I remember the last time the legislature was concerned about cuts to K-12 education, and the senate tossed additional money into the Chapter 70 formula late in the budget process. Town meeting season was over, and the municipal folks were able to say that times were tough, we made other sacrifices and funded the schools over the minimum, so we will park the money in free cash. It didn’t take too long for the senate, who made tough choices to toss some additional money into the Chapter 70 pot, to understand that their work to restore cuts in their local schools were thwarted by the municipal funding conduit. Since then, the senate hasn’t made a move to increase the traditionally conservative local aid numbers in the house budget.
The task is to make sure these funds make a direct and immediate impact on our schools. We can’t afford to allow any of these funds to experience any unintended diversions at the state or local level.