Section 1. In order to determine, as a basis for legislative action, the resources needed to achieve the commonwealth’s educational goals, a committee, to be known as the Chapter 70 Foundation Budget Study Group, hereafter referred to as the group, shall be established to investigate the adequacy of educational required funding. The group shall examine the entire public elementary and secondary education funding and distribution formula, and shall focus on areas including but not limited to mandated demands added to curriculum over time, changes to time and learning standards, advances in technology, mandated data analysis capacity, regulated instructional supervision and evaluation, and the need to provide mentor coaching that improve learning and instruction but that is not calculated as part of the foundation budget.
Section 2. The group shall be comprised of the chairs of the joint committee on education, the secretary of administration and finance, or his designee, the secretary of the executive office of education, or his designee, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, or his designee, a The Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents or designee, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees or designee, a representative from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, a representative from the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers, and a representative from the business community. The group shall conduct an assessment to ascertain the resources and the costs of the resources needed to provide all students in Massachusetts with the opportunity for a high quality education to enable them to reach their potential as set forth in the Education Reform Act of 1993.
Section 3. Including the criteria established in Section 1, the group shall also examine the following: (a) adjusting the health insurance assumption in the foundation budget to reflect actual costs, and lowering the growth of actual costs by requiring greater shared ownership by municipalities and employees in plan design and medical cost controls, (b) increasing the assumed special education students percentage by a minimum of 0.25% for all school districts, (c) sustainable options to ensure consistent and full funding of the Special Education Circuit-Breaker to relieve a portion of extraordinary placement costs, (d) increasing the allowance for low-income students who qualify for free lunch, (e) Adjust salary allowances closer to average actual teaching professional salary, (f) continuation of the use of actual inflation factors in calculating the foundation budget. (g) any and all other areas of the formula the group deems necessary to more accurately, consistently and equitably allocate funds.
Section 4. The group shall meet within 45 days of the passage of this act and shall file a report containing its recommendations, including legislation and regulations necessary to carry out its recommendations, with the joint committee on education and the clerks of the house and senate not later than 10 months following the first meeting of the group.
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