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星期五, 11月 04, 2016

Mayor Walsh Releases Ad Against Question 2

Mayor Walsh Releases Ad Against Question 2
Calls for residents statewide to vote against destructive ballot question

BOSTON – 
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh today released a new radio ad urging residents to vote against Question 2, the ballot question that calls for unlimited charter expansion in any community in the state, taking millions of dollars away from public district schools and local municipal budgets. 

“Question 2 is a deeply misguided proposal that hurts the progress of school improvements and the principle of local control. And, Question 2 makes an already broken school funding system worse. If Question 2 passes, it will drain hundreds of millions of dollars from urban, suburban, and rural school districts,” Mayor Walsh says in the ad. 

Charter schools are privately run schools that operate with taxpayer funding and educate only four percent of Massachusetts students. Every time a new charter school opens, it takes money away from the public schools in that school district. According to state data, charter schools will siphon off $451,338,729 from 231 local school districts this year alone, with Boston projected to lose $135,206,868. 1

Question 2 will allow the state to approve 12 new charter schools each year in any community with no limits on the number of charter schools that can be created in the state or how much money a single district could lose, which could be used to invest in the public schools that 96 percent of families choose. With these financial loses, districts face cuts to arts and enrichment programs, are forced to increase class sizes, and are left with less money to educate higher need populations since charter schools typically fail to educate as many high-need students as local public school districts. 

Thirty-one other mayors have joined Mayor Walsh in opposition to Question 2, citing concern for the grave financial impacts unfettered charter expansion will have on the public schools and services they are able to provide their students as well as their city budgets.
Local communities and their school committees, which are forced to deal with the grave financial impacts charters have on their budgets, have no say in the approval or operation of charter schools. The state approves charter schools even when the communities where they will be located are opposed to them. This has happened in the cities of Brockton and Gloucester, and many other communities. That’s why 210 school committees across the state have voted to oppose Question 2, including Boston, Newton, Cambridge, Somerville, Dedham, and Medford.2

On Tuesday, Moody’s Investors, one of the nation’s most widely-respected credit rating agencies, yesterday contacted officials in Boston, Fall River, Lawrence, and Springfield and warned that the passage of Question 2 could hurt their city’s financial standing, potentially causing their bond ratings to be downgraded. A weakening of the municipal credit ratings of the state’s largest cities would not only put their financial security in jeopardy, but would gravely impact the public services they provide for their residents, including public education.

In response to the widespread opposition they are facing at the local level and the recent cautions from Moody’s, Question 2 proponents are trying to divert attention to a recent report done by the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation, one of the first business-backed organizations to endorse Question 2. In its report, the fiscally-conservative group deliberately omits the impact charter schools have on municipal budgets. The report reads, “the analysis presented here is based on the principles embedded in the formula, and makes no attempt to address budgetary issues at the district level.” Voters can see the real loss of funding to their local public schools, as documented by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, here.