FRAMINGHAM – Another school year has finished and another generation of students has had to experience education in our Commonwealth’s underfunded public schools.
Our current funding formula based on ZIP codes deprives students in less wealthy communities, like Framingham, of the education services they deserve. Students of color, low-income students in urban and rural districts, immigrant students, and students with disabilities are especially harmed by our state’s failure to fund schools fully and equitably.
Our names are Kateryn Pérez Macías and Christine Mulroney and we love Framingham and we love our Framingham Public Schools, but we know we need more funding and resources to achieve the schools our communities deeserve.
Kateryn came to this country when she was 11 years old and is now a student at Framingham High School.
Christine Mulroney is the president of the Framingham Teachers Association and a middle school special education math teacher.
In Framingham, years of underfunding have created a crisis in our schools.
Framingham is owed $14 million more in annual state aid due to the outdated funding formula.
That means large class sizes, lack of counselors, inadequate supplies of materials and outdated technology.
Today, we have an opportunity to address this funding crisis, which is why
educators, family, and students support the Fund our Future campaign and the Promise Act (HB 586 and SB 238).
Kateryn lives through this underfunding everyday.
In the high school, there are not enough napkins, pens, markers, and other materials. In her history class, there are oftentimes not enough headsets to watch videos. In her Language and Literature class, the teacher had to give the students copies of the lessons because there weren’t enough books to go around. In the English as a Second Language classes, there are too many students in the classes and not enough teachers. The students say the school and hallways have so many students, yet the bathrooms don’t always work.
Our students in Framingham want to be successful. But if they don’t have enough educators and staff support, outdated materials, and lack of resources and services, how can our city get ahead?
Because of this, Framingham parents, students, and educators hope that
legislative leaders will pass a bill that would create greater equity for students in Framingham and throughout the state.
After years of advocacy by students, parents, educators, and other community members, legislative leaders at the State House are expected to unveil an education funding bill this summer that would finally address this crisis by updating the Foundation Budget formula and directing millions of dollars in new state aid to local schools.
If done right, the bill could direct an estimated $14 million dollars in new state aid to Framingham when fully phased in.
But there’s no guarantee the upcoming bill will meet the scale of our education funding crisis.
When local legislators Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Jason Lewis,
Representative Maria Robinson, and Representative Carmine Gentile consider this bill, they should ask a question: Will it deliver true equity for Massachusetts students? Does it address and embrace all aspects of the Promise Act? If not, legislators should demand that leadership
produce a bill that does.
This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Let’s pass the Promise Act and ensure that every child receives a great education.
Christine Mulroney, Framingham Teachers Association President
Kateryn Perez, Framingham High School student