadly based, statewide, and less regressive than sales & property taxes - but those are personal opinions that I see as tangential to the purpose of this blog).

Ah, here is a Globe report on Patrick's visit to Framingham.

Here's the simple fix for Framingham: accelerate target local share reform. The news article says Framingham is trying to close a $2 million funding gap. But the state's shortfall from Framingham's target local share is $7.9 million. Framingham will receive 20% of its foundation budget in state aid, but has a target aid share of 31%.

If the state simply equalized aid to comparable school districts, Framingham's budget problem would be resolved. Framingham's problem is on the same scale as Pelham's, Whately's, Westhampton's, and Lee's - that is, these districts have been shortchanged about as much as any municipality in the state for years, and continue to be shortchanged primarily because the main determining factor for this year's aid allocation is how much you got last year. Target local share establishes an "ideal" level of state support based on a town's aggregate wealth and school burden, but target local share is being phased in slowly, and relies on the continuing support of the legislature and the governor.

Patrick could make good on property tax relief for about half of the state's municipalities simply by following through on target share reform. Add in Winchester, Greenfield, Chicopee, Pittsfield, Chelmsford, Hatfield, Ludlow, Holden, Norwood, ...


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