SECTION 1. Chapter 70 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out section 4, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4. There shall be a foundation budget review commission to review the way in which foundation budgets are calculated and to make recommendations to the general court regarding such changes as may be appropriate. In conducting such review, the commission shall seek to determine the educational programs and services necessary to achieve the commonwealth’s educational goals, including those necessary to fully implement state curriculum standards and to prepare students to achieve passing scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System examinations. The review shall include, but not be limited to: class size; special education programs, including programs for English language learners; preschool programs for all 3 and 4 year-olds and full-day kindergarten; additional resources necessary to assure educational opportunity for low-income students; salaries necessary to attract and retain high quality professionals; extracurricular programs; remedial programs for students at risk of failing to satisfy graduation requirements; books and other curriculum materials; equipment for science lab programs; and technology. In addition, the commission shall seek to determine how resources can be used in the most effective manner. In carrying out the review, the commission shall examine relevant data and any reports on education funding produced within the 10 years preceding the issuance of a commission report. The commission shall include the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on education, who shall serve as co-chairs, the secretary of education, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, the speaker of the house of representatives or a designee, the president of the senate or a designee, the minority leader of the house of representatives or a designee, the minority leader of the senate or a designee, the governor or a designee, the chair of the house committee on ways and means or a designee, the chair of the senate committee on ways and means or a designee and 1 member to be appointed by each of the following organizations: the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association, Stand for Children, the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools. Members shall receive no compensation for their services but may receive reimbursement for the reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their responsibilities as members of the commission. The department shall furnish reasonable staff and other support for the work of the commission.
Prior to issuing its recommendations, the commission shall conduct not fewer than four hearings to receive testimony from members of the public. The hearings shall be held in locations that provide opportunities for residents from all geographic regions of the commonwealth to testify.
It shall not constitute a violation of chapter 268A for a person employed by a school district to serve on the commission or to participate in commission deliberations that may have a financial impact on the district employing that person or on the rate at which that person may be compensated. The commission may establish procedures to ensure that no such person participates in commission deliberations that may directly affect the school districts employing those persons or that may directly affect the rate at which those persons are compensated.
The commission’s recommendations, together with any proposed legislation, shall be filed every four years with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives who shall refer such recommendations to the appropriate committee of the general court. Within 30 days after such filing, the committee shall hold a public hearing on the recommendations.
SECTION 2. The foundation budget review commission established in section 4 of chapter 70 of the General Laws shall file its initial recommendations with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives under said section 4 of said chapter 70 not later than December 31, 2013; provided, however, that the commission may issue an initial interim report before that date.
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