Following the announcement last week that state legislative leaders are considering a 4% cut in local aid for FY11 (as opposed to Governor Patrick's initial budget, which left aid to cities and towns level-funded) education advocates across the state are gearing up to fight this move.
With Beverly already facing a large budget gap for next year, an additional 4% drop would force further cuts to the city's schools.
Stand for Children, whose 2010 Day on the Hill is scheduled for next Tuesday, has provided a direct link to write to your State Representative to ask them to help stop further local aid cuts that will cripple the state's cities and towns. The group's letter also states:
...there is a solution on the table that could save $100 million statewide. Mayors and town managers need the same authority the state has to make cost-saving plan design changes to health benefits or to join the GIC. The savings achieved can be used to protect jobs and preserve essential school and municipal services.
If you'd prefer you can contact Mary Grant's office directly at 617-722-2430 or email her at Rep.MaryGrant@hou.state.ma.us.
Brett Schetzle, one of the candidates to fill Grant's seat in the fall has also released a statement saying:
"Since 2000, Beverly has seen its local aid fall by nearly 15% while over the same period, state revenue has increased by nearly 40%. A further cut to local aid will mean that Beverly is receiving nearly $3 million less in local aid than it did in 2000. That is in actual, non-inflation adjusted, dollars. Local aid is the second-largest source of revenue for the city....
Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives offered a local aid resolution assuring cities and towns that, at a minimum, local aid would be at least funded at the same levels as in the current year's budget. The resolution has gained bi-partisan support with 19 Democrats signing on to the Republican initiative. It has also gained the support of the Mass Municipal Association, of which Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon is the President."
Schetzle says that Grant has not signed onto this resolution, and also urges her constituents to contact her, and ask for her support.
The Beverly Chapter of Stand for Children is also still looking for people to join them at next Tuesday's rally. Let's have a strong turnout from Beverly. Contact Jim Povey for more information, or to reserve your space on the bus.
If you can't make it to the rally in person, please take the time to join Stand's vitual rally, and make a sign to be delivered to legislators on Tuesday.