House and Senate Unanimously Pass Student Opportunity Act
On Nov. 20, the Massachusetts House and Senate unanimously approved the landmark Student Opportunity Act. The Fund Our Future coalition issued the following statement when the conference committee’s version of the Student Opportunity Act was released the preceding day, Nov. 19.
The Fund Our Future campaign today issued the following statement regarding the release of the Conference Committee version of the Student Opportunity Act, which would implement the recommendations of the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission and increase state PreK-12 aid to local districts by $1.5 billion over inflation, after a seven-year phase-in:
“The Student Opportunity Act is a landmark achievement for Massachusetts students that will provide countless children with the great public education they deserve. All the students, parents, union educators and community advocates whose efforts brought us to this moment should be proud of this historic accomplishment. We thank legislators, particularly those who spearheaded the efforts both last year and this year, for listening to the community and reflecting our voices in the bill. We also appreciate the conference committee’s swift work to resolve minor differences between the two chambers and reach a final agreement.
Massachusetts residents know we can improve our local schools if we both provide the necessary resources and empower local students, parents, and educators to have an impact on local spending plans. Now that we’ve won the resources, we will hold our elected officials accountable and demand a voice over the next seven years to ensure that this new money is spent in the classroom on what students need. That means more classroom educators, guidance counselors, and other resources and supplies for students’ everyday needs.
Over the past year, tens of thousands of students, parents, union educators and community advocates across the state have taken action to demand full and equitable funding for public schools. We trust that Governor Baker will respect their voices and sign the Student Opportunity Act promptly. When this bill becomes law, we will have taken a big step towards real justice and true equity for students of color, working-class urban and rural communities, and all students left behind by decades of systemic underfunding.”
The Fund Our Future campaign was formed to end the generation-long underfunding of local public schools and public colleges and universities in Massachusetts and is endorsed by the following members: Act on Mass, AFT Massachusetts, Alliance for Brookline Schools, Asian American Resource Workshop, Boston Democratic Socialists of America (BDSA), Boston Education Equity Coalition, Boston Education Justice Alliance, Boston Teachers Union, CEPA at UMass Amherst, Citizens for Public Schools, College Dems of MA, Hampshire Franklin Labor Council, Interfaith Worker Justice, JALSA, Jewish Labor Committee, La Communidad, La Voz de la Comunidad – Framingham, Local 26 Unite Here, Lowell Education Justice Alliance, Mass COSH, Massachusetts Communities Action Network , Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Massachusetts Voter Table, Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council, MNA, NAACP New England Area Conference, North Shore Labor Council, Pioneer Valley Labor Council, Pioneer Valley Street Heat, Progressive Massachusetts, Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM), PUMA Parent Union of Mass, QUEST (Quality Education for Every Student), Revere Youth in Action, SEIU 888, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Tikkun Olam Congregation Bnai Israel Northampton, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Women Encouraging Empowerment, and Youth on Board.