“higher Education Funding Reforms: Proposals For A More Sustainable System” – WEC is a member of the Statewide Partnership of Education, Civil Rights and Social Justice Organizations, an organization dedicated to advancing educational equity in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Partnership for Educational Equity came together more than a year ago to produce a report titled “Some People’s First,” which focuses on our Commonwealth’s success in educational opportunity, access, and ultimate outcomes huge difference.

As our legislature works to revise the Chapter 70 funding formula—the core approach to funding K-12 public schools since 1993—the partnership calls for a major revamp of the formula to direct more funding to high-needs , Low property wealth areas. We believe that to be most effective, increased funding must be paired with increased accountability and transparency to ensure funds are spent wisely and in line with teaching best practices we have learned since 1993.

“higher Education Funding Reforms: Proposals For A More Sustainable System”

In 2015, the state legislature’s Foundation Budget Review Committee found that Chapter 70, the current school funding formula in place since the Education Reform Act of 1993, failed to account for the true costs of educating low-income students, English learners, students with special educational needs , while ignoring the rising health insurance costs for teachers and school staff. The Massachusetts House, Senate, and Governor Charlie Baker all have different plans for how to adequately address Chapter 70 funding failures. Read more about the different proposals below:

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The Commitment Act, sponsored by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (R-D.), also aims to increase funding under Chapter 70 from current levels. The bill would change the formula so that specific estimates of employee health care costs are attached to actual costs, increasing the base rate for employee health care costs. The school provides 50 percent to 100 percent funding for low-income and ELL students and will form a data advisory committee of education experts and officials focused on streamlining and strengthening school staffing, spending and student demographics. WEC backs Senate bill on competing plans for its fair funding structure and oversight program

Supporters say the PROMISE Act will “deliver on the promise we made in the Constitution and the Education Reform Act of 1993: ZIP codes should not be destiny.” Advocates of the PROMISE Act claim it is a fairer and more efficient financing model. The Commitment Act is the only legislation that fully implements the roadmap developed by the FBRC, proposing ways to modernize the foundation’s budget formula.

Critics say the scheme is “money without direction”. While the plan did increase funding, opponents say the funding was allocated irresponsibly.

WPS Under the plan: The Commitment Act will provide an additional $101.3 million to Worcester Public Schools over an unspecified implementation period.

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The Advancing Equity and Excellence in Education Act updates the foundation budget formula to provide additional support for school districts to meet rising costs of health care and special education, as well as to educate English language learners and low-income students, and provide assistance to those most in need The community provides a lot of money. The FY 2020 budget includes an increase of $200.3 million in Chapter 70 funds, bringing total school aid to $5.1 billion next year.

Supporters say the proposal represents the most significant expansion of the foundation’s budget since the formula was adopted in 1993 and is funded using available revenue.

Critics say Baker’s plan to halt funding to struggling school districts is counterproductive and will create further division and inequality.

WPS Under the Plan: Under Governor Baker’s plan, Worcester Public Schools will receive $34.9 million over a 7-year implementation plan.

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The House budget plan proposes a $218 million increase in state education funding for the next fiscal year and a reserve fund to support low-income students. The budget proposes increases in special education fees, funding for district school transportation and transportation for homeless students, a new grants program covering social and behavioral health, and an overhaul of charter school funding.

Proponents say the plan targets charter schools and uses a more consistent formula than the status quo in which district funding is based on charter school enrollment.

Critics say that without knowing how the additional funding will be distributed, it is difficult to know whether the plan will adequately address disparities that currently exist between the state’s regions.

WPS Under the Plan: Under the House plan, Worcester Public Schools will receive $19.9 million over a 5-year implementation plan.

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Your donation supports public education in Worcester through programs like Read Together and our Worcester Education Equity Roundtable Partnership. The California Student Aid Board approved a proposal to reform the Cal Grant program on Nov. 30. The proposed changes would improve participation in the program, support eligibility for students taking summer courses, expand its definition of total cost of attendance to include more than tuition and increase aid for students attending private institutions.

The Cal Grant program provides financial assistance to college students within the Cal State, Cal State, and Cal Community College systems.

Kimberly Hale, a representative for the UC Chancellor’s office, said in an emailed statement that the current program has served students well over decades.

For the 2017-2018 academic year, more than 75,000 undergraduates received about $950 million in Cal Grants, Hale added.

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Rand Ajoser, president of the California Student Aid Council, said in a statement that financial aid grants have been slow to adapt to the changing financial needs of the average student in California.

Available plans cover basic tuition and some additional costs, such as books and supplies. The proposed changes would change the program to focus on the overall cost of college, which includes tuition, room and board, transportation and medical expenses.

CSAC also approved a change to expand eligibility for the program to students taking summer sessions. Under current plans, students who use this bursary for summer coursework may lose eligibility for the bursary for future university study. The committee also voted to use a formula to increase the maximum grants awarded to students attending private, nonprofit colleges.

Third-year biology student Sabrina Isham said she believes the proposals are moving the Cal Grant project in the right direction. She added that she believed the reforms were necessary to reduce the debt students accumulate while at university.

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“People usually graduate from college with a lot of debt, and they spend a large part of their lives paying off that debt, which makes it very difficult to build wealth,” Isham said.

Alicia Cruz, a third-year international development studies student, said she wasn’t sure if she would receive financial aid for last year’s summer classes, which made it difficult for her to plan for them.

“Luckily, I got the minimum amount (aid) I needed, but I still had to commute (no aid), and I was lucky not to have to buy textbooks,” she said.

Hale said the UC Student Union sponsored a bill in 2018 to provide additional Cal Grants for summer sessions, and UC hopes to continue doing so this year.

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In a statement, CSAC said the additional eligibility for the summer semester could help students graduate on time.

Cruz said financial uncertainty held back her admissions, housing and transportation decisions, and she couldn’t start planning for those things until she knew the amount of her scholarship.

Assistant Ozan Jaquette said that while the proposed increase in the maximum scholarship for students at private institutions may increase aid for those specific students, students in public schools will not receive the same benefit because CSAC has not yet proposed an increase in the maximum scholarship for public institutions . Professor of Higher Education, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Without increasing the maximum amount of aid available to public school students, only those students who have not already received the maximum amount would benefit from the proposed changes, Yaquette said. If the proposal passed, California would not provide aid to more public school students, but only to students who already received scholarships.

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“It’s probably not going to benefit the most needy (public university) students, but it’s going to benefit more of those who get intermediate awards,” Jaquette said.

Yaquet said the reforms could also increase the number of low-income students admitted to private colleges. He added that if colleges don’t have to worry about whether they have to offer financial aid, they’re less likely to consider a student’s financial situation in their admissions decisions.

“The more generous these programs are, the more they increase the purchasing power of poor students,” he said.

In a statement, CSAC said it looked forward to working with stakeholders, student organizations, the California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom to implement Cal Grant reform.

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