Students and Families Disappointed by House Education Budget

Thousands of public education supporters gathered for the Rally for Public Education in 2017.

Thousands of public education supporters gathered for the Rally for Public Education in 2017.

Schools will face cuts and student debt will increase next year.

Boston, Massachusetts — April 24, 2018

Parents, teachers, students and community members of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance (MEJA) are very disappointed by the House of Representatives continued refusal to provide necessary funds to students at public schools and colleges across the state. Our leaders aren't listening to the needs and demands of students and families across Massachusetts crying out for help.

Schools across the state are still so underfunded that cities and towns from Brockton to Worcester and beyond are considering suing the state to fund their schools. Student debt rose faster in Massachusetts than in every other state except Delaware since 2001. You heard that right—we’re a top-two state for student debt.

“School buildings are crumbling in Springfield. Boston students can’t drink water out of the water fountain. UMass students rely on food banks for their meals. Community College students are forced to choose between buying books or paying rent. In Lawrence, students suffer from large class sizes and inadequate numbers of counselors and nurses,” said Josh Alba, a parent and public education activist from Lawrence. “How much more suffering will our communities face before the State House make real change?”

“Public college students are in desperate need of funding,” said Maddi Walker, a sophomore at UMass Boston who is worried whether she can afford to come back next year. “College funding has been cut so much that student debt is just as high for public colleges as private ones, and 30% of students are facing hunger and homelessness on a regular basis.” 

“State lawmakers have been sitting on an important fix for the school funding formula for almost four years. When will they act to help students?” Charlotte Kelly, executive director of MEJA, said. “The State Senate unanimously passed protections for student borrowers last month. Will the House of Representatives join them?” 

MEJA members pushed for four budget amendments that would make drastic changes to Massachusetts public schools and colleges. The broadly-supported amendments would have helped fix the funding formula for public schools, mandate recess time for elementary school students, provide basic consumer protections to student loan borrowers, and provide the funding requested by public colleges and universities to maintain programs without raising tuition and fees for students and families.