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Editor’s note: Words spoken by Superintendent Everett V. Olsen at the July 13 School Committee meeting. Olsen’s comment refers to a resolution (published below) provided by members of the Westford Education Association. The School Committee members voted unanimously to support the document.
Superintendent Everett V. Olsen
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF EDUCATION FUNDING IN THE COVID-19 ERA
WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Legislature and governor enacted the Student Opportunity Act in 2019 because the state’s school funding formula was out of date and failed to provide all students with the education to which they are constitutionally entitled; and
WHEREAS, the inadequacy in funding was felt most deeply in school districts serving high concentrations of low-income students, English learners and students with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the Student Opportunity Act requires phasing in new funding formulas to provide greater resources for all school districts, with the largest share going to low-income districts; and
WHEREAS, our students’ needs are even greater now after public schools and colleges were shut down in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, in the upcoming academic year many students will need enhanced educational opportunities, technology, health and guidance services; and
WHEREAS, the need for these additional services exists in every school district and is greatest in school districts that would receive the largest share of new funding under the Student Opportunity Act; and
WHEREAS, the federal, state and local governments share responsibility for making sure all students receive the education to which they are constitutionally entitled.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Westford School Committee supports the following:
- • Congress should approve New Deal-level funding for state and local governments in response to the economic crisis caused by this pandemic, raising revenues progressively if necessary, to ensure that they can fulfill their obligations to educate our students;
- • The Massachusetts Legislature and Governor Charlie Baker should fund public education — preK through higher education — at the level needed to maintain current staffing and services, fully fund the first year of the Student Opportunity Act, and enable students and our state’s economy to thrive as we begin recovering from the pandemic;
- • Our city/town(s) should maintain its/their commitment to fully fund our public schools