Rep. Lewis Files Legislation to Strengthen School Funding
State Representative Jason Lewis, recently sworn in for his third term representing the communities of Stoneham and Winchester, has filed legislation designed to improve school funding in Massachusetts.
These bills seek to update and reform the Chapter 70 formula, which determines how much money each school district receives annually in state funding, and to help municipalities better manage special education costs.
“There is nothing more important to our communities and economic competitiveness than ensuring that our schools are able to deliver the best possible education to all our students,” said Rep. Lewis. “This requires updating our education financing system to reflect the needs and demands of a 21st century education.”
In order to help accomplish these goals, Rep. Lewis has introduced two bills that will be considered during the new legislative session that recently got underway:
An Act reviving the Foundation Budget Review Commission: This bill revives and updates the Foundation Budget Review Commission called for in Chapter 70 Section 4 of the Massachusetts General Laws. It will enable a careful and thorough examination of current educational needs and best practices in order to update the Chapter 70 foundation budget, which establishes the amount of education funding for each school district in the state. Rep. Lewis is the lead sponsor of this legislation along with Rep. Alice Peisch, the House Chair for the Joint Committee on Education.
An Act to promote municipal fiscal stability through a special education stabilization fund: This bill gives municipalities the option of establishing a stabilization fund that can be used to help pay for unexpected and unbudgeted out-of-district special education costs, including tuition and transportation. These expenses can present significant challenges for school budgets. This legislation will provide municipalities with another tool they can use to improve their fiscal stability.
Both bills are expected to be referred to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education for review and consideration. Those interested in supporting these bills can attend the Committee’s public hearing once it is scheduled or submit written testimony. Please contact Rep. Lewis at 617 722-2017 or Jason.Lewis@mahouse.gov for more information.