The 23,000-member AFT Massachusetts today released the following statement from AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos regarding the final FY20 budget:
“Today’s budget is a significant down payment towards the equitable preK-12 school funding that students across Massachusetts so desperately need. We’re glad to see the House and Senate agree on increased state education aid that prioritizes funding for low-income communities whose students have the greatest unmet needs, especially students of color in low-income urban schools and students in rural communities.
“Legislators must now build on this progress by passing a comprehensive education funding bill that commits the state to school funding equity over the long term. Specifically, our students need legislators to fully implement the recommendations of the bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC), including setting the “low-income increment” at the maximum rate recommended by the FBRC, as the Promise Act does: 100% of the base rate in the poorest communities.
“However, we are disappointed that this budget does not adequately increase public higher education funding, and will result in yet another year of tuition and fee hikes at our public colleges and universities. As educators, we see our students leaving college with overwhelming amounts of debt, and we know that failing to fully fund our public colleges will only make this crisis worse.
“We appreciate the positive work of the legislature on preK-12 school funding in this budget, but we know there is much more do in order to achieve fully-funded schools and colleges for all. Educators will continue to organize and advocate until our students, from pre-school through college, receive the resources they need to thrive.”