The Chapter 70 State education funding formula for Framingham is finally starting to catch up after short-changing the town for almost two decades. Just this year, we have received about $3 million in additional Chapter 70 funds over and above what the CFO estimated for the FY2013 budget at the Spring Town Meeting. The Fall Town Meeting starting October 16th will be responsible for determining how the town invests $1.7 million of those additional dollars. This increase in state funding gives us a chance to augment the rebuilding process that has finally begun after years of school cuts followed by level service budgets.
Traditionally, the Town of Framingham has allocated about 60% of state revenue to the school system while applying 40% to other town expenses. Using that metric, we would be looking at how to best utilize slightly over $1 million in funds to address critical educational needs for FY13. The School Administration and School Committee have identified $889,000 in critcal needs related to unanticipated enrollment, elementary and after-school transportation, and the potential costs of new collective bargaining agreements.
Karen Spilka, Tom Sannicandro, Chris Walsh, and Tom Conroy have worked hard to mitigate the deficiencies Framingham has faced in Chapter 70 educational funding. By allocating a portion of those additional funds to FY2013 educational needs we will both demonstrate the validity of their arguments in the State House and Senate as well as provide leverage for continuing that advocay in the future. Reaching a level playing field with regard to Chapter 70 Education funding will allow Framingham to rebuild the school system.
Both the School Committee and the new Superintendent have made it clear that they do not see the rebuilding process as simply a return to what we have done in the past, but look to move forward with improvements that have been demonstrated to provide a positive impact. I intend to vote to support an allocation of not less than $889,000 for the Framingham Public Schools in FY2013 to keep that process on track for this year and the for the future.