Last week, the Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee discussed proposed resolutions to be voted on next week by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.
While the committee supported some resolutions, some members expressed alarm over others.
Superintendent Christine Johnson was pleased with a few draft resolutions “very favorable for us.” That included forming a state commission to examine issues with school start times. However, Johnson hoped that start-time commission would result in helpful guidance, rather than any unfunded mandates.
But a few resolutions caused dismay among committee members. Drawing the most ire was a tax reform ballot initiative to pursue additional funding “only from tax reform affecting the state’s wealthiest residents.”
Southborough member (and Selectman) Dan Kolenda stated that he was “shocked” by the resolution in which he found “absolutely no merit”. Northborough’s Barbara O’Mara also found that and other measures overreaching and “rather upsetting”.
The committee has been seeking support to reform education funding. Their focus has been on ending unfunded mandates. (That includes a tendency in the state house to slash funding for previously approved mandates without repealing the mandates.) But Southborough’s Paul Butka said he didn’t believe they should dictate where the state’s education funds should come from.
Another resolution that members seemed to feel was beyond the MASC scope was a call for eradicating childhood poverty. And Butka raised concern about the wording and potential for changes in a resolution for an “equitable and sustainable placement program” for homeless children in school districts. He summed up,
There are some Mom and Apple Pie resolutions here that I don’t know if they are necessarily actionable.
Chair Kathleen Harragan Polutchko clarified that the resolutions were formed by a subcommittee and have yet to be voted on by the association. She said that not only may resolutions not be supported by delegates, but many could have changes made on the meeting floor.
Approved resolutions are a way of “taking the pulse” of member districts across the state. These then drive the conversations MASC has with legislators.
Resolutions that Johnson supported would link Chapter 70 Funding with October 1st enrollments (since some students transfer), eliminate a mandated Kindergarten assessment program, and better fund districts’ costs for educating homeless students.
The committee voted unanimously to have their delegate oppose the tax reform resolution. Other measures they entrusted to the judgement of their delegate based on final language. Northborough member Lynne Winter was elected to be the committee’s delegate at the MASC meeting. That meeting takes place on Wednesday, November 4.
Click here for the proposed resolutions.