SECTION 1. There shall be a regional school district foundation budget commission to review the way that regional school districts are funded and to recommend a framework that better accounts for differences between the towns that make up these districts and how the funding is distributed. In conducting the review, the commission shall seek to determine, with respect to regional school districts, the educational programs and services necessary to achieve the commonwealth's educational goals and to prepare students to achieve passing scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System examinations. The review shall include, but not be limited to, those components of the regional school district foundation budget established pursuant to section 3 of chapter 70 of the General Laws. Further, the commission shall seek to determine and recommend measures to promote the adoption of ways in which resources may be most effectively utilized and consider various models of efficient and effective resource allocation. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall provide any data and information to the commission that the commissioner considers relevant to the commission’s charge.
The commission shall consist of 1 person who shall be appointed by the senate president, who shall serve as co-chair; 1 person who shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; 1 person who shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, who shall serve as co-chair; 1 person who shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; 1 person who shall be appointed by the secretary of education; 1 person who shall be appointed by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and 9 persons who shall be appointed by the governor, all of whom shall have experience working with a regional school district, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, 1 of whom shall be a high school student attending a school in a regional school district, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Inc. Members shall not receive compensation for their services but may receive reimbursement for the reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their responsibilities as members of the commission. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education may furnish reasonable staff and other support for the work of the commission.
Before issuing its recommendations, the commission shall conduct not less than 4 public hearings across regions of the commonwealth. 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 shall participate 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 shall file its report, together with drafts of its recommended legislation, with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on education and the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means not later than December 31, 2019.
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