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Massachusetts: Recommendations from 2015 didn't anticipate growing number of SPED students

Jan 10, 2019, Northampton, MA, Daily Hampshire Gazette: New effort launched to change Massachusetts’ education funding priorities The question of how to best distribute state education dollars is emerging as a top issue in Massachusetts’ new legislative session, as mayors, lawmakers and educational advocates pressed Wednesday for increased funding for public schools, especially in poorer communities. The renewed effort comes months after the breakdown of negotiations between the House and Senate on the subject and as legislators try to narrow the educational achievement gap between students from richer and poorer areas. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, in his recent inaugural address, also said he would propose revisions to the state’s formula for distributing billions to school districts each year. The 25-year-old formula created under a major education reform law is now widely viewed as outdated…. The bill filed on Monday would implement key recommendations from a 2015 commission that examined the original formula, intended to guarantee that all school districts — regardless of size and income variations — could deliver quality education to its pupils. The formula, the commission said, did not properly account for the growing number of English-language learners and students requiring special education, along with rising health care costs for school districts. The result was a $1 billion to $2 billion annual shortfall in education funding. …
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