Get Ed Funding Reform Done Now [OPINION]
The Massachusetts Legislature, still unable to reach an agreement on a budget for the fiscal year that began 17 days ago, is also unable to formulate a bill to address inadequacies in the school funding formula.
Cities such as New Bedford and Fall River have consistently been short-changed when it comes to school funding under the state's aid distribution formula that still rewards wealthier suburban communities that don't require the assistance that the urban districts do. Year after year, the legislature promises to address the issue, and then kicks it straight down the road by doing what it does best–nothing.
The emergence of charter schools and the Commonwealth's insistence that they are supported by local districts has placed a considerable burden on the backs of local taxpayers. Yet lawmakers have been reluctant to rework the aid distribution formula. After all, the hacks don't want to been seen as agreeing to reduce their district's share of the booty in order to help those communities with a legitimate need.
After promising to have a bill ready by June, Education Committee co-chair Sen. Jason Lewis is now saying one will be released "in the near future." Balderdash! Get moving!
It amazes me that these folks on Beacon Hill have time to deal with all sorts of idiocy such as benefits for illegals, transgender restrooms, pay raises and climate change–to name a few–but when it comes to common sense stuff like getting a budget approved on time and establishing an equitable formula for distributing education aid, they are impotent.
Do your job or get out of the way.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.