Clark Sponsored Provision in Casino Bill Won't Boost Melrose School Funding
Measure would fix problem of "inequity" in how schools are funded, senator says.
Senator Katherine Clark sponsored a provision in the casino bill that would give millions of dollars in casino money to some of the state's wealthiest communities, including Wellesley, Lexington and Dover, according to an article in today's Boston Globe.
Two communities in Clark's district would also receive the extra school funding: Stoneham and Wakefield. But Melrose, Malden, Reading and Lynnfield would not. Stoneham could get as much as $597,052 in additional aid and Wakefield as much as $956,326.
The amendment that was approved last week would give extra casino money to 165 of the state's 400 school districts that were promised additional funds since 2006 but never got the full amount.
Critics of the state's current school funding formula believe the current process unfairly favors poorer communities at the expense of wealthier ones. An attempt to change the formula in 2006 never fully panned out. Boston.com published a chart, along with the Globe article, that shows which communities were fully funded and which were not.
In the Globe article, Clark, a Democrat from Melrose, is quoted as saying, "We do have a fundamental inequity in the way we fund our schools and we have not been able to address it."
Clark told Patch that her amendment aims to boost the state education funding that goes to cities and towns currently paying more than their fair share of public education costs without taking education funding away from other cities and towns.
"So, there’s no real way to build the equality back into the system without harming other communities—unless you have a major new revenue source like the casino bill," she said. "It seems like a great opportunity to address the inequality ... while protecting current communities and what they receive from the state as a portion of state aid."
The House version of the casino bill would also earmark 14 percent of casino taxes to schools but would distribute that money using the current formula.