The question of how to best distribute state education dollars is emerging as a top issue in Massachusetts’ new legislative session, as mayors, lawmakers and educational advocates pressed Wednesday for increased funding for public schools, especially in poorer communities.
The renewed effort comes months after the breakdown of negotiations between the House and Senate on the subject and as legislators try to narrow the educational achievement gap between students from richer and poorer areas. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, in his recent inaugural address, also said he would propose revisions to the state’s formula for distributing billions to school districts each year.
The 25-year-old formula created under a major education reform law is now widely viewed as outdated.
“When education reform happened in 1993, it was landmark. It was great, it was groundbreaking,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “But that was the 20th century. And that 20th century formula doesn’t work for a 21st century education anymore.”
The bill filed on Monday would implement key recommendations from a 2015 commission that examined the original formula, intended to guarantee that all school districts — regardless of size and income variations — could deliver quality education to its pupils.