A Message from President Beth Kontos
- a record $6.58 billion appropriation for Chapter 70 local school aid, a 9.8 percent increase over the current FY23 budget
- $503 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker
- $243 million for charter school reimbursement
- $28.67 million for homeless student transportation costs
- Including the surtax investments, higher education would be in line for an increase of $371 million or 23 percent in the Healey budget
- $39.7 million in local aid for public libraries, a 12 percent increase
- The Thrive Act, which would replace the state’s failed approach to educational assessment and improvement, including the undemocratic state takeover system and the MCAS-based graduation requirement, with policies that will help all students to succeed and thrive. The Thrive Act would establish a modified graduation requirement based on coursework rather than high-stakes standardized testing, and implement a new ‘comprehensive support and improvement’ system designed to empower local communities to give students the tools and resources they need to succeed. Learn more here.
- An Act committing to higher education the resources to insure a strong and healthy public higher education system - the "CHERISH Act" creates a framework for adequate public higher education funding levels, including expanded support for student services; ensures debt-free public higher education for all; improves wages and working conditions for faculty and staff, including benefits for adjunct faculty and part time staff; and invests in green and healthy public college and university buildings.
- An Act to guarantee debt-free public higher education, which would establish a right to free public higher education for all students, and create a grant program to pay the equivalent of tuition and mandatory fees to an eligible student at any Massachusetts public college or university.
- An Act uplifting families and securing the right to strike for certain public employees, which would restore to educators the right to strike, so that in the rare cases when obstinate school committees refuse to bargain, we can have the leverage we need to win fair contracts that benefit our students and communities.
- Two bills to improve educator retirement benefits, including legislation that would allow educators who didn’t properly enroll in the TARP enhanced retirement option to opt in to the program, and legislation that would ensure greater economic security for retired educators by increasing the COLA base and protect retirees from rising healthcare costs. Learn more and contact your legislators to ask them to support the legislation:
#AFTVoices: Rosalinda Midence, School Counselor at Madison Vocational Technical Park High School
#AFTVoices: Kathy Peluso, Para Educator at Chelmsford High School
“Paraprofessionals are a catch-all term for the various positions we fill in our schools. It’s important to retain paraprofessionals for the long term, but that’s not going to happen if they aren’t paid what they deserve or continue to be invisible within the larger educational community,” says Chelmsford Federation of Teachers leader Kathy Peluso. “When we launched our campaign, people were blown away at how little we were making. Such low pay leads to a revolving door, and with such overturn, kids are not receiving the support they need.”