New England News
5:19 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Massachusetts Legislators Hear Plea For Education Spending

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature have begun a series of public hearings on Governor Deval Patrick’s $34.8 billion dollar budget proposal.  A hearing, run by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means was held at Greenfield Community College on Tuesday. The focus of the session was on education and local aid. 

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Joint Committee on Ways and Means hold a hearing on education spending at Greenfield Community College
Credit WAMC

   The Massachusetts Education Secretary, Mathew Malone made an impassioned plea to the legislators to support Governor Patrick’s spending plans for education.  He called it a cornerstone of the state budget and described the proposals as a bold vision of a unified cradle- to- career education system.

   The governor’s budget proposal would increase spending on education by more than $550 million. It includes a $131 million increase for early childhood education that would eliminate a waiting list for pre-kindergarten programs that currently numbers 30,000 children, and exists more than five years after Massachusetts adopted so-called universal pre-school.

   Higher education would get a $152 million dollar boost under the governor’s plan with more money directed  to tuition assistance programs, the community colleges and the state university  system.

   Governor Patrick’s budget proposal calls for a $226 million increase in aid to local schools. It would guarantee an increase of $25 per pupil in every school district.  Deputy state education commissioner Alan Ingram said additional funds are targeted for high need schools to help the state continue progress toward closing achievement gaps and increasing the high school graduation rate.

   The committee also heard from early childhood education advocates, teachers and others who endorsed the governor’s proposals. 

   Representatives of the Massachusetts Municipal Association called for an increase in local  aid at the same growth rate as state tax collections. That would work out to a $35 million increase in local aid, which is about  $4 million more than what the governor proposes.  Association executive director Geoffrey Beckwith said local aid is down 32 percent since 2008.

   State Representative Stephen Kulik, vice chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said many legislators agree with the governor’s spending priorities.

   Patrick has called for a dramatic overhaul of the state’s tax structure. He wants to increase the state income tax rate, eliminate dozens of deductions, and decrease the sales tax.  State Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera  said legislators have to find out how much of a revenue increase, if any, is palatable to taxpayers.

   The House is expected to release its version of the budget in mid-April, the Senate will follow in May.

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature have begun a series of public hearings on Governor Deval Patrick’s $34.8 billion dollar budget proposal.  A hearing, run by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means was held at Greenfield Community College on Tuesday. The focus of the session was on education and local aid.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief  Paul Tuthill reports

   The Massachusetts Education Secretary, Mathew Malone made an impassioned plea to the legislators to support Governor Patrick’s spending plans for education.  He called it a cornerstone of the state budget and described the proposals as a bold vision of a unified cradle- to- career education system.

   The governor’s budget proposal would increase spending on education by more than $550 million. It includes a $131 million increase for early childhood education that would eliminate a waiting list for pre-kindergarten programs that currently numbers 30,000 children, and exists more than five years after Massachusetts adopted so-called universal pre-school.

   Higher education would get a $152 million dollar boost under the governor’s plan with more money directed  to tuition assistance programs, the community colleges and the state university  system.

   Governor Patrick’s budget proposal calls for a $226 million increase in aid to local schools. It would guarantee an increase of $25 per pupil in every school district.  Deputy state education commissioner Alan Ingram said additional funds are targeted for high need schools to help the state continue progress toward closing achievement gaps and increasing the high school graduation rate.

   The committee also heard from early childhood education advocates, teachers and others who endorsed the governor’s proposals. 

   Representatives of the Massachusetts Municipal Association called for an increase in local  aid at the same growth rate as state tax collections. That would work out to a $35 million increase in local aid, which is about  $4 million more than what the governor proposes.  Association executive director Geoffrey Beckwith said local aid is down 32 percent since 2008.

   State Representative Stephen Kulik, vice chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said many legislators agree with the governor’s spending priorities.

   Patrick has called for a dramatic overhaul of the state’s tax structure. He wants to increase the state income tax rate, eliminate dozens of deductions, and decrease the sales tax.  State Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera  said legislators have to find out how much of a revenue increase, if any, is palatable to taxpayers.

   The House is expected to release its version of the budget in mid-April, the Senate will follow in May.

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