Cape Cod Educators Discuss Funding Concerns at Community Forum

WEST BARNSTABLE – A coalition of Cape Cod educators held a forum Thursday night to discuss what they call funding shortfalls by the state for public schools and colleges.  

The Fund Our Future forum featured a panel of students, parents, educators and elected officials who shed light on the impacts they say under-funding has on students in pre-K through higher education.

“What we want to be able to do is share personal stories and experiences, not only of staff but parents, students, and the union perspective as well, on the chronic underfunding for K-12 and higher ed., to draw attention to that and get the community much more involved in seeking greater funding, and hopefully to convince our legislators to support legislation we proposed,” said Cape Cod Community College Professor of American History & Government Claudine Barnes.

“With higher education, we’re now getting less money for the community colleges than we did, for the most part, in 2001.”

The Foundation Budget Review Commission, a non-partisan organization, analyzed state spending on public education and issued a report in 2015.

The report stated that because the formula used by the state to determine school aid to cities and towns is antiquated, having not been updated for over 25 years. The report states that public schools for students in pre-K through grade 12 are underfunded by roughly $1 billion per year.

“The funding formula for K-12 is inadequate,” said Barnes.

“It does not adequately provide for what the schools need, especially with a lot of changes in technology, changes in a number of things like ELL students. The needs of school’s have changed and the funding formula is completely inadequate to provide most schools with enough money.”

The group also highlighted legislation to address the issue.

The Promise Act, which will receive a hearing before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education on March 22, would require the state to boost education spending over a period of time to achieve goals outlined by the Foundation Budget Commission.

The forum was presented by the Barnstable Teachers Association, the Cape Cod Chapter of the Massachusetts Community College Council, Cape Tech Association, Dennis-Yarmouth Educators Association, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional Secretaries and Assistants Association, and the Monomoy Regional Education Association.

Barnstable educator Dale Forest moderated the forum.

The Fund Our Future forum was held in the Cape Cod Community College in the Science Building.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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