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MA Teachers Association Promotes Major School Funding Campaign

Massachusetts state higher-education graduates are saddled with about $30,000 in debt. (CC0 Creative Commons/Pixabay)
Massachusetts state higher-education graduates are saddled with about $30,000 in debt. (CC0 Creative Commons/Pixabay)
November 14, 2018

QUINCY, Mass. — This is American Education Week, celebrating public schools across the U.S. And in Massachusetts, one of the messages this year is that schools need a lot more financial support.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is advancing its "Fund Our Future" campaign this week, asking for more than $1.5 billion in additional education funding. MTA President Merrie Najimy said the state's foundation budget for pre-K through grade 12 is underfunded by about $1 billion.

"And then, our estimate is that higher education is underfunded by more than half-a-billion dollars a year,” Najimy said. “So, we're talking about $1.5 billion dollars every year."

Najimy was hoping the Fair Share Amendment, or so-called millionaires' tax, would be on the November ballot. It was expected to raise $2 billion for education and transportation expenses. But in June, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the amendment was unconstitutional because it had more than one purpose, by imposing a tax and stipulating where the funding was going.

Now, Najimy said, the MTA's primary focus is to persuade the legislature to increase education funding.

"We were anticipating that the legislators, and through the ballot initiative, would have done the right thing and would have funded education,” she said. “But since that seems to be nowhere in sight, we've just created our own campaign."

Information about the Fund Our Future campaign is available at massteacher.org.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - MA