FY 2021 BUDGET PREVIEW: Delivering on the K-12 Education Funding Overhaul & the Student Opportunity Act (SOA)
Now that the state has revamped its education funding formula, how will lawmakers fund these changes in this first year of implementation?
Opportunity Delayed: FY 2021 Governor’s Budget for K-12 Funding Falls Short by $74M for Low-Income Kids
As part of implementing the Commonwealth’s new school funding law, the Student Opportunity Act (SOA), the Governor proposed increasing Chapter 70 aid by $303.5 million over current levels in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget. In this first year, the Governor delivers on one-seventh (14 percent) of the SOA reforms in most areas —special education, health care for educators, social-emotional support, and increments for English Language Learners — keeping those reforms on track for full implementation in seven years.
Massachusetts benefits when all our children receive quality educational experiences in school that allow them to lead successful, fulfilling, and productive lives. Creating an education system where all students can reach success plays a significant role in creating a vibrant democracy and strong economy. Despite the significant progress in the Commonwealth driven by the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993, the success of Massachusetts schools has not reached all our children.
Massachusetts policy since 2002 has emphasized English immersion as the primary approach to educating English Language Learners. A balanced review of the research reveals, however, that there is generally more evidence supporting bilingual programs. The evidence also suggests that the most important factor for helping ELL students to succeed is the quality of the programs offered.
As Massachusetts schools move beyond strict zero tolerance discipline policies, the report examines how school districts could implement reforms that reduce student suspensions and foster a positive learning environment. The analysis estimates how much it might cost to implement these reforms in Massachusetts school districts.
As educators prepare our young people with the skills to thrive in the years ahead, vocational education is a growing focus of education debates. Enrollment in career, vocational and technical education has grown. Demand for such programs is outpacing supply, especially in Gateway Cities which have some of the longest waiting lists to enter these programs. Studies of successful examples of vocational programs within traditional high schools, regional vocational schools, and in-district vocational schools show common elements necessary to success. The cost of addressing existing waitlists are estimated.